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Home > Fathers of the Church > Acts of Peter and Andrew (Apocryphal)

The Acts of Peter and Andrew

From a Bodleian manuscript.

It came to pass when Andrew the apostle of Christ went forth from the city of the man-eaters, behold a luminous cloud snatched him up, and carried him away to the mountain where Peter and Matthew and Alexander were sitting. And when he saw them, they saluted him with great joy. Then Peter says to him: What has happened to you, brother Andrew? Have you sown the word of truth in the country of the man-eaters or not? Andrew says to him: Yes, father Peter, through your prayers; but the men of that city have done me many mischiefs, for they dragged me through their street three days, so that my blood stained the whole street. Peter says to him: Be a man in the Lord, brother Andrew, and come hither, and rest from your labour. For if the good husbandman laboriously till the ground, it will also bear fruit, and straightway all his toil will be turned into joy; but if he toil, and his land bring forth no fruit, he has double toil.

And while he was thus speaking, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to them in the form of a child, and said to them: Hail, Peter, bishop of the whole of my Church! Hail, Andrew! My co-heirs, be courageous, and struggle for mankind; for verily I say unto you, you shall endure toils in this world for mankind. But be bold; I will give you rest in one hour of repose in the kingdom of my Father. Arise, then, and go into the city of the barbarians, and preach in it; and I will be with you in the wonders that shall happen in it by your hands. And the Lord Jesus, after saluting them, went up into the heavens in glory.

And Peter, and Andrew, and Alexander, and Rufus, and Matthias, went into the city of the barbarians. And after they had come near the city, Andrew answered and said to Peter: Father Peter, have we again to undergo toils in this city, as in the country of the man-eaters? Peter says to him: I do not know. But, behold, there is an old man before us sowing in his field: if we go up to him, let us say to him, Give us bread; and if he give us bread, we may know that we are not to suffer in this city; but if he say to us, We have no bread, on the other hand, we shall know that suffering again awaits us. And when they came up to the old man, Peter says to him: Hail, farmer! And the farmer says to them: Hail you too, merchants! Peter says to him: Have you bread to give to these children, for we have been in want? The old man says to them: Wait a little, and look after the oxen, and the plough, and the land, that I may go into the city, and get you loaves. Peter says to him: If you provide hospitality for us, we shall took after the cattle and the field. The old man says: So be it. Peter says to him: Are the oxen your own? The old man says: No; I have them on hire. Peter says to him: Go into the city. And the old man went into the city. And Peter arose, and girded up his cloak and his under-garment, and says to Andrew: It is not right for us to rest and be idle; above all, when the old man is working for us, having left his own work. Then Peter took hold of the plough, and sowed the wheat. And Andrew was behind the oxen, and says to Peter: Father Peter, why do you bring toil upon us, especially when we have work enough already! Then Andrew took the plough out of Peter's hand, and sowed the wheat, saying: O seed cast into the ground in the field of the righteous, come up, and come to the light. Let the young men of the city therefore come forth, whom I found in the pit of destruction until today; for, behold, the apostles of Christ are coming into the city, pardoning the sins of those who believe in them, and healing every disease, and every sickness. Pray ye for me, that He may have mercy upon me, and that I may be delivered from this strait.

And many of the multitude believed in Christ, because of the saying of the woman; and they fell at the feet of the apostles, and adored them. And they laid their hands upon them. And they healed those in the city that were sick, and gave sight to the blind and, hearing to the deaf, and drove out the demons. All the multitude glorified the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

And there was a certain rich man in the city, by name Onesiphorus. He, having seen the miracles done by the apostles, says to them: If I believe in your God, can I also do a miracle like you? Andrew says to him: If you will forsake all that belongs to you, and your wife and your children, as we also have done, then thou also shall do miracles. When Onesiphorus heard this, he was filled with rage, and took his scarf and threw it over Andrew's neck, and struck him, and said to him: You are a sorcerer. How do you force me to abandon my wife, and my children, and my goods? Then Peter, having turned and seen him striking Andrew, says to him: Man, stop now striking Andrew. Onesiphorus says to him: I see that you are more sensible than he. Do thou then tell me to leave my wife, and my children, and my goods. What do you say? Peter says to him: One thing I say unto you: it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to go into the kingdom of heaven. When Onesiphorus heard this, he was even more filled with rage and anger, and took his scarf off the neck of Andrew, and threw it upon the neck of Peter; and so he dragged him along, saying: Verily you are a great sorcerer, more than the other; for a camel cannot go through the eye of a needle. But if you wilt show me this miracle, I will believe in your God; and not only I, but also the whole city. But if not, you shall be grievously punished in the midst of the city. And when Peter heard this, he was exceedingly grieved, and stood and stretched forth his hands towards heaven, and prayed, saying: O Lord our God, listen to me at this time; for they will ensnare us from Your own words: for no prophet has spoken to set forth this his explanation, and no patriarch that we might learn the interpretation of it; and now we seek for ourselves the explanation with boldness. Do not then, Lord, overlook us: for you are He who is praised by the cherubim.

And after he had said this, the Saviour appeared in the form of a child of twelve years old, wearing a linen garment; and He says to them: Be courageous, and tremble not, my chosen disciples; for I am with you always. Let the needle and the camel be brought. And after saying this, He went up into the heavens. And there was a certain merchant in the city who had believed in the Lord through the Apostle Philip; and when he heard of this, he ran and searched for a needle with a big eye, to do a favour to the apostles. When Peter learned this, he said: My son, do not search for a big needle; for nothing is impossible with God: rather bring us a small needle. And after the needle had been brought, and all the multitude of the city were standing by to see, Peter looked up and saw a camel coming. And he ordered her to be brought. Then he fixed the needle in the ground, and cried out with a loud voice, saying: In the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, I order you, O camel, to go through the eye of the needle. Then the eye of the needle was opened like a gate, and the camel went through it, and all the multitude saw it. Again Peter says to the camel: Go again through the needle. And the camel went a second time. When Onesiphorus saw this, he said to Peter; Truly you are a great sorcerer; but I do not believe unless I send and bring a camel and a needle. And he called one of his servants, and said to him privately: Go and bring me here a camel and a needle; find also a polluted woman, and force her to come here: for these men are sorcerers. And Peter having learned the mystery through the Spirit, says to Onesiphorus: Send and bring the camel, and the woman, and the needle. And when they brought them, Peter took the needle, and fixed it in the ground. And the woman was sitting on the camel. Then Peter says: In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ the crucified, I order you, O camel, to go through this needle. And immediately the eye of the needle was opened, and became like a gate, and the camel went through it. Peter again says to the camel: Go through it again, that all may see the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, in order that some may believe in Him. Then the camel again went through the needle. And Onesiphorus seeing it, cried out, and said: Truly great is the God of Peter and Andrew, and I from this time forth believe in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now then, hear my words, O Peter. I have grain lands, vineyards, and fields; I have also twenty-seven pounds of gold, and fifty pounds of silver; and I have very many slaves. I give my possessions to the poor, that I also may do one miracle like you. And Peter was grieved lest the powers should not work in him, seeing that he had not received the seal in Christ. And while he was considering this, behold, a voice out of the heaven saying to him: Do to him what he wishes, because I will accomplish for him what he desires. Peter says to him: My son, come hither; do as we do. And Onesiphorus came up, and stood before the camel and the needle, and said: In the n . . . The manuscript abruptly ends here

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Source. Translated by Alexander Walker. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0821.htm>.

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