WE all know how Judas died, hanging himself in remorse for betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. But what about the rest of the apostles: how did they die for their faith?
Bartholomew, who preached in several countries including India, was skinned alive and beheaded in Derbent where a local king, angered by his people’s conversion to Christianity, ordered the apostle’s execution. His bones are kept in the Basilica of St. Bartholemew in Rome.
James the Less was stoned and clubbed to death. He was believed to have preached in Damascus (Syria) and was the first bishop of Jerusalem where he angered the Jews who stoned him to death and was finished off by someone who bashed his head.
Andrew preached in several places including Georgia (Russia), Istanbul, Macedonia and Greece where he angered the governor of Patros for converting his (the governor’s) family. He was crucified, tied upside down in an x-shaped cross from where he preached for two days before he finally died. His remains are partly in Constantinople, in Scotland, and his skull remains in Patros.
Peter, the first pope, fled Jerusalem when King Herod Agrippa I started to persecute the Christians in Jerusalem. He preached in Judea and Antioch and then went to Rome where he converted thousands to Christianity. This angered Nero who made the Christians his form of entertainment by feeding them to the lions or dogs at the Coliseum. Peter, who refused to renounce his faith, was crucified, at his request, upside down.
Thomas was impaled by a spear. He preached in India and was martyred there, in Mylapore, where the local king condemned him to death who thought Christianity disrespects the Brahmins and their caste system.
James the Great was beheaded. He was John’s brother and he preached in Spain. The Blessed Virgin is said to have appeared to him and asked him to return to Judea. Herod had him beheaded: his body was brought back to Spain, buried in the area where the Santiago de Compostela cathedral is located.
Phillip preached in Greece, Syria and Turkey, and finally in Egypt where, in Heliopolis, he was thrown to prison, scourged and finally crucified.
Matthew, the tax collector, preached in Ethiopia, Judea, Macedonia, Syria and Partha (in northeast Iran). There are two versions of his death, the first being that he died a natural death but the second one says he angered a local king who ordered him nailed to a bed, covered his whole body with paper, brimstones, oil, asphalt and brushwood and set him on fire.
Jude Thaddeus, patron saint of of desperate and lost causes, partnered with Simon the Zealot and they preached in Judea, Persia, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Iran and Libya. There are also two versions of his death: that he was crucified in Edessa, Turkey, or clubbed to death. His remains are buried in a crypt in Rome.
Simon the Zealot was a member of the Zealots before he followed Jesus. He is known to be the second bishop of Jerusalem, after James the Less. He is said to have been crucified in Samaria after a failed revolt or axed to death in Suanir, Persia.
John, the beloved apostle, is reported to have also gone to Rome where he was thrown in boiling oil but survived, to live to a ripe old age, the only one reported to have a non-violent death.
There are actually some differing versions of the way the apostles died. They, after all, lived at a time when communication and documentation were not as sophisticated and easy as they are today.