Twelve Apostles of Jesus

Who are the twelve apostles?

The original twelve disciples/apostles are mentioned in Matthew 10:2-4:

  1. Peter (Simon Peter)
  2. Andreas (brother of Simon Peter)
  3. Bartholomew
  4. Philip
  5. James (the Less, son of Alphaeus)
  6. James (the Greater, son of Zebedee, brother of John)
  7. John (son of Zebedee, brother of James the Greater)
  8. Judas Thaddeus (also called Judas Lebbeus, brother of James the Less)
  9. Matthew
  10. Simon Zeloot (the Zealot or the Zealot)
  11. Thomas 
  12. Judas Iskariot

After Judas betrayed Jesus, he committed suicide. The remaining eleven apostles appoint Mattias as successor to Judas (Acts 1:20-26), with whom the twelve are again complete.

Not all Bible scholars agree with this and see Mattias as an 'invalid' member of the twelve and believe that in his place Paul was God's choice to replace Judas Iscariot as the twelfth apostle.

This is how the 12 apostles died

It is the season of suffering, during which we reflect on the suffering and death of Jesus. Often little or no attention is paid to the suffering of the 12 apostles and Paul. According to legend, almost all of them died brutally.

We list them here:

  • Peter: suffered crucifixion according to most sources. He was said to have been crucified with his head down because he did not want to die in the same way as Jesus Christ.
  • Andreas: would have died on an x-shaped cross. Just like Peter, he did not want to be crucified in the 'normal' way.
  • Paul: Died by the sword in Rome. Paul was God's choice to replace Judas Iscariot as the twelfth apostle.
  • Bartholomew is said to have died after being abused, flayed, crucified upside down and beheaded.
  • Philip: said to have been killed in Hierapolis, modern-day Turkey.
  • James the Greater: was beheaded by Herod. According to tradition, he was beheaded. His bones are said to be buried in Santiago de Compostela.
  • James the Less was thrown from the roof of the Temple of Jerusalem by order of the Scribes and Pharisees and beaten to death with a piece of wood.
  • Matthias: according to tradition, he was stoned in Jerusalem.
  • Thomas: worked in India and was fiercely opposed to idolatry. Idol priests then had him killed. He was said to have been tortured on hot plates, after which he was thrown into a furnace, after which he was also stabbed.
  • Mattheus: was active in Ethiopia. Was beheaded by a king who had little interest in the Gospel.
  • Judas Thaddeus: not to be confused with the other Judas (Iscariot) who betrayed Jesus: died a martyr's death in Persia.
  • Simon Zelotes: martyred in Persia.