The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Apostle

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

APOSTLE (literally one sent out, from the Greek apostellein, to send out) and in the Christian Church the title given to the 12 men whom Jesus selected to attend Him during His ministry, witness His miracles, learn His doctrines and thus be able to promulgate His religion. Their names were Simon Peter and Andrew his brother; James the greater, and John his brother, who were sons of Zebedee; Philip of Bethsaida; Bartholomew; Thomas; Matthew; James, the son of Alpheus, commonly called James the less; Lebbeus, his brother, who was surnamed Thaddeus, and was called Judas or Jude; Simon the Canaanite; and Judas Iscariot. Of this number Simon Peter, John, James the greater and Andrew were fishermen; and Matthew a publican or tax-gatherer. When the apostles were reduced to 11 by the suicide of Judas, who had betrayed Christ, Matthias was chosen by lot on the proposition of Saint Peter. Soon after, their number became 13 by the miraculous vocation of Saul, who, under the name of Paul, became one of the most zealous propagators of the Christian faith. The Bible gives the name of apostle to Barnabas also, who accompanied Paul on his missions (Acts xiv, 14), and Paul seems to give it to Andronicus and Junia, his relations and companions in prison. Generally, however, the name is used in the narrower sense to designate those whom Christ selected himself while on earth, and Paul, whom he afterward called. In a wider sense those preachers who first taught Christianity in heathen countries are frequently termed Apostles; for example, Saint Denis, the apostle of the Gauls; Saint Boniface, the apostle of Germany; Saint Augustine, the apostle of England; the Jesuit Francis Xavier, the apostle of the Indies; Adalbert of Prague, apostle of Prussia proper. Tradition reports that several of the early apostles were married. The wife of Saint Peter is said to have accompanied him on his journeys, and died a martyr. The tradition further states that Saint Peter had a daughter Petronilla, who was also a martyr; this at least say Saint Augustine, Saint Epiphanius and Saint Clement of Alexandria. Saint Philip also is said to have been married and to have had several daughters, among whom was Saint Hermione. Hegesippus speaks of two martyrs, grandsons of Saint Jude. His wife was called Mary. Saint Bartholomew is also said to have been married. Their history is largely a matter of tradition, save as it is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.