What Happened to the Apostles?
Jesus’ ascension into Heaven wasn’t the end of the Church, but the beginning!
He left behind 12 close companions and successors of the Church.
What happened to these apostles?
PETER was declared by Jesus to be the “rock [upon which] I will build my church,” and therefore, the first pope. Peter was crucified upside down on an X-shaped cross because he felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus Christ had died.
ANDREW was also crucified on an x-shaped cross. It is said that Andrew greeted his martyrdom saying, ‘I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.’ For two days, he continued to preach from the cross until he died.
THOMAS spent his life as a missionary, traveling as far as India. He is credited with preaching to the people there, baptizing them, and performing miracles. It was there that Thomas was stabbed with a spear, becoming a martyr for the Faith.
JAMES was the first bishop of Jerusalem. He wrote the Epistle that is now part of the New Testament. In 62 AD, James was martyred by the Jews.
JAMES THE GREAT was a simple fisherman, called by Jesus to follow Him. Tradition tells us that James, who was a missionary, was one of the Church’s first martyrs. James continued to preach the Gospel until his death. It is said that a Roman officer watching James was converted by his words. After the officer declared himself to be a Christian, the two were beheaded together.
MATTHEW left behind a career as a tax collector to follow Christ. He wrote the first Gospel of the New Testament and traveled to several countries as a missionary. It is believed he died as a martyr, possibly in modern-day Turkery or Ethiopia, although little is actually known about his death.
LUKE, who was believed to be a physician, became a missionary after Christ’s Ascension. Eventually, Luke met the apostle Paul and spent time with him on a missionary journey. In fact, Luke was with Paul when he died. Luke faced his own martyrdom in Greece, where he was tortured and hanged.
MARK traveled to spread the Faith in Cyprus and also wrote the second Gospel. He later traveled to Alexandria, Egypt, to establish the Church there. Mark became the first bishop of Alexandria. It was here that he died a martyr’s death, after being dragged by horses for two days.
BARTHOLOMEW spent his life as a missionary, specifically to Asia. It was in Armenia that Bartholomew scourged and beheaded for his work spreading the Gospel. Although little is known about the life of Bartholomew, tradition tells us that many miracles have been attributed to him since his death.
JUDE traveled all over, preaching the Gospel, before returning to Jerusalem. It was in Jerusalem that his brother, St. Simeon, became bishop. Tradition tells us that the two refused to deny their faith and were most likely killed together. Today, St. Jude is a patron saint of impossible causes.
MATTHIAS was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot, after he betrayed Christ. Although not selected by Jesus himself, he is counted as one of the twelve apostles and was with the others at Pentecost. Matthias traveled to parts of present-day Turkey and Georgia, before receiving a martyr’s death. Although it is uncertain where he died, he mostly likely was stoned.
JOHN escaped a death of being boiled in oil during a persecution in Rome. Afterwards, he was banished to the island of Patmos. It was there that he wrote the Book of Revelation. Later in life, John returned to modern-day Turkey, where he became Bishop of Edessa. He was in his 90s when he died, and was the only apostle to die peacefully.