The Death Of Paul And Peter

According to Church history, all apostles but John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, were martyred. In The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, a letter sent from the church of Rome to the church of Corinth, written probably in time of Domitian, c. 96 A.D, we find the record of the death of Peter and Paul.

Drawing examples from Cain,Esau, Josephs’ brothers, Marian and Aaron, and Soul’  jealousy from Old Testament,  the author of this epistle, showed how that sin rose up to the persecution of ones own the brothers.  The author of this epistle went drew New Testament examples, giving an early record of the death of  Peter and Paul:

BUT, to cease from the examples of old time, let us come to those who contended in the days nearest to us; let us take the noble examples of our own generation.   Through jealousy and envy the greatest and most righteous pillars of the Church were persecuted and contended unto death.   Let us set before our eyes the good apostles:   Peter, who because of unrighteous jealousy suffered not one or two but many trials, and having thus given his testimony went to the glorious place which was his due.   Through jealousy and strife Paul showed the way to the prize of endurance;   seven times he was in bonds, he was exiled, he was stoned, he was a herald both in the East and in the West, he gained the noble fame of his faith,   he taught righteousness to all the world, and when he had reached the limits of the West he gave his testimony before the rulers, and thus passed from the world and was taken up into the Holy Place,—the greatest example of endurance.(Clement I, 5:1-7, Lake)

Their death is also echoed in the  Pseudo-Ignatius* lettes. In the  The Epistle of Ignatius to Mary, we find that the author, probably not Ignatius of Antioch, affirmed the news from Rome;  “Now it occurs to me to mention, that the report is true which I heard of thee whilst thou wast at Rome with the blessed father Linus, whom the deservedly-blessed Clement, a hearer of Peter and Paul”( Chapter 4, Ignatius, ed. Roberts, Donaldson and Coxe, p. 122), and in The Epistle of Ignatius to the Tarsians, also a Pseudo-Ignatius epistle,  chapter 3, we also find the death of Peter, Paul and other disciples:

Mindful of him, do ye by all means know that Jesus the Lord was truly born of Mary, being made of a woman; and was as truly crucified. For, says he, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of the Lord Jesus.” And He really suffered, and died, and rose again. For says [Paul], “If Christ should become passible, and should be the first to rise again from the dead.” And again, “In that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God.” Otherwise, what advantage would there be in [becoming subject to] bonds, if Christ has not died? what advantage in patience? what advantage in [enduring] stripes? And why such facts as the following: Peter was crucified; Paul and James were slain with the sword; John was banished to Patmos; Stephen was stoned to death by the Jews who killed the Lord? But, [in truth,] none of these sufferings were in vain; for the Lord was really crucified by the ungodly. (ibid, p. 107)

Clement I, P., Clement I, P., Ignatius, S., Bishop of Antioch, Polycarp, S., Bishop of Smyrna, & Lake, K. (1912-13). The Apostolic fathers (P. Clement I, S. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, S. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna & K. Lake, Ed.). The Loeb classical library. London; New York: Heinemann; Macmillan.

The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume I: The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus. 1885 (A. Roberts, J. Donaldson & A. C. Coxe, Ed.) . Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company.affirms

* These letter are called Pseudo-Ignatius‘ epistles because they are probably not written by Ignatius of Antioch . Their vocabulary and style is not the same as the widely accepted Ignatius’ letters ( To the Ephesians, To the Magnesians, Letter to the Trallians, To the Romans, To the Philadephians, To the Smyrnaeans and To Polycarp)


2 thoughts on “The Death Of Paul And Peter

  1. Very good. I’m impressed with your knowledge of the Apostolic Fathers. 🙂 How far into the literature of the Fathers have you read? I made a post somewhat along these lines, about the ministry of Sts. Peter and Paul in Rome. In my quotation of 1 Clement, I extended the reading past what you have to the beginning of the next chapter, which contains an important reference to Peter and Paul dying in Rome: “To these men with their holy lives was gathered a great multitude of the chosen, who were the victims of jealousy and offered among us (ἐν ἡμῖν) the the fairest example in their endurance under many indignities and tortures” (1 Clement 6).

    • Thank you, Paul.

      I am reading Tertilluan. One bad habit I have is reading through Ante-Nicene church fathers and Post- Nicene exploring their understanding on a given issue e.g. the person and work of Christ, different passages, Christian life and on.

      It quite a blessing that God moved through these godly men.


Comments are closed.