by J. W. Taylor




'Come! Pain ye shall have and be blind to the ending.

Come! Fear ye shall have with the skies overcasting. 

Come Change ye shall have for far are ye wending;

No crown shall ye have for your thirst and your fasting, 

Save the kissed lips of love and sweet life everlasting.

Cry out! for One heedeth who leadeth you Home.'

William Morris

THERE can be but little doubt that these, or many among these of whom I have been writing, became the earliest missionaries of Christendom.

Long before the Apostles themselves had left Jerusalem, either before or immediately after the conversion of St. Paul, the chief non-apostolic disciples of our Lord - many, probably, who had been of the number of the 'Seventy' - with or without direct apostolic sanction, began carrying far and wide the news of Christ's Kingdom.

The only names given us in the Bible of which we can be certain are those of St. Luke, St. Stephen, St. Barnabas and St. Philip, but we may safely conclude that all, or nearly all, were Hebrews, for at first they 'preached the word to none but unto the Jews only', and we know also that none of the Apostles were with them.

We are further told that much of this missionary work was the outcome of enforced dispersion occasioned by the persecution which arose at the martyrdom of St. Stephen.

The passages referring to this are so definite and important that they may well be quoted entire:

'And at that time there was a great persecution against the Church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles', and 'they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word' (Acts 8:1,4), and 'now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen, travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned to the Lord. Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the Church which was at Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch, who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the Church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch' (Acts 11 :19-26).

Perhaps few people who are generally acquainted with the Bible recognize who must have been the essential leaders of this great enterprise and how wide-reaching was its influence.

The scattered disciples who were its leaders would necessarily be those who had been living in Jerusalem or its vicinity both before and during the residence and Passion of our Saviour, who were known to have been willing listeners to His teaching and to have been identified in some way with His ministry and discipleship. St. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, St. Luke and St. Cleopas, St. Martha, St. Mary and St. Lazarus, Joanna who was living with them, and very probably her son; the man who had been born blind and was restored to sight by Jesus, Simon the Cyrenean and St. Philip - all of these (though but few of their names are actually mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles) would inevitably become the victims of Jewish suspicion and hatred and be of those who were forced to leave Jerusalem.1

The persons with whom we have been familiar in the Gospels have only been temporarily lost. Here we find them again; some at least directly mentioned in Holy Scripture as among these early missionaries, and nearly all the rest (with many accessory names) traditionally associated in one way or another with this great exodus and missionary effort occurring within a short time after the stoning of St. Stephen.


1 In the Gospel of St. John we read that 'the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus to death, because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away and believed on Jesus'. This would necessarily affect the whole of the disciples at Bethany (John 12:10, 11).


Let us put ourselves - so far as we can - in the place of these first disciples. 'Our Lord and Master has told us to "go and teach all nations", but before this He said, "Go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel." We have hitherto lived entirely in Palestine or have only wandered a little beyond its borders. In spite of the gifts of Pentecost we have no continuous gift of divers tongues; 2 and when forced by persecution to leave our country we must either turn to any scattered colonies of our people who will hear us, or to other nations or peoples with whose language and customs we are more or less familiar.

'Most of us have lived in Galilee, on the borders of Syro-Phoenicia. The Phoenicians have been our neighbours, and many of them are our acquaintances and friends. Some of them have already seen our Lord and have believed in Him, and if they do not speak quite the same language as ourselves there is only a difference of dialect. They understand us and we can talk freely with them (Mark 7 126). Whether employed by them or working as merchants with them, we are already identified with their colonization and commerce. From the time of King Solomon, when the Hebrews and Phoenicians possessed a common navy, we have sailed the seas together. Where-ever the Phoencian has gone the Hebrew has gone with him, and their colonies extend, as we know, along the borders of the Mediterranean Sea, embracing all the Mediterranean islands, and even extending through the "pillars of Hercules" into the great Atlantic.

'Large populations of our race have permanently settled in Africa, in Egypt and in the parts about Cyrene; while in Tarshish [or Spain] and even the countries beyond it, our sailors who traded and lived 3 there centuries ago have left colonies behind them, who undoubtedly still remember some of the language, traditions, and teaching of their forefathers.

'Most of these colonies of the Dispersion have never been quite forgotten by the Hebrews in Palestine. Accredited messengers from Jerusalem have been in the habit of visiting them at regular intervals,


2 See Bishop Gore's Epistle to the Ephesians, p. 27.

3 'For the king [Solomon] had at sea a navy of Tarshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tarshish bringing gold and silver, ivory and apes and peacocks' (1 Kings 10 :22).

According to an old legend, the Jews of Toledo in Spain addressed a letter to the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem declaring against the crucifixion of our Lord (see 'Spain', Jewish Encyclopaedia). When the Moors first took Toledo, it is said to have been largely populated by Jews, to whom it was a place of refuge when Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem (Tradition).

'Tarshish . . . with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs' [Ezek. 27:12].


and it is not difficult to obtain quite recent and reliable information regarding their work and condition and welfare. 4

'Here, then, are the "fields white unto harvest" spoken of by our Lord, ready for the reaping and waiting for the labourers.

'Others, more travelled and more full of pagan learning than ourselves, may hereafter preach the gospel in the great centres of Greece and Rome; we go, as Christ has bidden us, to our brethren and kinsfolk over-seas.

'Christ was with us on the lake of Galilee, and He will still be with us on the Great Sea, though we may not see Him.' 5

Such would appear to have been the natural thoughts of the purely Hebrew disciples - the almost inevitable response they would give to the voices which were sounding in their ears — the voice of their Master and Lord bidding them go: the voice of persecution driving them before it; and, finally, the voice of all their scattered brethren and half-relations throughout the Phoenician colonies - in Cyprus, Crete and Sicily and Spain, calling - calling.

It is surely no accidental circumstance that the traditional Hebrew missions follow exactly the same course as that of Phoenician coloni-


4. The constitution and functions of these pre-Christian Apostles are thus
described by Harnack:

1. They were consecrated persons of a very high rank.

2. They were sent out into the Diaspora to collect tribute for headquarters.

3. They brought encyclical letters with them, kept the Diaspora in touch with the centre and informed of the intentions of the latter (or of the patriarch); received orders relative to any dangerous movement and had to organize resistance to it.

4. They exercised certain powers of surveillance and discipline in the Diaspora; and

5. On returning to their own country they formed a sort of Council which aided the patriarch in supervising the interests of the Law (Expansion of Christianity, Moffat's translation, vol. i, p. 412).

5- Phoenician or Phoenician and Jewish settlements were found at this period, on all the coasts of the Mediterranean. Tarsus in Cilicia (the birthplace of St. Paul) was a Phoenician city, with Phoenician coinage and worship. In Cyprus the Phoenicians had established themselves for centuries; they had rebuilt the harbour at Citium (Larnaca) and thoroughly colonized the adjacent country. In Crete one of the chief ports, Phoenix (or Phenice) was named after them, and this and other of the Cretan seaports were used for the refitting and repairing of their fleets. In Sicily they had established colonies at Motya, Eryx, Panormus (Palermo) and Soloeis. In Africa a very great part of the sea border and much of the inland country was practically Phoenician or Phoenician and Hebrew. In Sardinia, 'Caralis' (or Cagliari, the present capital) and all the more open and level region of the south and south-west were occupied by Phoenician settlers, while in Spain they had numerous colonies, and at Gades (the modern Cadiz) had established a great centre of maritime traffic which is said to have included not only the coasts of Britain, but also those of North Germany and the Baltic (see Professor Rawlinson's History of Phoenicia, pp. 91-128).

The League formed by Judas Maccabeus (about 162 b.c.) between the Jews and Romans appears to have been prompted by the Jews residing in Spain and Gaul. Note that in the passages referring to this the Gauls are called 'Galatians' (Apocrypha, 1 Macc. 8).


zation, and that the traditional sites of these missions are found accordingly, first, at the Syro-Phoenician towns along the coast as far as Antioch and, secondly, at all the main Phoenician or Phoenician and Hebrew settlements - in Cyprus, in Sicily, in Crete, at Cyrene, in Sardinia and Spain, and finally at the so-called 'Cassiterides', or Cornwall.

Lucius of Cyrene, whom many have identified with St. Luke, was certainly one of those who preached the Gospel at Antioch (Acts 13:1), and it is quite possible that Cleopas went with him, and that both may have been accompanied by the Blessed Virgin.

Associated with St. Luke was 'Simon called Niger', who may well have been the same as Simon the Cyrenean, the father of Alexandra and Rufus, who bore the cross of Jesus. The latter came from Africa, and if of mixed Jewish and African descent would naturally be called Niger on account of his colour.

Beside these (whom we already know in the Gospels) we read of Manaen, the foster-brother of Herod, who (in A.D. 39) was banished to Lyons, in Gaul; and in the old Aquitaine legends mention is made of St. Martial, 'son of Marcellus and Elizabeth', and 'cousin of St. Stephen', as preaching the Gospel at Antioch under St. Peter, and gaining there the special affection of two servants, who followed him afterwards in his travels to Rome and Gaul. One of these, having the curious name of 'Austroclinian', or ' Aristoclian', is evidently referred to in the Book of the 'Acts of Barnabas', supposed to have been written before A.D. 478 :

'And on the following day we came to a certain village where Aristoclinan dwelt. He being a leper, had been cleansed in Antioch, whom also Paul and Barnabas sealed to be a bishop and sent to his village in Cyprus, because there were many Greeks there. And we were entertained by him in a cave in a mountain, and there we remained one day' (Acts of Barnabas, Ante Nicene Library, vol. xvi).

St. Euodius, too, and St. Ignatius, each of whom afterwards became Bishop of Antioch - St. Euodius first and St. Ignatius afterwards - may have journeyed there at the time of this first persecution.

St. Lazarus is traditionally associated with the earliest mission to Cyprus. He is honoured there as its first missionary priest, and the chief church at Larnaca is dedicated to his memory.

His supposed tomb is also shown there, but this is empty, and none of his relics have been found in the island, nor is there any local record of his death.

On the other hand, his successor, St. Barnabas, is stated to have suffered martyrdom at Salamis, on the east coast of the island; and during the reign of Justinian his grave is said to have been opened and his body found, with a copy of the Gospel of St. Matthew lying on his breast. 6

The name of Phenice is open to two interpretations, and its exact meaning in the passage I have quoted is by no means certain. It may either refer to the old Phoenician district, 'the coasts of Tyre and Sidon' (though this in another portion of the Acts is called Phoenicia), or to the main seaport on the western side of Crete.

It is not of great importance, perhaps, to settle this point, as we know that men from Cyrene were preaching at Antioch, and Cyrene was at this time united to Crete in order to form the Roman province of 'the Cyrenaciae'.

In any case, the scattering of these disciples would necessarily give them such an experience of distant travel as would almost inevitably prepare the way for further enterprise and more distant journeys in later years.

In Crete the name of the Church of St. Paul and the ruins of the cathedral of St. Titus traditionally connect the island with the Apostolic Age, the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistle to Titus, but the names of the original missionaries or evangelists have been forgotten. Both Crete and Cyrene had a large Jewish population, and Cyrene was famous for its medical school and learning.

The importance of Crete lay in the fact that its seaports formed at this time the great resting-places or ports of call between east and west, being about equally distant from Rome and Marseilles on the west as from Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch on the east, and the establishment of a Christian Mission on the island could not fail to spread the knowledge of Christianity to Rome, and even beyond it. The tide of commerce, the tide of culture and learning, the passing and repassing of military troops would all profoundly affect and be affected by the civilization of the Cretan seaports, and if we desire to form in our minds a correct impression of early Christianity it is well fully to recognize the part played by this advanced outpost of Christian Missions in the very earliest times.

Not, perhaps, that the island itself or its more permanent inhabi-


6 Cyprus, F. V. Lower. In the Acts of Barnabas we read of the copy of St. Matthew's writings which Barnabas carried with him.

What was the further history of the missionary journey of St. Barnabas and St. Mark when they went to Cyprus after parting with St. Paul? (Acts 15:39). The legends of St. Mark are strongly suggestive of a western course, but unconnected with the travels of St. Paul.


tants counted for much. Like all countries and districts used mainly as ports of call, and therefore possessing a shifting population, Crete had a bad reputation. Some years later, when St. Paul was writing to Titus, he felt constrained to use towards the Cretans some of the severest language to be found in any of his Epistles. Notwithstanding this, however, the ports of Phenice and the Fair Havens were of just as much value to Christianity as to commerce, being for both the chief halfway shelters across the great sea, from which one could as easily ship to Massilia (Marseilles) as to Caesarea in Palestine.

The great merchants of Tyre and Sidon and of Jerusalem and Caesarea would have their vessels continually calling at these ports; and if, as many have supposed, and as the old Cornish legend has it (see p. 144), St. Joseph of Arimathea was one of these merchant princes who had interests in far countries, his own ships may have been trading to Crete, and even beyond it.

The endeavour to trace the beginning of the Christian Church at Rome forms an interesting study. We have evidence of Christian interest and Christian knowledge reaching back to the very earliest times, but it is hardly likely that the disciples and catechumens residing in the city were consolidated into a definite Church until some years later. Some Roman residents, as we are told in the Acts of the Apostles, had listened to St. Peter on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, and had been witnesses of the extraordinary effects attending the preaching of the Apostles (Acts 2 :10). These, on their return, could not fail to talk to others of all that they had heard and seen; many would wish for fuller knowledge and teaching, and it is not unlikely that some of the older disciples would be asked to take up their residence in Rome and to minister to those who were already turning away from heathendom or Judaism and fixing their hope on Christ as their Saviour and Messiah.

Whether it was at the time of St. Stephen's martyrdom or even before this (as we shall see) that the fuller news of the Gospel was carried to Rome, it was evidently, I think, by the same band of workers, namely, Hebrews who were not of the number of the 'Twelve', and yet Hebrews who had companied with the Lord Jesus during most of His ministry. 7

In St. Paul's letter to the Romans, written before he himself


7 The growth of the Church in Rome, naturally unnoticed by the non-Christian writers, who regarded the sect as beneath contempt, and by the Christian historian as it was unconnected with the work of any of the Apostles, was yet so rapid that the great persecution of a.d. 64 claimed very many victims in the city (Life and Principate of Nero, Henderson, p. 344).


visited Rome, but some twenty years after the time of which I am writing, when a large and important Church had been already formed there (as evinced by his numerous salutations), two names stand out conspicuously:

'Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, and who were in Christ before me.'

They were 'kinsmen', therefore Hebrews, and almost necessarily Hebrews living under assumed names; for Andronicus and Junia are too distinctively non-Hebraic to have been the original names of Hebrew children. The names were probably rightly chosen by these disciples as less likely to attract hostile notice, as more familiar to the people among whom they were living and, perhaps, as not unlike, either in sound or suggestion, to the original Hebrew names first given to them. These kinsmen are also called Apostles by St Paul, and not only so, but 'of note among the apostles'. This can hardly mean anything else than that they were noted disciples of Jesus during His earthly ministry.

The Greek word translated kinsmen has no necessary reference to men as distinct from women, and may be applied equally to both sexes. The name 'Junia' has a distinctive feminine terminology; and though it is by no means necessary to take this as the proper name (a possible masculine alternative being Junias), it is the reading which has been accepted by most translators. 8

Now, the only women in the Gospels to whom such a description as that of St. Paul could apply, and whose Aramaic name bears sufficient resemblance to the Latin name in the Epistle, is Joanna, for which name there was at this date no perfect Latin equivalent. Joanna followed the Lord from Capernaum throughout the whole course of His ministry; she was present at the sepulchre with Mary Magdalene, and it is not so very improbable that she and her son( ?) 9 may have been pioneers of Christian life and work in Rome. In any case, we have the fact recorded that noted disciples of our Lord, who were already disciples when St. Paul was converted, were


8. St. Chrysostom writes: 'And indeed to be apostles at all is a great thing, but to be among those of note! Consider what great praise this is. Oh! how great is the devotion of this woman, that she should be counted worthy of the appellation of apostle!'

9. Note that 'Rufus' is mentioned before his mother in a later verse. The household of Chuza, as forming part of the greater household of Herod Antipas, would, if still living in Galilee, naturally accompany Herod on his second journey to Rome, in a.d. 39, and would probably remain in Rome after the banishment of Herod. If, as already suggested, Herod's steward originally came from Rome, the probability of the return of this household would be increased (p. 7).


working at Rome before St. Paul had visited the city. These must almost necessarily have been of those who were 'scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen'.

In all these places - Antioch, Cyprus, the Cyrenaciae and Rome -the first evangelization was apparently accomplished by missionary disciples who were not of the 'number of the Twelve'. St. Peter and St. Paul took up their work, organized the believers into definite Churches, with Church discipline and government, and appointed bishops to rule over them. In this way St. Barnabas was appointed bishop of Cyprus and St. Titus first bishop of Crete. In all these cases, however, and probably in many others of which we are ignorant, the constructive work of the Apostles followed the evangelistic work of other disciples.

If we gather up all the information given us in the New Testament regarding these early missionary efforts and the circumstances attending them, certain conclusions may, I think, be fairly drawn, which, for clearness' sake, I will venture to tabulate.

1. Many of the earliest missionaries went westward to the Phoenician colonies. Most, if not all, of the Apostles remained for a considerable time in the East and chiefly at Jerusalem.

2. Among these early missionaries of Christ one would certainly expect to find, and one does find to some extent, those who were conspicuous by their attachment to the Saviour in the Gospels.

3. The work done by these missionaries and their successors was primarily among the Jews and Phoenicians of the Mediterranean colonies, and then extended into all parts of the Roman Empire, so that St. Paul some years later (c. 64 ?) was able to speak of 'the truth of the gospel which is come to you as it is in all the world' {Col. 1:5,6).

4. St. Peter and St. Paul, who were essentially the chief Apostles of the West, took up and organized much of the work of the first enthuisasts and pioneers, in many cases appointing bishops and establishing settled Church order and government, in other cases leaving the natural extension of the Church to the future and to their successors.

5. The chief port from which these missions started was Caesarea, and the local head or 'organizing secretary', from whom the missionaries went and to whom they returned, appears to have been St. Philip the Evangelist, who settled at Caesarea, and evidently helped the early Christians on their journeys.

So far we have kept almost entirely to New Testament authority - that of St. Paul and St. Luke; but there are traditions, monuments, and even histories, which may carry us further.

The Recognitions of Clement, purporting to have been originlly written by him in the first century; the Acts of Barnabas, which has strong claims to be considered both genuine and reliable; the Life of St. Mary Magdalene and St. Martha, purporting to have been compiled from then existing documents, by Rabanus in the eighth century; and several traditions, Sicilian, Venetian, Provencal, Spanish, Cornish, British, or Welsh, English, and even Greek, contain references to the origin of early Western Christianity, which are at all events worthy of consideration, and have this one great feature in common: the reputed coming of Hebrew disciples of our Lord into the farthest regions of the West in the very earliest years of Christendom.

Now, it is worthy of note that this is very much more consonant with the earliest historical writings than is generally supposed. St. Paul, who was by no means a careless or extravagant or ignorant writer, speaks (as we have already seen) of 'the truth of the gospel which is come unto you as it is in all the world' {Col. 1 15, 6), and doubtless meant what he was writing. He might, perhaps, use the expression 'all the world' as synonymous with the Roman Empire, but any definite part of this world would not be excluded by him.

Eusebius, the historian, writes of Tiberius Caesar as the Emperor under whom the name of Christ was spread throughout the world (bk. ii, c. ii); and Tertullian, in his writings (c. A.D. 200, see Appendix) which contain the earliest definite references to Christianity in Spain and Germany and England, speaks of the 'farthest ends of Spain' - of The diverse nations of the Gauls' - and of the secret strongholds of the Britons 'inaccessible to the Romans', as all being at this date won for Christ.

This is very much more in accordance with the theory of a much later growth.

Let us accordingly consider some of these legends or traditions which deal with the work of the first century of Christendom.

It will be noticed on reading the earlier chapters of the Acts of the Apostles that there is an almost unaccountable absence of the name of St. James the Greater from the company of his fellow-Apostles, St. Peter and St. John, and we read nothing of him until the brief account of his martyrdom when 'Herod the King ,. . killed James the brother of John with the sword' {Acts 12 :1, 2). This is said to have taken place in A.D. 44. Where was St. James, and whatwas he doing during the ten preceding years of unrecorded labour?

St. James waited in Jerusalem, as he had been directed, until the first day of Pentecost (Acts 1 13), but from this day until that of his death any notice of his life is wanting from the records of the Bible.

St. Peter and St. John were together at Jerusalem during the years immediately following, but nowhere do we read of the presence of St. James with them. This is remarkable, because he had been constantly with them before this. Sole sharer with them of the special revelation on the Mount of Transfiguration, sole sharer with them, again, of the final conversation in the Garden of Gethsemane, his absence from their company afterwards, and especially when 'Peter and John went up together into the Temple at the hour of prayer' (Acts 3 :1), needs emphatically some explanation. The only possible conclusion is, that their constant companion in the older days must have been absent from Jerusalem.

Now, there are some very old traditions, reaching back to the earliest centuries, which, if accepted, thoroughly explain this phenomenal silence regarding one of the chief of the Apostles.

In these St. James is represented as a distant traveller in the West in the very earliest years after Christ, and as a missionary pioneer in Sardinia and in Spain.

These traditions about St. James are so old and so definite, however improbable they may appear to be, that I make no apology for reproducing their more prominent features. They represent the Apostle as coming from the East and preaching the Gospel both in Sardinia and in Spain; as then returning to Jerusalem for the keeping of the Passover Festival or Easter at Jerusalem, and as suffering martyrdom during this visit to the Church and to his friends in Palestine.

His body is reputed to have been taken care of and brought from Palestine to Spain by loving disciples, who buried him in Spanish ground among the people to whom he had first preached the Gospel of the Kingdom.

A fact mentioned by contemporaneous historians - both Tacitus and Josephus - makes this mission antecedently more probable than it appears to be at first sight.

About A.D. 19 we are told by Tacitus (Annals, vol. ii, c. 85) that 4,000 youths, 'affected by the Jewish and Egyptian superstitions', were transported from Italy to Sardinia. These are spoken of as '4,000 Jews' by Josephus (Antiquities, bk. xviii, cap. 3), and it is evident that their banishment and forcible enlistment (for they were used as soldiers in Sardinia) made a profound impression on the Jews in Palestine.

Some have supposed that these banished Jews were already believers in Christ or followers of the teaching of St. John the Baptist. This is hardly probable; but it is quite possible that many of them may have been old followers of Judas the Galilean (Acts 5:37), who had been living as prisoners in Rome during all the succeeding years. If so, they, or the families from which they came, would be personally known to 'James and John'. They would indeed be 'lost sheep of the House of Israel', and would have a special and urgent claim on the sympathy of the great Apostle.

The active belief in the legend or tradition of the Spanish mission of St. James appears to date from about A.D. 820 when the body of the Saint was 'discovered' by Theodosius, bishop of Tira. Around the reputed body of St. James there gradually grew the shrine, the cathedral, the city, and finally the pilgrimages of 'Santiago di Com-postella'. The original cathedral was consecrated in A.D. 899, and this was destroyed by the Moors under El Mansui in 997. The later cathedral was founded in 1078 on the site of the one which had been destroyed. But long before the supposed discovery-or rediscovery - of the body of St. James, we have evidence that the essentials of the tradition were held by Spanish inhabitants and Spanish writers. From immemorial times, or at least from a.d. 400, we find references to the tradition in old Spanish Offices. In the latter part of the next century or beginning of the seventh (about a.d. 600) there are three distinct references confirming the tradition of the preaching of St. James in Spain in the writings of Isidorus Hispalensis (vii, 390, 392 and 395; and v, 183), but this author writes of his body as having been buried in 'Marmarica' (Achaia). The tradition is again confirmed by St. Julian, who ruled the Church of Toledo in the seventh century (Acta Sanctorum, vol 33, p. 86), and by Freculphus, who wrote about A.D. 850 (bk. ii, cap. 4). The summing-up of the Bollandists in the Acta Sanctorum appears to be decidedly in favour of the thesis that the reputed Spanish mission of St. James is reliable and historical.

The next traditional mission claiming our attention is the mission to Sicily.

Only seven years after the crucifixion of our Lord, and therefore before the martyrdom of St. James, we find the traditional date of the introduction of Christianity into Sicily. St. Pancras and St. Martian are said to have been sent from Antioch by St. Peter.

St. Pancras came to Taormina and is generally recognized as its first bishop. A statue erected to his memory in 1691 stands upon the beach at Taormina, and the accompanying inscription chronicles the tradition that he was first bishop of all Sicily and ordained by St. Peter in A. D. 40.

St. Martian is specially associated with Syracuse.

A large subterranean chamber beneath the Church of San Giovanni marks the scene of his preaching and his labours, and here, it is said, St. Paul stayed three days after his shipwreck in Malta on his way to Rome (Acts 28:12).

Here, too, is the burial-place of the earliest Christians. Mr. F. Marion Crawford writes of this: "There is no city of the dead in all the world more solemn, more silent, or more suggestive of that peace which distinguishes Christian burial-places from all others. Corridor and chamber follow each other indefinitely, each vaulted hall surrounded by deep niches within which graves, deeper still, have been hollowed in the living rock. There are graves in the rocky floor, and to the right and left, and one above another in tiers to the spring of the solid vault; and we may go on and on, without end, mile after mile, through the unexplored silence. Some believe that the passages reach even to Catania, more than thirty miles away. There St. Martian lived and preached; and by the seashore, not far away, it is said he was put to death, not by heathens but by Jews, and that in the first place they laid him bound in a boat and put fire to it and pushed it from the shore, but that when they had seen that the fire had no power over him, they brought him to the beach again and strangled him' (The Rulers of the South, vol. i, pp. 357, 358).

Another writer (Capt. Smyth), who published an account of Sicily in 1824, speaks of primitive Christianity as having been already established in the island on the visit of St. Paul, and describes the Church of St. Martian as 'the earliest in Europe for Christian worship'. These accounts appear to have been taken from local traditions at the time of his visit (Sicily and its Island, London, John Murray, 1829).

It is worthy of note, too, that Chrestus, the bishop of Syracuse in 314, heads the list of signatures to the decisions of the Council of Aries (see Appendix G), apparently as bishop of the oldest Western see.

One of the oldest tales or narratives regarding the preaching of the Gospel in Rome is that contained in the important but somewhat neglected document called the 'Recognitions of Clement'.10 Supposed by man to be a romance, but dating from the second century (for its antiquity is undoubted), it is yet quite possible that the foundation of it rests on a real account by St. Clement, who was contemporary with the Apostles, mentioned by St. Paul (Phil. 4:3), and afterwards bishop of Rome. At all events, we know positively that this was the opinion of Rufinus, who translated the book in A.D. 410.

In it St. Clement tells of his first acquaintance with Christianity through the preaching of St. Bamabas in Rome. St. Barnabas is said to have been accompanied by others who had been personal witnesses of the miracles of our Saviour (Andronicus and Junia?). According to this account the mission of St. Barnabas to Rome must have taken place either before or shortly after the crucifixion, very possibly about the time of the conversion of Saul.

St. Clement is represented as following St. Barnabas to Caesarea and meeting there St. Peter, St. Zaccheus (the publican of the Gospels), St. Lazarus, St. Joseph, Nicodemus and others. The Holy Women are also mentioned incidentally. St. Peter and his fellow-disciples stay at Caesarea for the space of three months; the greater number of the men then accompany him in what appears to have been an historical journey from Caesarea to Antioch, wintering in Tripolis. Zaccheus is left as bishop of the Church at Caesarea, while Barnabas (presumably) goes on to his relatives in Jerusalem. At all events, he does not accompany the followers of St. Peter.

Supposing the narrative of Clement to be founded on fact, it may well have been at this time that the Church at Jerusalem sent St. Barnabas to Antioch and, if he went direct to his destination, St. Barnabas might have been teaching for nearly a year at Antioch before the arrival of St. Peter and his companions. The historical basis of the 'Recognitions' and 'Homilies' is certainly borne out by the Acts of the Apostles, by the writings of Eusebius and by tradition. The conflict of St. Peter and Simon Magus which bulks so largely in these books, the necessity for apostolic supervision at Antioch, the immediate departure of St. Barnabas, and the later leadership of St. Peter at Antioch, all follow and correspond in the different


10 Theological writers have treated the 'Recognitions' with scant courtesy, because it is said to be tainted with Ebionite errors and heresies. This, however, need not detract from its value as an historical document. 'Ebionite' or 'Jewish' Christianity dates from the very earliest times, and Josephus the historian is said to have been an Ebionite Christian. His testimony to the fact of the resurrection (Antiquities, 18), when considered side by side with the absence of any marked Christian enthusiasm in his writings, is very remarkable. Something similar to this is occasionally found in the 'Recognitions'.


narratives (see Appendix). The meeting of St. Peter with St. Paul at Antioch is also referred to incidentally in the Epistle to the Galatians (2:11).

The history of St. Mary and St. Martha, which has been preserved for us in the Magdalen College Library at Oxford, and which we shall consider in detail later on, appears to take up the history of some of these early disciples at a rather later stage. The Bethany family, St. Joseph of Arimathea and, according to some of the traditions, St. Zaccheus also, undertook a longer journey beyond Rome, as far as the neighbourhood of Massilia (the modern Marseilles). For the present it will suffice to note that this reputed mission appears to be only an extension, and a natural extension, of the great 'Propaganda' already begun by the authentic missions to Crete and Rome; that Salome, the mother of St. James, is said to have accompanied the mission; and that the time when these missions were undertaken, accOTcling both to history and tradition, appears to be fixed roughly by the martyrdom of St. Stephen and St. James, and therefore to be during the first ten years after the ascension of our Lord and between A.D. 34 and A.D. 44.11


11 Two other traditions of first-century Christian missions, but belonging to a slightly later period, demand some attention as also bearing on Western Christianity.

The first is the tradition of 'St. Maternus', and is connected with all the old country of the Treviri and Tungri beyond the Alps.

Here, and especially at Trier (or Treves), the Romans had formed important colonies some fifty years before the coming of Christ; and although, as in Britain, there were frequent uprisings against the power of Rome, the Romans maintained their supremacy for two hundred years or more.

Nowhere so far north are the Roman remains and ruins so rich, so fine, and so remarkable as they are in Treves today.

And the first Christian mission to Treves is represented as partly Roman and partly Hebrew, as corning direct from Rome by the authority of St. Peter, and in the course or channel of Roman colonization.

In some of these points it differs entirely from those we have been considering. The tradition also has other points of very considerable interest. It runs as follows:

Three Saints—Eucharius, Valerius and Matermrs—all of whom had been pupils of St. Peter at Rome, were sent by him to Trier to preach the gospel of Christ.

Eucharius was appointed as bishop, and Valerius and Maternus as his assistants. Maternus was of Hebrew birth, and came from the little town of Nain in Palestine, being 'the only son of his mother', whom Christ had raised from the dead. But no special honour was at this time accorded him. He was the least of the three missionary disciples, one of the 'personal witnesses' who, as long as they lived, accompanied the other evangelists in most of their distant journeys.

But though ready to take the lowest place among his Greek and Roman companions, Maternus appears to have been most active in his apostolic labours. For while all three—Eucharius, Valerius and Maternus—are associated with the foundation of the church at Trier and Cologne (the scene of their chief labours at Trier being a little outside the present city, on the site of the old St. Matthiaskirche), Maternus alone is represented as pushing forward and reaching the farthest settlement of Tongres, where he is said to have built a little church which he dedicated to the Blessed Virgin—the first church beyond the Alps dedicated to her name and memory ('Ecclesia Tungrensis prima cis Alpes beatae Mariae Virgini consecrata').

Maternus is accordingly reckoned as the first bishop of Tongres.

The probability that the evangelization of this district was undertaken by Hebrews and Romans conjointly is somewhat increased by the further tradition that Servatius, the tenth bishop in descent from Maternus, was himself not only of Hebrew descent, but claimed to be directly related to the families of St. John the Baptist and the Blessed Virgin.

The tradition of Maternus is one of very great antiquity, and appears to be accepted by those who may be regarded as authorities on the history of Trier.

In the chronological table appended to the_ Triersche Geschichte, Eucharius, Valerius and Maternus are represented as living in the time of Nero; and St. Agritius, who certainly occupied the see in a.d. 314, is placed as twenty-fifth in descent from St. Eucharius.

The Relics of St. Maternus are said to rest in the 'Dom'. The tombs of St. Eucharius and St. Valerius still remain in the little crypt of the St. Matthiaskirche.

The second tradition is the old Venetian tradition of St. Mark. One of the very oldest mission centres to the north of Italy was the ancient Dalmatian city of Aquileia (2 Tim. 4:10), the precursor of the later Venice; for when Aquileia was destroyed by Attila in 452 the inhabitants fled to the lagoons and founded there the earliest beginnings of the Queen of the Adriatic.

The tradition is that the first Church founded at Aquileia was visited by St. Mark, the historian of St. Peter and a fellow-worker with St. Paul, and that he gave to the church there a copy of the Gospel written by himself. This was one of the treasures of Aquileia so long as there was a cathedral there, and it has been said that the remains of the manuscript are still preserved in the treasury of St. Marco in Venice, but this appears to be doubtful.

'St. Mark, it is believed, stayed one or two years in Aquileia and then returned to Rome, going thence again to Alexandria, where martyrdom awaited him' (Early Hist, of Venice, Hodgson, p. 48).


Perhaps it may be well to consider the picture presented by these traditions and narratives as supplementing the New Testament history regarding the first ten years of Christendom. The earliest days after the first Pentecost are over. The day of power in Jerusalem, when 'fear came upon every soul', has been succeeded by a period of criticism, of suspicion, and finally by a time of serious persecution. St. James the Greater is absent on a difficult and distant mission. St. Barnabas is preaching in Rome, and is accompanied by others who have been eye-witnesses of our Saviour's ministry and miracles (Joanna, her son, and others). St. Stephen has been martyred, and all the other residents of Jerusalem who have been publicly known as followers of Jesus have been hunted out of the city. Some of these, including St. Luke and Simon the Cyrenean, have journeyed through Syro-Phoenicia to Antioch, preaching as they go; others have fled to Caesarea where, for the present, Roman toleration and the friendship of Cornelius are more powerful than Jewish hatred.

In Jerusalem itself most of the Apostles are still to be found residing in the house of St. Mark, upon the hill of Zion (though St. Peter is frequently absent on missionary journeys). With them, for a time, remains the Blessed Virgin.

Here are held the meetings for the breaking of bread and for special intercession, but all-from the beginning - have continued daily with one accord in the Temple; and although 'Peter and John' are well known as believers in the Christ, there is no very clear visible distinction between the devouter Jews and Christians.

At Caesarea we find (according to the 'Recognitions') St. Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, St. Lazarus, St. Zaccheus, and the 'Holy Women' - probably St. Salome, the mother of St. James, St. Mary, the wife of Cleopas, St. Martha and St. Mary Magdalene. Such appears to have been, so far as we can gather, the earliest disposition of the disciples after the persecution which arose about St. Stephen.

A little later changes take place. St. Zaccheus is appointed bishop of Caesarea by St. Peter. St. Lazarus and St. Joseph follow the latter to Antioch, and St. Lazarus is sent by St. Peter to Cyprus. Other missionary priests or bishops are also sent abroad from the Church at Antioch and, notably, those of the mission to Sicily. With the establishment of a definite Church at Syracuse, the tentative efforts to form some centre of Christian teaching in Rome itself gather strength and permanence and, finally, with the returning of Clement, accompanied by St. Peter from Antioch, the Church at Rome is fully established. During all this time the Holy Women and St. Zaccheus appear to have remained at Caesarea, and these are j'oined by St. Philip the deacon who, after preaching in Samaria, takes up his residence at Caesarea.

Still, somewhat later, we may reasonably imagine St. Joseph as returning, and the whole of this little company (but especially St. Salome, the mother of St. James), eagerly expecting - and rejoicing - in the return of the Greater St. James.

And then comes the bitter sorrow, the bereavement, and the second persecution occasioned by or accompanying St. James's martyrdom.

Up to this point all I have imagined and described may be fairly inferred from the very oldest writings and traditions, the antiquity of which few, if any, are disposed to question.

Beyond this - and this is the weak point of the Western legends -there is for some four or five hundred years a marked hiatus or silence in the records of any history bearing on these disciples and their labours.

Then about A.D. 600 (as we shall see) we find references to St. Philip as having carried the message of the Gospel not only into Gaul, but to the shores beyond it, and some two or three centuries later (A.D. 800-1000 and later) we find various local traditions, and even histories, both in France and Britain, which treat of the afterlife and labours in the West of some of the very disciples who (according to second or early third-century literature) lived at Caesarea after the Passion and Ascension of our Saviour - disciples who were of necessity associated with the work of St. Philip the Evangelist, and who are said to have been taught and prepared by St. Peter and St. Philip for such work as they are reputed to have afterwards undertaken.

There is evidently some relationship between these earlier and later histories which as yet no one has attempted to discover. Perhaps, if the intervening silence be not considered fatal to the claims of the later traditions, it may be accounted for by the fact the reputed mission does not profess to have been strictly apostolic, and that the Holy Women - rather than the men who accompanied them - are represented as its leaders.

Foremost among these is St. Mary Magdalene, one who for more than a thousand years now has been recognized and loved as belonging to the chief of the followers of Jesus Christ, but one who, at the beginning, was hardly, perhaps, considered worthy (save by Christ Himself) to receive the forgiveness, the love and the confidence of her Lord.

Have you ever thought of St. Mary Magdalene as an 'Apostle of Jesus' ? Those who had been named and known as Apostles of the Lord had been called to follow Him, and had been sent forth by Him to preach the Gospel of His Kingdom.

Like them she had been called and chosen, and followed Him through all His ministry. But had she no commission? What shall we say of those words which fell from the lips of Jesus on the resurrection morning ? He appeared 'first to Mary Magdalene' and as she fell down before Him, worshipping, and held His feet, we read, 'Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She . .. saith unto Him, Rabboni. Jesus saith unto her, Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and to your Father; and to my God, and vour God.'

A personal message from the Lord Himself so full and so direct could never be exhausted by one 'telling', and as the years went by, and the conception of the 'brethren of Jesus' widened, St. Mary, who had first carried the news of the resurrection to the eleven, would find her conception of the message itself increasing in meaning and in scope; and as St. Peter had already begun preaching Christ and the resurrection so, with a special claim, would St. Mary and her companions start upon their voyage; and, as it were, straight from the open sepulchre with the very words of the Blessed Saviour on her lips, in the way that even no one else could do, St. Mary would carry the great new message of Light and Life - 'Christ and the Resurrection' - from the East to the West, from the Old World to the New.

Certainly there is nothing very unlikely or far-fetched in the belief that St. Mary and St. Martha, St. Zaccheus and St. Joseph may have been of those who travelled Westward, 'preaching the Word'. The early persecutions came so soon after the crucifixion of our Saviour that very few besides those who had been personally identified in some way with His ministry would fall under the direct displeasure of the Jews, and who would incur this so certainly or, from their point of view, deserve it so richly as the family of Bethany, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, and the man 'born blind' ?

These were all old residents of Jerusalem or its vicinity, and their position as adherents of the new faith would be far more noticeable than that of the Apostles, who were Galilieans and comparatively unknown.