Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles (1871) Volume 2. pp.3-60. The History of John, the son of Zebedee, the Apostle and Evangelist
EDITED FROM SYRIAC MANUSCRIPTS IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM AND OTHER LIBRARIES
W. WRIGHT, LL.D., PH. D.;
PROFESSOR OF ARABIC IN THE UNIVERSITY OF
CAMBRIDGE, AND FELLOW OF
QUEEN'S COLLEGE; CORRESPONDING MEMBER OF THE BERLIN
ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, ETC., ETC., ETC.
THE ENGLISH TRANSLATION.
WILLIAMS AND NORGATE,
14, HENRIETTA STREET, COVENT GARDEN, LONDON
AND 20, SOUTH FREDERICK STREET, EDINBURGH.
PRINTED BY GILBERT AND RIVINGTON,
WHITEFRIARS, CITY, E.C., AND ST. JOHN'S SQUARE, CLERKENWELL, E.C.
THE HISTORY OF
JOHN, THE SON OF ZEBEDEE
THE APOSTLE AND EVANGELIST.
The history of John, the son of Zebedee, who lay upon the breast of our Lord Jesus at the supper, and said, "Lord, who betrayeth Thee?" This history was composed by Eusebius of Cæsarea concerning S. John, who found it in a Greek book, and it was translated into Syriac, when he had learned concerning his way of life and his birth and his dwelling in the city of Ephesus, after the ascension of our Lord to Heaven. 1
After the ascension of our Lord to Heaven, when the days of Pentecost were fulfilled, and the Paraclete had come to the upper chamber, and all the Apostles were filled with the Spirit of holiness, and were speaking each one of them with a separate tongue — then after (some) days there was the wish to each one of them being full of the Spirit of holiness, that they should go forth to |4 proclaim and preach the truth of the Only-(begotten), the Word God, for the great hearing of the faith, to all nations that are under the heavens. After, then, that Simon Peter had finished his words, they said all of them one to another: " Now that our Lord Jesus has fulfilled all things that are necessary for our feeble race, it is necessary for us too that we should do with diligence all that He commanded us. For He said to us, when He was going up unto Heaven from beside us, as He was blessing us: 'Go forth, teach, and baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the Spirit of holiness ; every one that believes and is baptized shall live.' For us too, then, my brethren, it is necessary to toil and labour throughout the whole world, and to go about in the countries, and to preach, and to teach all those who, in the worshipping of idols and with libations to devils, have kneeled before images, and fallen down (and) worshipped the accursed demons, the children of the left hand; and let us bestow our labour, and let light shine in the ear which the evil one has blinded, and let the father of lying be crushed beneath the feet of us all."
When these words had been spoken among the blessed assembly of the Apostleship, they parted from one another in the body, each of them being full of the Spirit of holiness, who proceeded from the Father and came unto them, as the beloved Son had promised them. |5
Each of them then went to such country and region as he was charged by the grace (of God). And it happened that when this holy virgin, namely John, the son of Zebedee, went forth, the grace (of God) accompanied him, through the Spirit of holiness, that it might lead him to the country of the Ephesians, where the head and power of idolatry was dominant. And when he had parted and gone forth from Jerusalem, he set his face to go to Ephesus. And on the third day after he had set out to proceed upon the journey, he took a cross of wood, and put it up towards the east, and kneeled, and was praying and saying: " Lord Jesus, now that Thy promise is fulfilled, and we have all received of Thy fullness, grant to the garland of Thy disciples, that wherever, Lord, they make mention of Thy birth from the Virgin, and Thy abiding among men, and Thy passion on the Cross, and Thy death and Thy entering within the grave, and Thy resurrection on the third day, and Thy ascension unto Thy Father to Heaven, the feeble race of mankind may be strengthened, which in its infancy the evil one deceived, and took captive, and led them astray to worship idols, and sacrifice to devils, and bow down to senseless stones. Yea, Lord ! hear and answer me. Let the devils and the legions of Satan wail, wherever one of us proclaims Thy Gospel; and let the whole assembly of the Apostleship be enriched with the sound of Thy praise thundering in every place. |6 Let the demons tremble at the voices that thunder in the midst of Thy Church; and remember Thy Church, which Thou hast bought with Thy precious blood, which Thy Father hath given that through Her all creation might be atoned for. Thou, Lord, art Light of Light; and because it seemed good unto Thee, in the love of Thy Father, Thou didst walk on earth, and didst humble Thy majesty, that Thou mightest raise us up from the degradation into which the slayer of man had cast us down through his envy. And Thou hast said, and we have heard with our ears of flesh, 'I and My Father are one,' and 'he that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father;' and in this confidence, Lord, my youth beseeches Thee to hear my prayer. For I too trust that I have received the Spirit of holiness with my companions, and of it, lo, have obtained and am full. And whatsoever I ask of Thy Father in Thy name, He will give to me; and nothing shall be too difficult for one of those who believe in Thee, but whatsoever they ask, they shall receive. Yea, Lord! grant me that I may abide in Thy Gospel, and may prosper in all the truth; because I speak the truth, that Thou art from the beginning, the Word that proceeded from the Father; and Thou didst appear to the world in the body (derived) from Adam, from the Virgin Mary, who was preserved in her virginity; and there was not (a time) when the, Father was without Thee, |7 or Thou without Him ; and Thou before us hast laid the foundations of the earth; and Thy mercy made Thee bow, and Thou didst enter by the ear of the Virgin, and didst dwell in her nine months, and didst come forth from her, and wast in the world, in contempt and littleness; and Thou didst choose us from the world, that the world might live through our preaching. Now then, Lord, I will go to that place to which Thy heavenly grace hath made me look; and may they be turned, and become (my) disciples, and be baptized in Thy name and in the name of the Father who sent Thee, and receive Thy Spirit of holiness, which has proceeded from Thy Father, and, lo, dwells in us; and may the graven images of error be destroyed ; and do Thou build for Thyself in the city of priests churches for Thy glorification, and, in place of the house of altars for the libations of demons, altars for Thy dwelling-places; and may these, who through our means are to take the road and paths to turn unto Thee, make praise ascend unto Thee at all times. Amen."
And when S. John had finished his prayer, our Lord Jesus spake with him. from heaven, and said unto him: " My peace I have given unto thee and have not left thee bereaved. Lo, I am with you unto the end of the world. Be not afraid, son of Zebedee! Go and preach, and take no heed what thou shalt say or what |8 thou shalt speak. But when thou hast converted this city and this country from error, another band too of the disciples, which is labouring in the Gospel, is destined to come and see all that I shall do by thy hands. Go, and tarry not."
And when He had done speaking with him, John arose, and was going on the way confidently, rejoicing in the joy of the Spirit of holiness. He was clothed then after the fashion of the raiment of Palestine, and was walking barefooted, and was going along and preaching in the cities and in the villages concerning our Lord Jesus the Messiah, forty-eight days. Some were saying, "He is a madman;" and others were saying, " No; let him alone; for this (man) has come from a far country, and knows not our mighty gods. But when he has entered in and learned, then he will love them and sacrifice unto them." But many people of Asia heard him gladly, and believed, and thought his preaching true; and he baptized of them in three days about two hundred souls, and made them lay hold on the path of truth.
Then S. John went forth and journeyed to come to the city of the priesthood. And his sustenance was, from the ninth to the ninth hour once, when he had finished his prayer, bread and herbs with a mess of boiled lentils, which he bought for himself (as he went) from town to town, eating, and drinking water only. And he kept |9 himself aloof, that he might not associate with the heathens.
This great and chosen (man), then—as we have found in the books, which are written on paper, in the archives of Nero, the wicked emperor—S. John, then, came and arrived at the city of Ephesus; and he lifted up his eyes and saw, and, lo, a smoke was going up from the midst of the city of Ephesus, for it was a festival of the heathens, and they were sacrificing to the devils. And he stood still and was astonished, saying: "What is this conflagration, which, lo, veils the sun so that it does not shine upon the buildings of the city?" And with terror taking hold on him, he came and reached the southern gate, and lifted up his eyes and saw; and lo, the image of the idol Artemis was standing over the gate, painted by them with paints, with gold laid upon her lips, and a veil of fine linen hanging over her face, and a lamp burning before her. And when S. John looked and saw her, he contemplated her; and sighed, and wept over the city; and he left (the spot), and departed thence to another gate, and saw there the same thing; and he went round and saw thus at all the gates. And at last he came near to the eastern (gate), and said to an old woman, who was standing and worshipping her — he spoke and said to her in the language of the country: "Woman, I see thee, that thou art a woman advanced in years; what is this image that thou art worshipping?" |10
She then said to him: "Dost thou not know, my son, what thou seest? This is our lady, and her image descended from heaven, and she nourishes all flesh." He then, a youth in his body, but exalted above the whole garland of his brethren, the holy virgin John, broke out into anger with her and said: "Hold thy peace, old woman! for thy mind has become enfeebled by sacrifices of unclean things. Talk not to me of the daughter of Satan." But she stooped down, and filled her fists with dust and gravel, and scattered it in his eyes; and he left (her) and departed thence. And he went a little (way) off, and knelt down, and was praying and supplicating. And he placed his face between his knees from the sixth hour to the ninth, and was weeping, groaning and saying: "Lord God, strong and mighty, longsuffering and abounding in grace, Thou art He who from the first didst show Thy longsuffering, for a hundred years, on those (who were) called to repentance of the generation of Noah; but they did not repent, until the flood came and swept away that whole generation. And Thou art He who didst send Thy only-(begotten and) dear Son, that the world might have life through Him; and He came and did good deeds like Thee, because He proceeded from Thee. And Thou art He who, when the people of Israel worshipped the calf, didst find out a reason and didst say to Moses, 'Suffer me to destroy this people,' since it did not honour Thee; for Thou didst wish that it should pray to Thee, because Thou |11 takest great pleasure in the life of men. So also Thy dear Son our Lord Jesus the Messiah, when the Jews took Him to slay Him, prayed and said, 'Forgive them, for they know not what they do.' This mercy, then, which is eternally in Thee, is also found in Thy Son, for Ye are one. Turn, Lord! the heart of these erring ones, who, lo, are shouting and crying out before devils. Thou didst come and slay the evil one; let not his head be lifted up in the assembly of this city; let not be heard the sound of the roaring of the falsehood of the devils. Thou didst die once, and didst raise us to life with Thyself. Dash down Satan, for, lo, he has cast down and brought low the image, that was created in Thy likeness, before the legions of his demons. Let the doomed images be brought into contempt, not of this place only, but of every region through which our preaching runs. Yea, Lord! Thou hast taught us that we should walk in the world humbly and lowlily. Hear the prayer of Thy servant John, and let me enter this city, bearing the sign of Thy Cross; and direct my path to the right hand; and where Thou pleasest, there let be found for me a place in which I can earn my living as a hireling, until, Lord, this city follows (Thee) and confesses Thy name."
And when he had entered by the gate of Ephesus, he looked to the right hand, and saw there a bath, which was built for the washing of the body. And he turned |12 aside thither, and lo, (there was) the man who kept the bath, whose name was Secundus. And S. John spake with him, and said to him in the language of the country: "To thee I say, O man! art thou perchance willing that a stranger should work with thee?" And Secundus, the keeper of the bath, said to him: "How much dost thou require of me by the day ?" But S. John said to him : " Whatever thou art willing to give, give." And he fixed for him a hundred shamūnē by the day, and accepted him (as a servant); and he let him come in to work at his trade with him, and he fetched faggots for those who kindled the bath; and he was with him forty days, receiving his wages day by day.
And Secundus the bath-keeper answered and said to the holy man: "I wish to know what thou dost with thy wages; for, lo, all these days thou hast not bought for thyself either shoe or coat. Tell me, if it be enough; and if not, deposit thy wages in my hands, and I will buy for thee whatsoever thou requirest; for thou art a stranger, and hast no kindred here." But S. John said to Secundus the bath-keeper: "I have a Master, and He has ordered me and the disciples my fellows, that none (of us) should possess gold or silver or brass in a purse, or two coats; and I cannot despise his command, otherwise He would be wroth with me." Secundus says to him: " Who is this master of |13 thine? and what is his name? It is fitting that thou shouldst let me know, lest he come and assail me, and, it he be a hard man, give me up (to the magistrates) and put me to great losses; for it is an odious thing, and abominable in the eye of the law, for a man to accept (one as) a servant without his master's consent." And S. John answered and said to Secundus the bath-keeper: "Fear not, Secundus, thou son of free parents! for my Master will not be angry with thee, because He sent me and directed me to thee." Secundus says: "But why didst thou not tell me until to-day that thou wast a slave and hadst a master?" And S. John said to him: "My Master is in Heaven, and all that He wills, He does, on earth and in the seas and in all the deeps; and at His beck everything was made, which is visible and which is invisible; and He established all created things, and made the lights in the firmament of heaven; and then He made man in His image. And when Satan came with his envy, and counselled Eve, and she hearkened to his words and made Adam sin and he transgressed His command, they went forth from Paradise, and became fugitives, and tilled the ground, and multiplied and increased and filled the earth. And Satan went about and plotted, and filled all mankind with the love of idols and (made them) sacrifice to devils, and bow down to the work of their hands, and caused them to forget |14 the Creator, and to reverence those who are not gods. But the good Lord had patience with them until (the time of) his lover Noah; and He made him a preacher for Him for a hundred years, whilst he was making for himself the ark, that they might see and repent and be turned away from the wickedness of their deeds. And when they despised our Creator, His wrath went up, and He sent the waters of the flood and swept them all away. And after the waters of the flood were restrained, the world was established through Noah, and the generations came in succession, and the world was populated at the beck of the Creator; and the minds of men were inclined to do evil and wickedness, and to turn from the living God; but the mercy of the Creator of men was made manifest, and He had compassion upon all the degradation of this feeble race of ours, and He sent the prophets to proclaim His truth, but they did not choose to hear them, and some they beat and some they stoned. But in this time, which is the last, the one beloved Son, His only-(begotten), who was to Him from the time that He was,—Him He sent, and He entered by the ear of the woman, and dwelt in her nine months, without quitting Him who sent Him; and the heights and depths were full of Him, and were ruled by Him by the will of His Father. And when the nine months were fulfilled, He came forth from the woman, the Word that became flesh, and her virginity remained immaculate for ever. And He grew up in the body among men, and walked among men as a man, He the Word God, apart from sin. |15 And He grew up to the full age of thirty years, and chose for Himself disciples, and they clave unto Him whilst he sojourned in the desert. And He made wine out of water at Cana at the feast ; and bread was wanting, and he satisfied four thousand men, besides women and children, with five loaves of barleymeal, and they ate and left (some) over, and carried and conveyed to their homes as much as they were able. And again, another time, He satisfied thousands in the desert, after He had healed their lame and sick, and opened (the eyes of) the blind, and some of them are abiding until now; and He made the deaf hear, and cleansed the lepers, and raised the daughter of Jairus, the chief of the synagogue, after she was dead, and, lo, she abideth, with her father, in Decapolis, and if thou choosest to go, thou mayest learn (it) from her. And (He delivered from death) the son of the widow of Nain, as they were going to bury him, and Lazarus, after they had laid him in the grave four days. Many such things mayest thou hear, if thou wilt give me thine ear, and believe, and become His servant, Secundus. And after thirty-two years, after the thirty-third had commenced, the people of the Jews hated Him and detested His good works, as they had rejected His Father and made for themselves a calf at Horeb. And they delivered Him unto Pilate the hěgemon, and scourged Him, and stripped Him of His garments, and mocked Him, and spat in His face, and wove |16 a crown of thorns, and placed it on His head, and crucified Him upon the tree, and gave Him vinegar and gall to drink, and smote Him with a spear in His side and He cried out with a loud voice on the Cross, ('My Father, forgive them'). And when the preaching of the prophets was accomplished, the sun was darkened from the sixth to the ninth hour, and there was darkness over the whole earth on the Friday; and the veil of the temple was rent; and the boulders and rocks, which blocked up the entrances of the tombs around Jerusalem, were split, and the dead came forth and entered into the city, crying out aloud; and they came and worshipped Him as He hung on the tree, and many of them are (still) alive. And they took Him down from the tree, and a man full of the truth, Joseph the councillor, wrapped Him in a swathe of linen, and laid Him in the tomb ; and on the third day He rose from the grave, and we saw Him, and He spake with us, and we ate bread with Him and we felt Him, and believed and declared (it) true, that He is the "Word which became flesh and dwelt among us. And He ascended into Heaven, and is seated at the right hand of His Father, and He has given us power to give life and blessings to every one who believes in His name. And He said to us : 'Go forth, |17 and teach, and baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Spirit of holiness ; everyone who believes and is baptized, shall live.' And now I beseech thee, Secundus,— for I have proved thee during these days, that thou art not a blasphemer, but art full of good deeds and love of strangers — receive what I have spoken before thee, and count me not a deceiver, but, if thou wilt, come with me to the country of Galilee, and I will show thee (some) of the dead and the blind and the hunchbacked and the palsied and the lepers, whom He cleansed and healed and raised, for they are alive. But if thou dost not choose to come and (yet) believest, thou art greater than I, who have seen Him and have been with Him, for thou wilt believe in Him that He is God who did these things, and He will convert thee and make thee white and pure from the stench of unclean sacrifices. Yea, my brother! set my mind at ease, and thy dwelling shall be blessed, and thou shalt be recognised before Him in the new world."
And Secundus the bath-keeper was sitting (still), and astonished and wondering at what he was hearing from John; and he began to say to him: "Wonderful is what thou hast spoken unto me and verging on marvel ; for even though He be not God and did not descend from Heaven, it is fitting that He should be believed in and should be called God, because He came forth from the womb and did not destroy (His mother's) virginity |18 when He came forth; and it is a very deplorable thing, if one does not hold it true that He is God, who raised the dead, and He is the Creator, who made wine out of water; and He has power over our frame, and because of this He opened and healed and cleansed. This one, then, is fitting to be called God, and not yon one, to whom, lo, for sixty years, more or less, I have been paying vows and libations, and she has not opened the eye of my son which was blind. But now, my son John, let this secret be kept which we have spoken, and let it not be revealed until the time that its Lord wishes to reveal it, especially as thou art a stranger, lest it be heard regarding thee that thou dost not worship Artemis, and they burn thee. Now, then, I have assented to, and believed, and hold to be true, all that thou hast said; and do thou be persuaded by me, and take upon thee the management of this bath, and let thine eyes be upon the servants, and do thou have control over the income and over all the outlay." But John said to him: "It becometh me not to eat without working;" and Secundus said to him: "Thy labour is harder than that of him who works.'' Then the holy (man) yielded to him, and took upon him to receive the incomings of the bath and to give a reckoning from morning to morning.
Secundus, then, was amazed, he and his household, how much the receipts of the bath increased during these days, which were twenty-two days (in number); and he used to get up very early, and go down and speak to |19 the holy (man) and ask him: "How is it possible to make me thy associate?" But John said: "After He has opened thy son's eye, that he may be baptized."
And on the twenty-fifth day, (when) the time of an hour of the day (was past), a procurator's son, whose name was Menelaus, and his father's Tyrannus, came and constrained the holy (man) that the bath should be closed and got ready. But it was not known to the holy (man) that any one was going into the bath with him. And the holy (man) gave orders, and the bath was got ready; and this Menelaus came to bathe, and took with him into the bath a harlot, and was with her in the bath. And when he came out from his bath, John arose and said to him: "Hither come not thou again, because thou hast done a great disgrace to this person of thine, which is created in the image of God, in that thou hast gone in with a harlot, and not been ashamed that thou hast seen her shame and she thine." And Menelaus was enraged with the holy (man) and struck him. And S. John said to him: "If thou comest hither, thou shalt not depart hence."
And after two days, he sent two of his servants to get ready the bath. And when the bath was ready, he came to bathe, and brought the former harlot along with him. But S. John, by the agency of God our Lord, had gone out to look after those who kindled (the bath). And when he came, he asked: "Why is the door of the bath closed?" They say unto him: "Menelaus, the |20 procurator's son, is within." But when the holy (man) heard that he was within, and that the harlot was with him, he was grieved, and sighed, and was troubled. And he waited till both of them came out; and he did not look at them till they had put on their clothes. And when they were dressed after their bath, he turned and looked at them, and said to the youth: "To thee I say, may Jesus rebuke thee, whom the Jews crucified on the tree, and He died, and rose after three days, and He is God, and He ascended to Heaven, and is at the right hand of His Father; but thou shalt drop down and die on the spot." And straightway the Angel of the Lord smote him, and he died on the spot. And he was lying (there), and S. John was sitting beside him; and straightway the harlot went forth with a great outcry, with her hands placed on her head. And when they heard it around the bath, they came and saw with fear that the young man was dead and lying (there), and the holy (man) sitting beside him. And they looked on his face and perceived that it was Menelaus, the procurator's son; and lamentation and wailing ran through that whole street. And it was dinner-time, and his father was seated (at table), and expecting him to come up and dine with him. And they came in and said to him: "Lo, thy only son is dead and lying in the bath."
And Tyrannus arose in haste, and cast ashes on his head, and rent his garments ; and he made great haste coming to the bath to his son, and a great multitude with him. And he came, and went in, and saw his son dead and lying (there), and S. John sitting beside him; and they |21 seized hold on John, and laid fetters on his hands and feet, and thick collars on his neck. But the father of the youth was crying with a great outcry; and he commanded, and they stripped John, that they might see what he had on. And when they had taken off his coat and the worn-out shirt which he had on, they found on him a cross, which was suspended to his neck, and it was of wood. And the procurator, the father of the young man, commanded that they should take it away; and when they stretched out their hands to take it away, it had four tongues of fire, and they burned the hands of those who came near it. And the whole multitude cried out: "This man is a wizard; let this man be kept to-day in custody and be examined, (to see) how many companions he has." And the procurator commanded that S. John should be dragged away till he entered the prison house, whilst the youth his son was being buried. But S. John cried out, "The youth is not dead;" and his father gave orders, and they lifted him up and turned him over, and he placed his mouth against his, and he was like a stone without sensation. But the holy (man) said, "He is not dead," solely that they might see that he was already dead. And the holy (man) said unto them: "If he be dead, I will bring him to life." And whilst they were dragging away S. John that he might go to prison, Secundus the bath-keeper was standing by and weeping passionately |22 with sobs among the crowd. And S. John was begging of Tyrannus that they might call Secundus the bath-keeper ; and the procurator ordered, and they laid hold of Secundus and brought him in to him. And Secundus was weeping for John's sake, for he imagined that John would be put to death; but the father of the youth thought that he was weeping for the youth. And the holy (man), being bound, answered and said to Secundus: "Fear not, Secundus! and be not grieved; to-day it is the will of the Spirit of holiness to make manifest the truth."
And the crowd was great and agitated. And S. John begged the procurator to order the crowd to be silent; and he ordered and the crowd was quiet. And S. John stood up, and cried with a loud voice and said: "To thee I say, (thou) youth Menelaus, in the name of Jesus the Messiah, (who is) God, whom the Jews crucified and killed in Jerusalem, and He died and was buried and rose after three days, and, lo, is above in Heaven at the right hand of His Father,—rise." And straightway he sprang up and arose; and the whole populace of the city marvelled. And the youth fell on his face before S. John, and saw the collars that were laid on his neck and the cord that bound his hands and feet; and the youth loosened them, and kissed S. John's toes. And the youth drew nigh, and stood on a place that was elevated, and beckoned with his hand, and began to tell from the |23 commencement, how he had come to the bath, and all that had happened; and he told with a loud voice before the people, how he had committed fornication with the harlot, and how the holy (man) had bidden him not to come (again). And they began to cry out, "What did he do to thee that thou didst die?" He says to them: "Thus he said to me: 'May the Lord Jesus rebuke thee, whom the Jews crucified in Jerusalem, and He died and was buried, and rose after three days, and ascended to Heaven, and sat down at the right hand of His Father;' and straightway the angel smote me and I fell down. And he took out and carried away my soul, and brought me nigh, and I saw the glory (of God) and a dreadful sight, which one of mankind is not able to narrate, such as I have seen; yet a little out of much, if this (man) who is standing before you bids me, will I tell."
And straightway the father of the youth fell upon his face before John, and said to him : "I beg of thee, sir, permit the youth to speak, and be not angry with him." And the holy (man) made a sign to the youth to speak; and the youth answered and said:
"I saw the chariot of the cherubim, (and) seraphim without number, who had wings, and they were covering their faces that they might not look upon the Creator, and were crying, 'Holy, holy, holy (is) the Lord Almighty, of whose praises Heaven and earth are full.' And I saw twelve men in one band, and in another seventy-two, and I counted them; and they were standing with their heads uplifted to heaven. And a right hand was stretched out from between the cherubim, like fire, and it commanded |24 them in a low and gentle voice: 'Go forth, teach, and baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the Spirit of holiness; every one who believes and is baptized, shall live.' And I trembled; and being afraid, I drew near to the great troop of seventy-two, and was also entreating them to tell me, who this is; and they answered and said to me: 'This is the Son of God, whom the Jews crucified in Jerusalem; all this, my son, whatever thou seest, is dependent upon and subsists by His nod, and He upholds all the arrangements of the upper world, and by His power subsist all the creatures of the lower worlds; because He is the Power and the Wisdom of the Father, and He sent Him to deliver all those who cleave unto and take refuge with Him; and He draws and brings unto His Father all who believe in Him; and He it is who acknowledged, whilst walking on the earth, 'I am the living bread, who am come down from Heaven, and every one who eats of my body, shall live.' And when I had observed His true aspect, I looked upon the band of twelve, and saw this man there, who, lo, is standing before you, clad in glorious white robes, and standing at the head of the band of twelve, beside an old man; and the eyes of those eleven were looking upon him lovingly, as if he were offering some petition on their behalf, but his eyes were raised aloft, and he was weeping. And the old man drew nearand asked him, 'My son, why weepest thou and prayest thus?' |25 And I had learned, when I asked the band of seventy, that Simon was the name of the old man. And S. John complied with the wish of Simon and said to him: 'Because of the error of the city of Ephesus I am weeping, for lo, it is bound down, and its children, and worships the devils who dwell in the doomed images.' And I saw a gentle voice, which made a sign to him with the finger, (saying:) 'Go; all that thou hast prayed before me, shall happen.' And whilst trembling, I noticed him, that it was this man against whom I rose up to kill him in the bath, because he hindered me from fornication. And whilst I was marvelling at these many evidences, my soul heard his voice and came and lived; and lo, I stand before you. And now therefore, lo, I beseech him to let me draw nigh to the living sign, and to make me his disciple. And ye who have seen this wonder, do ye turn from error, and despise the images, and let us become disciples of His, and let us save our souls alive, and not destroy them with our own hands; and when He has consecrated us, then let us confess and worship Him, believing in the Father and the Son and the Spirit of holiness, now, and at all times, and for ever and ever, Amen."
And a great multitude had come and was assembled there; and they went forth unto them outside of the bath, the father of the youth holding (the hand of) the holy (man). And the youth was coming, with his hands |26 lifted up to Heaven. And they came and arrived at the great square in the midst of the city, and the whole city was assembled; and it was the ninth hour. And the whole city was agitated, men and women and children. And the priests, when they saw the sign that had taken place, and the youth standing up and become a preacher of the Gospel, said: "This is one of the race of our lady Artemis." But S. John was crying out: "I am a man subject to passions, and the Lord Jesus hath chosen me, the Son of God, who came down from Heaven, and entered by the ear of the Virgin, and dwelt in her womb nine months, and came forth from her without destroying her virginity, and lived in the world as a man, apart from sin, whilst He was God like His Father; and the Jews took Him, and crucified Him upon the tree in Jerusalem; and He died, and was buried, and rose after three days, and ascended to Heaven, and is seated at the right hand of His Father."
And when the procurator, the father of the youth, heard these things, he fell down on his face before the feet of the holy (man), and all the chief men of the city, from the ninth to the eleventh hour. And they were astonished, men and women, at these things; and the half of the crowd were crying out: "Verily, great is this mystery, and Jesus ought to be worshipped, for He is God." Others were saying, "Artemis ought to be worshipped." These, then, who were held worthy to believe, with their daughters and sons, were about |27 36,706 souls, on that afternoon, who were numbered in the evening and their number was given to the procurator. And when there was a great crush and tumult, and the day was on the wane, John encouraged the procurator to stand up, saying to him: "Arise, thou pleasant tree, that yields early fruit, whose smell is sweet and its odour diffused by the Gospel. Arise, my brother ! and bid thy nobles arise with thee. Arise, and thy head shall be lifted up, and not sink again. Do not worship me, who am a slave, made and created; but worship and praise Him, who formed us and created us." And all the nobles lifted up their heads, kneeling upon their knees, and looked on the holy (man), and saw his face like light ; and they bowed down their faces to the ground, being afraid, for they thought that at that time their lives would perish from among the sons of men. And being afraid, they lifted up their voices, crying out: "Verily, great is this God, who is newly preached in this our city; and these are (things) made and are not gods; and we are the servants of This (One), and will not again be perverted so as to bow down our head before idols which have not profited us and will not profit us We beg of thee, thou who art His servant, bring us near before Him, and let us know His ways, and make us look on His paths, for the good servant, who loves his master, knows to work his pleasure, and his master too hears him."
And the holy (man), when he heard these things, was |28 rejoicing in the Spirit of holiness. And he stretched out his hands to them, and made them rise, and said to them: "Peace be unto you, little flock, for your Father has willed to give unto you the kingdom which is reserved for His friends. Arise, new congregation, which has assembled to-day to hear the Gospel of Jesus, the Son of God. I beg of you, my brethren, salute one another with a holy kiss, because the time is short, and the sun has finished his course, which he was commanded by This (One), whom I preach unto you, to run; and especially too, because there are here persons, who have not yet tasted bread or water." But they were crying with a loud voice: " Sweeter far are Thy words to the roof of my palate than honey to the mouth; for verily we are hungry and thirsty, and we receive nourishment from thy pleasant word." But S. John besought the procurator that the crowd should be dismissed, praying in his heart with sighs and saying: "Lord Jesus, grant concord to our congregation; and let Satan be driven out, that he may not cast discord or sedition into this city, and people die (thereby)."
And the procurator arose and beckoned with his hand that they should be quiet. And when they were still, he began to speak with them, and answered and said: "My brethren and children and friends, if it be pleasing unto you, let us depart at this time from one another; and to-morrow morning I wish that you should assemble |29 at the theatre; and whatever is the will of the Spirit, which we have heard from the mouth of this man, we will do. For this is fitting for us, that all night each man in his house should offer up prayer and entreaty before our Lord, who is in Heaven and brings us nigh unto His Father, on account of our sins, because we have let our feet go astray from His way. If He willeth to mingle us with the bands of those that praise Him, (it is well); and if not, he will (yet) deliver us from the fire that is laid up for the worshippers of idols."
And when the clerk had finished this proclamation, the whole multitude cried out with a loud voice: "Peace be unto thee, thou wise ruler! peace be unto thee, thou wise chief! Peace be unto thee, thou goat, that hast entered (into the fold) and become a lamb! Thou hast shown to-day thy love to us; to-day thou hast become a true chief unto us, and hast given us counsel that we might live and not die."
And when they had finished their outcry, after the nobles had quieted them, the multitude dispersed, and began to go away rejoicing. And the priests of Artemis assembled, and blew horns and lighted lamps; and the |30 gates of the temple were opened; and all the people of Ephesus ran to the temple, as was their custom. And the procurator was enraged, and wished, he and the nobles, to send and massacre the priests, because they had made an assembly without their order. But S. John threw himself upon his face and besought them, (saying): "Whosoever keeps my word and loves our Lord Jesus, let him not go and injure them there, because they too, through your prayers, shall draw nigh unto the mystery of life, and become brethren of ours." And then they obeyed the holy (man).
And some of the nobles, whose names were Antoninus, Marcellus, Epiphanius, and Fortunatus, gave orders, and their slaves ran and brought a hundred and fifty lamps of papyrus to give light, and said by way of petition to the procurator: "It beseems us not to go away this whole night, lest the city be set on fire by the hands of the worshippers of idols, and they be saying, 'Because they forsook the fear of Artemis, fire has fallen in their houses,' and they blame Artemis, whilst she (really) can do nothing; and especially, that there may be no murders."
And when the multitude heard these things, they took S. John upon their shoulders, and ran; and from their joy they did not know what they were crying out. And the foremost ran (and) opened the doors of the theatre; and the procurator and his nobles went in with great pomp. And they ran to spread (carpets) and arrange |31 (a seat) for him, according to custom. And the procurator said: "It is not fitting for me any longer to sit upon the throne; take (it) away from here." And the whole multitude came into the theatre and there was a great tumult. And the sun was set about two hours. And some of the councillors of the procurator besought of him that a thousand men might go out, and perambulate the city, and keep watch till dawn, that no harm might happen, since S. John had begged that no one should be killed; " and if they catch any man, let them say to him: 'There are two watches in the city, one made by Satan in the temple of Artemis, and one made by our Lord Jesus in the theatre; to whichsoever thou choosest to go, go.'" And when the multitude heard these things, they were glad, and stretched out their hands to Heaven, saying: "Glory to Thee, Creator of Heaven and earth, and of night and day." And the procurator commanded, beckoning to them with his hand, that they should be quiet, and said to them: "Let not our assembly become uproarious and tumultuous, but let us be still, and hear the word of life, and see by what we live." And he commanded, and they brought S. John to the highest row (of seats), and the nobles sat beneath his feet. And the procurator was standing, and did not wish to sit down, saying: "I beg of you that I may stand, that, if there be a man who is weak in his body, I may go over and awaken him that he slumber not." And he could hardly be persuaded |32 to sit down. And when he had sat down, there was a great silence.
And when they were quiet, S. John sprang up, and stood, and beckoned to them with his hand to keep silence; and brought out the cross that was on neck, and looked upon it, and laid it on his eyes, and kissed it. And after he had wept, he stretched out hi right hand, and signed with it the whole assembly, and placed it on the highest row (of seats), which was the most eastern of all, and had lamps placed before it And they cried with a loud voice and said: "Thou servant of Jesus, declare unto us, what this is that thou hast done unto us." And the holy (man) beckoned unto them, and they were silent; and he began to speak and; said: "Beloved children, whom the Gospel hath won, this is the Cross of the Son of God, who was eternally with His Father, and He made these heavens and these stars that are arrayed in them, and on Him depend all His creatures. And I have made this Cross a bulwark for you, that Satan may not come, and assemble his demons, and make sleep enter into you or heedlessness of mind." And they cried out: "To us this night is day, for now life is come nigh unto us." And they quieted one another. And when they were quiet, all the people ran; and when they had run, they turned their backs to the west, and fell down on their faces before the cross to the east, and were weeping and saying: " We worship Thee, Son of God, who wast suspended on the tree." And the procurator was lying prostrate before the cross |33 and he went (and) stood in front, and said: " We worship Thee, Father and Son and Spirit of Holiness, for ever, Amen." And they all answered, "Amen."
And they were saying to John : "By our Lord Jesus (we conjure thee), inform us how the Son of God came, and let us know, if we are drawing nigh unto Him, and if He will forgive us all the sacrifices and libations with which we have polluted ourselves." And the holy (man) stood up on the highest row (of seats), and began to speak with them, being full of the Spirit of holiness, and he made known unto them all the ordering of creation, and that the Son of God was with the Father from the beginning, and was not parted nor far away from Him, and that without Him nothing came into being (of) all that is in heaven and in earth, (of) all things visible and invisible. And being full of the Spirit of holiness, he was narrating before them from the Torah and the Prophets, and how God had compassion upon the body of the human race, which was taken in sin, and sent His only Son and He came, and entered by the ear of the Virgin Mary, and dwelt in her womb nine months, and from her was clothed with the body, whilst the height and depth were full of Him, and there was no place in which He was not; and whilst forming children in the wombs (of their mothers), He was with His Father; and when the nine months were fulfilled, He came forth from the womb of the woman, whilst she remained a Virgin, and her virginity was not destroyed but remains |34 for ever; and He grew tip as a man, He the Great One, who became small because He willed (it so); and when thirty years were fulfilled, He came to the Jordan for baptism, and was baptized by John, the son of Zacharias, who was His servant; and when this "Jesus was baptized and multitudes surrounded Him, the Heavens were rent, and His Father cried out over Him, and pointed Him out with the finger, (saying:) ' This is my beloved Son, in whom I take pleasure; hear ye Him.' And straightway He came up out of the water, and multitudes (were) around Him; and He, the Hidden One, who came into the world, began to perform those miracles, which He used to do secretly, so as to do them openly; for He was invited to a wedding-feast, and the wine ran short, and the bridegroom had none; and he commanded the groomsmen and the attendants to draw water and pour it into large jars, which were there. And when the attendants had filled out the water, He made a sign and looked upon the water, and it was blessed and transformed and became pleasant and sweet wine. And they all drank and were pleased; and I drank of it. And when He was teaching in the desert, and the day inclined to its close, after the sick had been healed, and the lepers cleansed, and the lamed walked, and (the eyes of) the blind were opened, those who had been healed were hungry; and the time was short, and there was no bread but three cakes of barleymeal. And |35 He commanded the multitude to sit down; and He gave orders, and they brought to Him these cakes; and He looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake, and gave to them, and they ate, and left (some) over, and were satisfied. And those who ate and were satisfied, and carried (some) away, and went to their homes, were four thousand (men), besides women and children. And He sent us away, that we might go into a ship and sail on the sea, and He stayed behind on the dry land. And when the sun had set and it was dark, the sea arose against us, and we were tossed about all night. And in the fourth watch of the night, this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, came unto us walking on the sea, and we were afraid; and when one of the disciples, my companions, saw (this), he said to Him: 'Lord, if it be Thou, command me to come unto Thee upon the water.' And Jesus said unto him, 'Come.' And he walked and came unto Him. And our Lord Jesus came and entered into the ship, and there was a great calm. And these multitudes were astonished and said: 'Who is this, pray, that He commands the winds and the sea and they obey Him?' And when Jesus came to the land of the Gadarenes, they brought unto Him all those who were grievously afflicted with various diseases, and madmen, and paralytics, and lunatics, and the lame; and He healed them all. And now, |36 my brethren, there cannot be numbered or counted the cures and the miracles which this Jesus did, who is the Son of God. For just as He was seen bodily in this world He was doing these works also when He was concealed in His Father eternally. He appeared in the flesh from the Virgin, and wrought these signs openly that by them He might convict Satan, the father of falsehood and condemn him, and show the whole race of mankind, that every one who is drawn and comes unto Him He brings him near unto the Father who sent Him, and He does works like these. For He and His Father are one; and because the Father loved the world, He gave Him to the Cross, and He died for us and gave us life, and we live with Him, and every one who believes in Him, abides in Him. And as to what ye have asked of me and said unto me, 'If our iniquity will be forgiven us, and our sacrifices and our libations, and our impurity and our uncleanness, if we draw nigh unto Him,'— lo, I say unto you, if ye believe in Jesus, and resolve in your minds that ye will not again be mixed up with libations and the impurity of idols, and no man of you change (his mind), and ye do not worship the work of men's hands, but believe in the Father and the Son and in the Spirit of holiness, I will do what He said unto us and commanded us, when He was ascending to Heaven to His Father; and I will cry unto Him, He will blot out your sins, and forgive your faults, and make white your stains; and I will anoint and soften |37 with oil your knees, which you have bent, and the evil one, our enemy, has lacerated them, making them bend before his idols, which have been made by him a dwelling place for his devils; and I will sign for you with His Cross, which is the sign of life, the head which He has bowed down to the ground, and (which) is glad that it is bowed down, because it is created in the likeness of Him who created it; and I will place a seal upon your foreheads, that when he sees that ye are the asylum of this Lord, he may flee and say: 'These were my kids, and were joined unto me that they might become big he-goats, and might butt with their horns all armies; but now the Son of the Father, who bowed Himself down and became flesh from the Virgin, has taken them and made white their colour, which was (the colour of) the darkness in which I am shut up; and He has made them new lambs, and lo, they dwell with Him.' And this mouth of yours, which was fed fat at the table of bitter herbs,— and lo, the deceiver is proud, because he thinks that he has made you food for the serpent, I will open it, and place in it the living bread, which is the body of God, and gives life to every one who believes in Him; and I will make you swallow the blood of the Son of God, which was rent on Golgotha with the spear, of this Jesus, whom, lo, I preach unto you, who, even when ye are dead, is buried with you, and His body and His blood remain in your flesh, and He will raise you up |38 and ye shall arise. Through this body ye shall come without corruption, and not to the fire or the torment, and ye shall not see the worm that dies not, because ye have believed in the name of the Only (-begotten), that He is the Son of God, and in truth He is the Life-giver of the world."
And after these things, the whole assembly in the theatre cried out and said: "We beg of Thee, servant of the living God, do what thou pleasest, and let us participate in the living Mystery, that we may live and not die; and this in haste."
And the holy (man) commanded the procurator that he should have a place (made) in one of the corners of the theatre; and the stone-cutters came, and set to work in that very hour, and made (a place) like a cistern, and turned the water-pipe, which went into the theatre, into the cistern, and the water came and the cistern was filled. And it was spacious on every side, twelve cubits in length and twelve cubits in breadth, and it was two and a half cubits deep.
And the holy (man) besought the procurator to command and let fine, scented oil come, seventy pints. And he commanded, and it came, and a vat was filled with it. And the holy (man) drew nigh, and kneeled down, and looked up to heaven, and cried out in the midst of the theatre: " Holy is the Father and the Son and the Spirit of holiness for ever, Amen." And the whole assembly answered, "Amen." Then John made the sign of the |39 Cross over the oil, and said with a loud voice: "Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Spirit of holiness for ever, Amen." And again the third time he said: " Holy is the Father and the Son and the Spirit of holiness, Amen." And straightway fire blazed forth over the oil, and the oil did not take fire, for two angels had their wings spread over the oil and were crying, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord Almighty."
And the people, when they saw these things, were afraid with a great fear, and fell on their faces, and were worshipping to the east. And when the oil was consecrated, then the holy (man) drew near to the water, and signed it, and said: "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Spirit of holiness, for ever, Amen." And the whole people cried, "Amen." And straightway these two angels came and hovered over the water, and were crying, "Holy, holy, holy, Father and Son and Spirit of holiness," after him. And S. John cried after them, "Amen."
And John answered and said to the whole assembly: "Arise in the power of God!" And they all arose with fear, and their hands were stretched out to Heaven, and they were crying out, saying: "Great is this mystery! We believe in the Father and in the Son and in the Spirit of holiness." And it was about the eighth hour of the night. Then the procurator drew near, and fell on his face before John, and said to him: "What is it |40 necessary for us to do?" And S. John said to him: "Strip off thy garments from thee." And when he had stripped, the holy (man) drew nigh, and took oil in his hand, and made him a cross on his forehead, and anointed his whole body, and brought him nigh to the cistern, and said to him: "Descend, my brother! who art become a new firstling, which enters in at the head of the flock into the fold of the owner of the sheep. Descend, my brother! for the lambs are looking at thee, and running that they may go down, and become white, and get a new fair fleece, instead of that which is rent by ravening wolves." The procurator says: "What must I say, and then descend?" John says to him: "According as thou hast seen, and found true, and believed." And the crowd was silent, as if there was not a man there, that they might see what the procurator and John would say. And the procurator stretched out his hands to Heaven, and cried out, weeping and saying: "I believe in the Father and in the Son and in the Spirit of holiness;" and he leapt down into the font. Then the holy man drew near, and placed his hand on the head of the procurator, and dipped him once, crying out, "In the name of the Father;" and the second time, "In the name of the Son;" and the third time, "In the name of the Spirit of holiness." And when he had come up out of the water, then he clothed him in white garments, and gave him the (kiss of) peace, and said to him: "Peace be unto thee, thou new bridegroom, |41 who hadst grown old and effete in sin, and, lo, to-day art become a youth, and thy name has been written in Heaven."
Then the whole multitude was agitated, and hastened eagerly (to try) which should run down into the font. And all the chiefs were standing around the font; and they signed to the crowd with their hands to be silent. And the whole crowd were crying out, saying with simplicity: "Brethren and fathers, let us run and anoint ourselves with this holy oil, and bathe in this water, and become white, lest perchance either the water become exhausted, or the oil run short."
Then the holy (man) cried out to them and said: "Be quiet, blessed flock, for your Father, who is in Heaven, has willed to give unto you His kingdom, because ye have believed in His beloved Son." They then straightway were quiet. Then the holy (man) drew near and said to the procurator: "Come, sit down on the fair upper row (of seats); for to-day it is fitting that thou shouldst be honoured, for there is joy in Heaven on thy account." And they spread cushions for him and he sat down.
Then he made a sign unto them with his hand to be silent. And when they were silent, then he began to speak with them, saying: "Verily today life has come nigh unto us. Now then, if this holy (man) gives me leave, I will speak." Then the whole crowd cried out to John and said: "In the name of Jesus, bid him speak." And John said to him: "Speak, my lord, whatever thou pleasest." |42
Then the procurator said: "Hearken, my brethren! When I was (first) dipped, I opened my eyes and saw, not that I was going down, but that I was going up to Heaven. And the second time, I looked and opened my eyes, and saw a right hand holding a reed and writing. And the third time, I heard a voice saying: 'The sinner, the sheep which was lost, is found; let him come in.' "
And S. John straightway clasped his hands tightly behind him, and threw himself on his face before the cross, and cried out: "Glory be unto Thee, Maker of all creatures, who hast sent Thy beloved Son, and He walked upon earth, and gave us power to go forth (and) preach His gospel in the world, and turn the erring to repentance.'' Then he spoke to the nobles, and they took off their garments, and he drew nigh (and) anointed them, and baptized them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Spirit of holiness. And when they were baptized, then he baptized the whole crowd, from the eighth hour (of the night) until the sun rose. And a great multitude assembled and came; and when it was morning, they ran and brought their children, and the holy (man) was giving them baptism till the fifth hour. And those who received baptism were , souls. Then the whole multitude departed for that day.
And the procurator took the holy (man) to his house, and they were rejoicing and glad; and he was in his |43 house three days. But on the third day the holy (man) begged that they would let him go (and) dwell in one of the mountains. And he sent and assembled all his free men, and they were beseeching John to remain in the palace; but he was unwilling to be persuaded, for he said: "I must wander about through all Asia, and also in the country of Phrygia." And when he saw that they were distressed and were weeping, he said to them: "If it were the will of the Spirit of holiness that I should go, ye should not be distressed; but now I will remain and abide with you. Let us go out then, and go about through the whole city, and I will look where it is fitting for me to dwell, for the Apostles my fellows are coming unto me.'' And these words seemed good unto them; and the procurator took his seat with pomp, and all his nobles were going before him. And whilst they were going round, the holy (man) said: "I beseech you, my brethren, to show me the temple of these erring ones." And the procurator came with his retinue to the temple of Artemis, and they were wishing to slay the priests and to burn her temple with fire. But John was beseeching (them) that no man should be slain, saying: "These will come and turn to the knowledge of the truth; let us not destroy them with the sword." And when the holy (man) came and saw them and the temple of folly, there was there a place which was elevated; and he saw that place, and said: "I wish to dwell here." And the procurator and the nobles commanded (them) to |44 make a palace for him there. But he said: "No, by the Lord Jesus; if ye build anything, I will not dwell in it and I wish for nothing but a hut alone." And, straightway they brought (materials) and made for him a hut, which was above the temple, and he was sitting under it. And when he had sat there a long, time, there were assembling unto him all those who believed in Jesus the Messiah our Lord, and were being baptized; and he was communicating unto them the body and blood of Jesus. And there was a hut above, the temple of Artemis; and the holy (man) was sitting, and beholding the uncleanness which took place there.
And after three months and ten days, the priests were assembled, and went round (and) informed the congregation of the heathens, (saying): "We must celebrate a festival to our goddess; but let every man prepare whatever he can, both oxen and sheep, and let us sacrifice (them), and see why our goddess is angry with us." Then the heathens were assembled, and prepared and made a feast, and sacrificed unclean sacrifices. And when they were assembled, John was standing above in the hut and looking at everything that took place. And kneeling before her, they said to the priests: "Ask her for what reason, and learn of her why she has neglected and is angry with us men." And there was dissension in the city. Then came Legion,— the sister of her who fell into the sea, she and the swine,— and spoke in the |45 doomed image; and the priests listened and were hearing from the mouth of the image the sound of a humming like that of bees; and they made the heathens keep silence, and drew near, and laid their ear on the mouth of the image, and the devils gave forth a voice and said: "That hut will destroy this temple; fight not with him. For as said that master of ours, he fought with the Master of this (man), and the Master of this (man) overcame him. See then and be ye also afraid of him. And we are afraid lest his Master come to the help of this (man), and be enraged, and cast us into the deep, and our master be deprived of two Legions. We then, lo, are fighting that we may not be conquered; and if he conquers us, we shall be reckoned as if his Master had conquered our master." And the priests were trembling (with fear), and answered and said: "We ask of you, my lords, who is this man's Master?" The devils say: "He is the Son of God, who came down from Heaven; and our master did not perceive when He came down. And He became man, and died on the Cross; and our master imagined that he was a mere (man). And He rose on the third day from the grave and, lo, He is in Heaven, and is assailing us." And the priests when they heard these things, were amazed and astonished. And the multitudes say unto them: "Why are ye amazed?" And the priests answered and say: "Artemis has said that this hut will destroy this temple, and all who are initiated into her mysteries are afraid |46 of this; and accordingly they are beseeching us to be afraid of this man, who dwells in this hut, who, if he will and command, will destroy us in the abyss."
And the multitudes were straightway crying out: "We renounce this Artemis, in whom there is no use; for if of this (man), who is a slave or a disciple, the strength is so great, (that of) his teacher or his master (must be) as much again." And they were beating their faces and saying: "Alas, what has befallen us? for our possessions have been consumed in libations, and we have gained loss for our souls." And the priests said: "Ye are men of sense; whatever is good in your eyes, do; but we will worship and honour Him who is able to make alive and to destroy." And they ran down from the altar, and with speed went up to the holy (man), and cast themselves upon their faces before the holy (man). And the whole crowd cast cords about the image of Artemis, and pulled it down, and dragged it along, whilst bands were crying out before it and behind it: "Thou destroyer of our lives, arise, deliver thyself! Not from heaven didst thou descend; artisans made thee in a furnace."
And S. John saw that the priests were lying on their faces, but he spoke not with them, nor they with him; and he kneeled down among them, and made them look to the east, and was praying and entreating. And whilst the crowd were crying out and dragging along the image of Artemis, the multitude, who had before received baptism within the theatre, were applauding them in stoles and robes, and were saying: |47 "Come in peace, our brethren and children; let us all have one spirit. Come in peace, O congregation that was estranged from its Master, and lo, to-day has repented and been united with the number (of the chosen). Come in peace, O flock, that was led captive by Satan, and which its Master has brought back that the ravening wolves might not rend it."
And when the procurator heard the tumult and great outcry of the whole city, he was afraid, and arose (and) came from his palace, and went up to S. John, and found him kneeling. And the procurator made a sign with his hand that they should desist from (their) outcry. And he commanded and strong men arose to restrain the crowd from going up to John. Then the procurator said to S. John: "Arise, my lord, and sign this new congregation; for if not, their lives will perish for crying out. For lo, I see aged men whose garments are wet with tears and sweat." Then the holy (man) lifted up his head from prayer, and said to the procurator: "I was interceding for them before our Lord Jesus the Messiah, that He would bring them in and bring them nigh before His Father, and pray on their behalf; for He is the door, and through Him a man goes in, and finds pasturage; and without Him, a man is not able to draw nigh unto the Father; and He gave the law from mount Sinai."
Then the holy (man) arose and looked on them from above, and signed them with the sign of the Cross; and |48 they all fell upon their faces before him, crying out with grief and sobbing: "We have sinned and done wrong and committed evil, and we knew it not until today. Have mercy on us, Lord! Lord of Heaven and earth! for henceforth we abjure all idols."
Then the holy (man) cried unto them from above: "Arise in the might of our God! Arise in the name of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, His beloved Son!" And straightway they arose, and were lifting up their hands to Heaven and crying out: "Glory unto Thee, God, the Maker of Heaven and of earth! Our Lord hath appeared unto us; and we know that Thou art the true God, and that by Thee this youth was sent to the city of Ephesus." And a cloud was overshadowing the city; and straightway there was a low thundering. And the whole crowd fell upon their faces for fear and say: "We praise Thee, Thou hidden God, who art invisible, and lo, hast been revealed unto us because we sought Thee. We confess Thee, and there is no other God but Thee."
Then S. John spake with them, and was expounding unto them from the Law and from the prophets, and was teaching them concerning our Lord Jesus, proving and showing unto them concerning our Lord Jesus, that He is the Son of God. And they, after they had received the faith, were beseeching that they might receive the sign of baptism, crying out and glorifying God. And the procurator besought the holy (man), |49 saying: "If thou pleasest, my lord, let criers go forth in the city and proclaim, 'Whosoever believes in the Son of God, let him come (and) bathe, and be cleansed of pollution;' and as for us, let us go to the place where the font is, and every one who comes, give him the sign, and let him live and not perish." S. John said to the procurator: "Well hast thou spoken, my lord; thus will we do, according to thy command." And straightway both of them arose, and the procurator made a sign with his hand that they should be quiet. And when they were quiet, he said to them: "To you we speak, ye new children, whom the Gospel of God hath won. Today, we being all assembled without tumult, go to the theatre, and there ye shall receive the sign of life." They then, being assembled, drew up bands in order, whilst they were crying out and saying to the procurator: "How must we chant and sing?" The procurator says unto them: "Thus say and sing, until ye enter in, 'Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Spirit of holiness! Lord have mercy upon us.'" And the sound of their outcry was going outside of the city more than five miles.
And they came and entered into the theatre. Then came the procurator and John, and entered into the theatre. Then the holy (man) answered and made a sign with his hand that the crowd should be quiet. And when they were quiet, the holy (man) stood up on the steps and |50 said: "Arise in prayer." And they looked to the east, and fell on their faces, and were saying: "Lord, have pity upon us." Then the priests, when the whole people were lying on their faces, came (and) entered last of all, and were walking barefooted and girded with sackcloth, with dust cast on their heads and their faces covered with soot, and were lamenting and crying out: "Thou God, who dwellest in Heaven, have pity upon us; we have sinned before Thee, and have caused many souls without number to sin; it is not hard for Thee to forgive us, if Thou wilt."
And when they had said these things, John arose from his prayer and said: "Arise in the might of God." And when they had arisen, he concluded the prayer, and they all answered "Amen." And he turned, and looked upon the seven priests, who were standing in vile attire, with their heads inclined to the east and their hands raised to Heaven, and tears without end were running from their eyes and dripping down upon their blackened cheeks. And when the holy (man) saw (them), he was grieved and wept, and the procurator with him; and the whole crowd was weeping. And the holy (man) kneeled down, and prayed, and said: "Merciful God, the Father and Sender of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, Thou, Lord, hast said, 'If the dinner turns from his sin and does righteousness before me, through that righteousness, which he hath done, he shall live.' I ask of thee, Lord, |51 have pity upon the work of thy hands, and be not disgusted with it. Let these be received, who were perishing like sheep which have no shepherd, and let them praise Thy great and terrible name and Thy dear Son our Lord Jesus the Messiah, for to Thee and to Him and to Thy holy Spirit is glory and honour for ever, Amen." And the whole congregation answered "Amen."
Then he arose and called them, but they were not able to speak for weeping and sobbing. And he drew near unto them, holding the procurator by his hand, and spake with them, and they did not speak. And the holy (man) made the sign of the cross upon the forehead of each one of them. Then there was an outcry from the whole crowd, and the tears of S. John were running over. And he said unto them: "Take courage; there is no cutting off of hope. Hope was given to men by the birth of the Son of God from the Virgin. Open your mouths and speak with us. We are your members, and are formed of the same material of which ye are formed. We are created by one God, and are one soul. Fear not; He will not cast you off; He will not reject you; He will not be disgusted with you. I have learned of Him, that if ye believe in Him, ye shall rejoice at the table of His kingdom." Then those priests answered and said before the crowd: "How can our deceitful mouth speak? What can we say? for the face of our heart is blackened more than our external face. We cannot open our mouth to speak. But this we know, and |52 believe, and declare true, that there is one God, who created the world by His grace, and His only (and) beloved Son, our Lord Jesus the Messiah, who put on the body from the holy Virgin; and whether we die, or whether we live, we know no other man. Woe to us then, if He has not mercy upon us and does not forgive us; because we have much property and gold that passeth away, and with these souls we have acquired it."
And the procurator had a wish that they should draw near to him, because they were far from the crowd and were standing alone. And when they went to bring them near and make them stand in the midst, the priests say: "We beg of you, do not defile your hands with our stench. "We will not draw nearer than here, until He wills it in whose name we have believed." And it was about the third hour of that day.
And the holy (man) answered and said to the procurator: "Command, sir, that water come into the font. We must baptize this assemblage, and speak to them the word of life. And command that tables be (laid out) through the whole city, and whosoever wants food, our Lord Jesus, who satisfied thousands in the desert, will prepare (a feast) before him." Then the procurator called Menelaus his son, who became alive, and said to him: "Take unto thee ten men, and let each of them go and provide for thee a hundred men of those who have received the sign of baptism, and let them lay the tables, |53 and make ready a great banquet." And they went and did according to the command of the procurator.
And S. John arose from the bench on which he was sitting, and came to the priests, and took hold of the hand of their chief, whose name was Apollo, and of the hand of another, whose name was Dionysius, and drew them near to him, and was speaking to them the word of God, and was interpreting (it), and exhorting them. And Apollo and Dionysius the priests were saying aloud: "Have pity upon us, Son of God, and bring us nigh unto Thy Father, we beg of Thee. If we are to be punished for our wickedness, let not these be punished, for we have led them astray from Thy path. We beg of Thee, merciful Lord, have mercy, Lord, upon our wickedness. If Thy righteousness judge us, let not these be judged, for ours, Lord, is their corruption." And the whole people was weeping.
And when the font was prepared, the procurator commanded, and oil was brought. Then S. John arose, and prayed, and said: "Glory to Thee, Father and Son and Spirit of holiness, for ever, Amen." And they answered after him, "Amen" And he said: "Lord God Almighty, let Thy Spirit of holiness come, and rest and dwell upon the oil and upon the water; and let them be bathed and purified from uncleanness; and let them receive the Spirit of holiness through baptism; and henceforth let them call Thee 'Our Father who art in |54 Heaven.' Yea, Lord, sanctify this water with Thy voice, which resounded over the Jordan and pointed out our Lord Jesus (as) with the finger, (saying,) 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye Him.' Thou art here who wast on the Jordan. Yea, I beseech Thee, Lord, manifest Thyself here before this assemblage who have believed on Thee with simplicity, and let the nations of the earth hear that the city of Ephesus was the first to receive Thy Gospel before all cities, and became a second sister to Urhāi (Edessa) of the Parthians." And in that hour fire blazed forth over the oil, and the wings of the angels were spread over the oil; and the whole assemblage was crying out, men and women and children, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord Almighty, of whose praises Heaven and earth are full." And straightway the vision was taken away.
And the priests fell down on their faces and wept. And S. John drew nigh and raised them up, and they said: "We believe in the name of the Father and the Son and the Spirit of holiness, and we will never know aught else." And John drew near, and washed them (clean) of the soot, and anointed them with oil, and baptized them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Spirit of holiness, for the forgiveness of debts and the pardon of sins. And S. John said to the procurator: " Command that they go and fetch fine white bread and wine, whilst the whole multitude is being baptized." |55
And they went, (and) prepared, and made ready every thing. And when the whole multitude was baptized, the priests say: "Brothers and fathers and sons, today we bear the Cross of our Lord Jesus the Messiah. Why stand over the gates of our city the images of the daughter of Satan? Let us go (and) pull them down and burn them, and place over all the gates the Cross of our Lord Jesus the Messiah." And the whole multitude were crying out, "Where ought we to make a church?" And S. John was glad and rejoicing; and he said to the procurator: "Look, sir, where it pleaseth thee." And they chose a place which was fitting, and bore the cross and came thither, and set up there the cross, and over the gates of the whole city crosses. And the holy (man) prayed, and offered the (eucharistic) sacrifice, and let them partake of the body and blood of the Messiah; and thither they were assembling every Sunday, and were breaking (bread) together, and were partaking of the body and blood of our Lifegiver.
After these things, when the Gospel was increasing by the hands of the Apostles, Nero, the unclean and impure and wicked king, heard all that had happened at Ephesus. And he sent (and) took all that the procurator had, and imprisoned him; and laid hold of S. John and drove him into exile; and passed sentence on the city that it should be laid waste.
And after three days, believing men of the city assembled, and counselled one another and said: |56 "Let us assemble at the church, and see what each man is willing to give, and take a bribe, and offer it to this wicked ruler, and he will give up to us this (man), who turned us away from error unto our Lord." And when they had taken counsel thus, they collected three hundred pounds of gold, and took ten men, and they went on board a ship to go to Nero, the wicked king, and give the bribe, and bring back the holy (man).
And when they had gone and entered into Rome, at midnight, when the impure Nero was asleep, the Lord sent to him an angel; and he appeared to him in a flame and bearing a sword, and awakened him. And when he had opened his eyes and looked upon him, he cried out and said: "I pray thee, what I have to do with thee?" The angel says to him: "Send back the man whom thou hast taken from Ephesus and cast into exile; and if not, this sword shall enter into thy unclean heart before the sun rises." And the angel smote him and took away his speech, and he was howling like a dog. And his slaves came in when they heard his lamentation, and said to him: "What is the matter with thee, my lord the king?" And he made a sign, and they brought him ink and a sheet of paper, and he wrote: "Straightway, — if it be possible, today,— let John, the son of Zebedee, the Galilean, whom I took away from Ephesus, pass the night in it." And he wrote also, and sent (word) to Ephesus quickly, that every one who was in prison, should come out and do as he pleased. |57
And there came sailors and men clad in arms, and took the letters written by the king's hand, and went on board ship, and went (and) found John at midday kneeling and praying. They say to him: "The king has commanded that we should convey thee to the place where thou wast." And they took him, and went on board ship, and sailed on the sea in peace, and brought him to the gate of Ephesus, and returned to Rome.
And those men who had brought the bribe, when they heard that the holy (man) had returned to Ephesus, said: "We worship Thee, Father and Son and Spirit of holiness, who hast done what Thy fearers wished." And they went on board ship, and brought those three hundred pounds (of gold with them), and came. And when they had entered Ephesus, they showed the gold and narrated all that had happened, and there was joy through the whole city; and they took counsel one with another, and deposited the gold in a house, and hired artificers, and built with it two churches for the worship of our Lord Jesus the Messiah.
And S. John went up (and) sat in the hut; and all the free men of the province of Asia gathered together unto him, and he was teaching and preaching concerning our Lord Jesus; and the word of Nero was established over his own place, but he did not dare again to give orders regarding the province of Asia. It was this wicked man, who slew Paul and Peter.
And after a long interval, when the Apostles |58 heard all that had happened in the whole country of the Ephesians, they were amazed, and said: "This thing is not great for our Lord Jesus, hut to us it is wondrous." And Paul was asking and inquiring of the Apostles, that he might hear the history of S. John; and every day and every hour he was supplicating before God, that he might be deemed worthy to see him.
And when the Gospel rose upon the world, the Spirit of holiness willed, and Matthew was moved and composed the Evangel; and after him, Mark; and after him, Luke. And they wrote, and sent (word) to the holy John that he too should write, and informed him concerning Paul, who had entered into the number of the Apostles. But the holy (man) did not wish to write (a Gospel), saying that they should not say "He is a youth," if Satan cast dissension into the world.
And when the Apostles had travelled about in the countries, and had planted the Cross, and it had spread abroad over the four quarters of the world, then Simon Cephas (Peter) arose, and took Paul with him, and they came to Ephesus unto John. And they rejoiced with a great joy, and were preaching concerning our Lord Jesus without hindrance. And they went up to the holy (man), and found him praying. And they saluted one another, and rejoiced with a great joy, |59 and narrated to one another all that our Lord Jesus had done, and appointed (as) priests believing men.
Peter and Paul entered Ephesus on a Monday, and for five days they were persuading him, whilst rejoicing, to compose an Evangel, but he was not willing, saying to them, "When the Spirit of holiness wills it, I will write." And on the Sunday, at night, at the time when our Lord arose from the grave, the Apostles slumbered and slept. And at that glorious time of the Resurrection, the Spirit of holiness descended, and the whole place, in which they were dwelling, was in a flame; and those men who were awake, awakened their fellows, and they were amazed. And John took paper, and wrote his Evangel in one hour, and gave it to Paul and to Peter. And when the sun rose, they went down to the house of prayer, and read it before the whole city, and prayed, and partook of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus. And they came to the holy (man), and remained with him thirty days; and then they came to Jerusalem, to Jacob (James), the brother of our Lord, and thence they came to Antioch.
And the holy (man) sat in the hut summer and winter, until he was a hundred and twenty years of age, and there his Master buried him in that place, as Moses was buried on Mount Nebo.
Every one who believes, and gives credence to the signs, which our Lord did by the hands of the Apostles, shall find mercy at the day of judgement. And to the |60 Spirit of holiness, who is in the Father and the Son, everything is easy. And let the children of the Church, without division, offer up praise, without investigation, to the Father and to the Son and to the Spirit of holiness, for ever, Amen.
Here ends the Doctrine of John the son of Zebedee, who leaned on the breast of our Lord Jesus at the supper, and instructed and taught and baptized in the city of Ephesus.
[Most footnotes omitted. Note that a complete reprint of this book with all notes, page divisions and Syriac text can be bought online by visiting Gorgias Press, (and search on Wright)]
1. b. In B. the title is : "The history of the holy and beloved Mar John the evangelist, who spoke and taught and baptised in the city of Ephesus."
This text was transcribed by Colin Tunnicliffe, UK, 2004. All material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.
Greek text is rendered using the Scholars Press SPIonic font, free from here.
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