Monday, June 29, 2009

Peter and Paul in Antioch

The following is from the history of the patriarchs of Antioch entitled "al-haqaiq al-wafiya fi tarikh batarikat al-kanisa al-antakiyya", written in the second half of the 18th century by a priest from Damascus by the name of Mikhail Burayk. (ed. Naila Taqi ed-Din Qaidbeyh, Beirut: Dar an-Nahar, 2006). Though, in fact, sources for the first half of this work all go back to notes taken by the illustrious patriarch Makarios ibn al-Za'im (d. 1648). It recounts certain local traditions about Saints Peter and Paul and their activity in Antioch. In the future, I hope to translate further passages from Burayk's history.

[After each of the apostles draws lots for various lands] The Apostle Peter drew his lot for our country. After that, he went out from Jerusalem and came to Caesaerea of Palestine and made disciples of its people and he ordained Zakka the tax-collector its first bishop. He went from there to Tyre and Sidon and did likewise. Then he came to Beirut and ordained Quartus, one of the seventy apostles, as its first bishop. He did likewise in Jbeil and ordained Mark, who is called John, as its bishop. He did likewise in Enfeh and Batroun and ordained Maraton, who is also called Mawrani, as the first of its bishops. He did likewise in all the rest of this country and he ordained Luke-- not the Evangelist Luke-- as bishop of Lattakieh of Syria. He went from there to Antioch and he stayed there for a long time, preaching Christ and baptizing many of them.
Finally, two years after Christ was crucified, Paul believed in Him and went to Antioch and met with the Apostle Peter. The Apostle Peter worked countless wonders since he healed all who had an illness from any kind of malady. At that time, the ruler of Antioch was an old man who had an elderly wife. They had a young son named Cassianus, who had died fifteen years earlier. They had buried him and built over his grave a large dome. They had no other son besides him. When they heard and they saw the wonders that the Apostle Peter was doing they pleaded to him to bring their son to life by the divine power of Christ. If he did this, they would all believe in Christ with all the people of Antioch and the rest of the surrounding country.
When the Apostle went to the grave of their son Cassianus and opened it, removing the stone which had been on top of it, there were only bare bones left. When the Apostle Peter prayed with Paul and they pleaded to the Lord, He brought him to life by His power and he rose from the grave. His parents were shocked, and he told them about how he had seen unbelievers in a dark place and how when the two apostles pleaded to the Lord for him, He brought him to life. At that moment they all believed in Christ. Paul scratched the ground with his foot and asked the Lord, and then a spring of water gushed forth there. The two apostles baptized all the people of Antioch and the rest of its region in it and they became Christians. The aforementioned spring remains until now and it is named after the Apostle Paul.
Peter lingered in Antioch and many churches were built there. Of all of them, the great patriarchal church is named after the aforementioned Cassianus whom the apostle had raised. The Apostle Peter made for himself a seat of palm-wood in this church. Later, the kings of the Romans covered it with silver. In this church was the holy staff which the Lord Christ handed to Peter after He rose from the dead, when He said to him, "pastor My sheep, pastor my flock." This staff worked many wonders in Antioch.
Peter lingered in antioch twelve years. He would ordain bishops and send them to evangelize all the world. Then, the angel of the Lord appeard to him and commanded him to go and circle the lands of the west and enlighten that region. The Apostle ordained Euodius, one of the seventy, as its first bishop. He went from there to Italy and Spain and the rest of those parts and made disciples of their people. He came to Alexandria and ordained the Evangelist Mark, who was his spiritual son, as its patriarch. He then went to Rome and continued evangelizing for thirty-four years after the ascension of the Lord Christ to heaven. Twelve of these years were in Antioch and twenty-two in evangelizing [elsewhere]. When he became determined to seek martyrdom in Rome, he ordained his disciple Clement as its patriarch. Then the emperor Nero crucified him upside down, as he himself demanded.


Dn. Lucas said...


Is there anything in these histories regarding St. Luke the Evangelist?

Thank you for your work on this new blog.

the sinner,
SubDn. Lucas

Samn! said...

Hi SubDn Lucas,

In this particular history, I haven't seen anything in particular about the Evangelist Luke, but it's also a fairly regionally-specific work.. If I run into anything, though, I'll try and post it.



Dn. Lucas said...

Ah well. I know the tradition is that he hailed from Antioch, but it may be that he did not hang around.