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Acts of ps.Linus - Passio Petri (2012)


Ps.-Linus, Martyrdom of the Blessed Apostle Peter
(Martyrium beati Petri apostoli a Lino conscriptum)

[Translated by Andrew Eastbourne]

TEXT

Lipsius, R. A. (ed.) Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha, part 1, pp. 1-22.  Leipzig, 1891.

Salonius, A. H. (ed.)  Martyrium beati Petri.  Helsingfors, 1926.

Zwierlein, Otto.  Petrus in Rom:  Die literarische Zeugnisse.  2nd ed.  Berlin, 2010.

 

OTHER BIBLIOGRAPHY

De Santos Otero, A.  "Later Acts of Apostles."  In E. Hennecke and W. Schneemelcher (eds.), New Testament Apocrypha, vol. 2:  Writings Relating to the Apostles; Apocalypses and Related Subjects, rev. ed., ET ed. R. McL. Wilson.  Louisville / London, 1992.  [On pp. 436-7, "Martyrium Petri (Ps. Linus)"—the text is described as "simply a Roman revision of the ancient Acts of Peter closely connected with the Greek Martyrium Petri"; de Santos Otero notes dependence of later texts (Acts of Nereus and Achilles; Ps.-Abdias; Ps.-Hegesippus) on Ps.-Linus, making the 5th century the likely provenance.

Nordmeyer, G.  "Der Tod Neros in der Legende."  In Festschrift des Königl. Gymnasium Adolfinum zu Mörs zur Feier der Einweihung des neuen Schulgebäudes am 12. Mai 1896.  Mörs, 1896.

Thomas, Christine M.  The Acts of Peter, Gospel Literature, and the Ancient Novel:  Rewriting the Past.    Oxford, 2003.

Vouaux, L. (ed., tr., comm.)  Les Actes de Pierre.  Les Apocryphes du Nouveau Testament.  Paris, 1922. [Prints the Greek text of the martyrdom of Peter (pp. 398-467), with apparatus comparing different versions including Ps.-Linus.]

The text appears to be based on the Acts of Peter, which is known primarily in a Latin version (the so-called Actus Vercellenses)and, for the martyrdom itself, in Greek.  In the translation that follows, I have indicated places where the Latin text of Ps.-Linus corresponds verbally to the Greek Martyrium [underlined] and with the Actus Vercellenses [boldface].  The Greek text is translated in Hennecke-Schneemelcher, New Testament Apocrypha (rev.), 2: 311-17 (see 2: 321 n. 153).

***

[p. 1]

 

[1] It was after many and multifarious examples of the path and way of life of salvation, and extraordinary and famous displays of miracles, adverse (or rather diverse) contests[1] in the name of the true Christ, against Simon Magus or the other very numerous preachers of the Antichrist; after the harshness too of numerous sufferings and lashes, and the frightful filth of prisons; while the blessed Peter was rejoicing in the Lord and giving thanks both night and day with the brethren, in[2] the crowd of those who were coming to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ—Peter, focused on prayer and teaching and the other duties of piety toward God, was urging those who believed in Christ to [p. 2] conduct themselves chastely and with self-control.  For the city, placed at the head of the world with very great abundance and pre-eminence, had mentally raised itself to a haughty arrogance and therefore (as usually happens where there is opulence and lazy security) was dominated by disgraceful dissoluteness.  For indeed, very frequently, where there is arrogance of mind, outrage of the flesh follows.  Hence, it happened that because of the blessed Peter's sermons a great love of purity was kindled in many powerful or noble women of various ages, to such a degree that even numerous Roman matrons were carefully keeping both their hearts and bodies pure from intercourse in a husband's bed, as far as it was in their power.[3]

[2] But as the time was now approaching when the faith of the blessed Apostle, and his labors, were to be rewarded, the one coming before the "head of destruction,"[4] that is, the Antichrist Nero, the perfection of iniquity, ordered him to be confined and bound with chains in the filthiest prison.  There, he began to be visited by the four concubines of the prefect Agrippa, whose names were Agrippina, Eucharia, Euphemia and Dionis.[5]  Hearing from him the preaching of chastity and all the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ, they languished and were troubled in Agrippa's bed.[6]  Hence, devoting themselves to chastity, they entered a deliberate agreement with each other; having been strengthened by the Lord Jesus Christ, they determined not to agree to sleep with him obediently any longer.  As these same women withdrew not only [p. 3] from embracing Agrippa but even from any kind of intimacy with him, he began to be offended and dejected about this; and sending diligent and skillful spies, he learned that they were very zealously bursting forth to [visit] the blessed Peter.  When this was reported to him, he spoke, seized by the most violent madness of love:  "I know where you have come from.  That Christian has taught you not to have relations with me and to withdraw from the bed to which you are bound.  But I am certain that he will not be able to weaken your love for me by means of his magic arts."  Although he tried to cajole them by many flatteries, they did not acquiesce to his amatory speech or regard the heat of his passion with an attentive eye, because they had been firmly established by the Apostle's words.  The prefect Agrippa, however, seeing that because they were following Peter's teaching they unanimously scorned his lust and refused to go along with his flatteries, began to direct horrifying threats at them, swearing that he would consume them alive with fire and, after torturing Peter with the harshest punishments, would cause him to perish from the memory of all men under heaven.  But he was never able to make them bend to the defilement of intercourse; they said that it was more pleasing to them to submit to any torments for the sake of purity than to reject Christ, to whom they had vowed their chastity.  And so Agrippa the prefect was very enraged against the Apostle, and gnashed his teeth over him, as he tried to find an opportunity when he would be able to kill him as though for a good reason. [p. 4]

[3] Meanwhile, [a woman] named Xandips,[7] the wife of Albinus, a very close friend of the emperor, came to Peter with very many of the noblest matrons.  Hearing talk from him about the life of chastity, she rejected not only her marriage relation with her husband, but also all the delights of this life.  And so Albinus, in the grip of great sadness, was threatening to afflict Peter with many torments, while he attempted, by means of injurious words and then by means of allurements, to turn his wife Xandips away from the struggle she had undertaken.  Sending word to Agrippa the prefect, who was joined to him in friendship, he related to him all that he was enduring from his wife at the instigation of Peter, begging that if he was his true and faithful friend, he would take vengeance on Peter for himotherwise he would avenge himselfAgrippa likewise sent him a message to the effect that he himself was suffering the same things—indeed still harsher things—from him [i.e., Peter].  Hence, it happened that when Albinus went to bed and had caused Xandips to be brought to him, and had not been able to convince her by flattery or fear to have intercourse with him for his enjoyment, he began to consider how he could, with Agrippa's cooperation, catch Peter in a snare like a bird, and put him to death as a sorcerer.  But when Xandips, Albinus' wife, heard this, she sent a most faithful messenger to Peter, telling him to leave Rome and get away from this near-inescapable plot.  In the same fashion, she revealed the conspiracy of her husband and the prefect Agrippa to Marcellus, the prefect Marcus' son, who after turning away from the noxious teachings of Simon Magus had attached himself to the Apostle faithfully and beneficially in all things, [p. 5] and [she revealed it] to the brethren also.[8] 

The next day also, some of the senators got up in the meeting of the Senate and said:  "Noble men, we report to your distinguished persons that Peter, for the subversion of the eternal city, is dissolving marriages by divorce, is separating our wives from us, and is introducing for us some sort of strange and unheard-of law."  And by saying this, they also spurred on others to disorder and name-calling.[9]  Then Agrippa was gratified, because he had found what he wanted regarding Peter with the Senate as his pretext.[10]  But this too was not hidden from Peter and the brethren—indeed, those of the senators who had been illuminated by the Lord through Peter had made this known to them by a swift message.

[4] For this reason, Marcellus and the brethren begged Peter to depart.  But Peter said:  "It is not right, brethren and children, to flee from sufferings on account of Christ the Lord, since he himself willingly submitted to death on behalf of our salvation."  Marcellus, however, and the brethren said with great lamentation:  "Have pity, merciful father, on the youths and on those who are untrained in the faith.  Do not leave us and them deserted in the midst of the tempests of the unbelievers."  Then Peter said to those who were asking [him this]:  "You are arguing that flight is necessary—you are persuading me to strike fear of suffering into the hearts of the youths and the weak by my example, whereas we ought to be proclaiming the word of God with constancy and preserving the holy foundations of chastity which we have laid.  You think flight is necessary in order to avoid death—but we long for death with copious sighs and groans, as the entryway of life, and furthermore, by means of death we ought to glorify the Lord, in keeping with the revelation [we have received] about that [eternal life]."[11]  The brethren, however, hearing this, [p. 6] raised a lamentation, saying:  "Most truthful father, where are those words whereby you only recently used to say that you were ready to submit to death for the sake of our life?  And now we are not able to convince you to endure living a little bit longer for the sake of our salvation, until we are made strong!"  The youths too, whom he himself had been guarding carefully and rearing up diligently in faith and chastity, stretched forth their hands to heaven and fell to the ground, stretched out before him as though they had suddenly died; they cried aloud, shouting with loud lamentation:  "Good Peter, father and shepherd, matchless in mercy after your Lord, why did you lately bring us to birth for the Lord with a mother's affection, through the sacred font, only to expose us now to the bites of the most monstrous wolves, with solace so premature and in a cruel spirit which you had never had before?"  Moreover, the matrons also cried out, their hair besprinkled with dust:  "Is this the mercy which you used to extol in reference to your Savior, who had shown kindness to your tears, moved to tenderness for eternity, after you had denied him temporarily?  And do you not yield yourself, even for a brief time, to such floods of tears, especially when you are able to serve the Lord in the flesh and win the eternal crown reserved for you?"

[5] Even the guards of the prison, Processus and Martinianus, along with the other functionaries and those attached to them by virtue of their office, were making their request, saying:  "Master, depart and go where you wish, because we believe that the emperor has already forgotten you.  But that most wicked Agrippa, inflamed by love of his concubines and by the extravagance of his own lust, is making haste to destroy you.  For if he were attacking you by order of the emperor,[12] we would [already] have the sentence regarding your death from Paulinus, a most illustrious man,[13] from whose keeping you were put into our custody.  For after you baptized us believers in the name of the holy Trinity in the nearby Mamertine prison, when a spring and the marvellous sign of the cross had been produced from the rock through prayer, [p. 7] you proceeded freely wherever you wished, and no one caused you any trouble—nor would they now, if the demonic conflagration which is rousing the city had not invaded Agrippa so keenly.  For this reason, we beg you, the intermediary of our salvation, to be willing to make us this return:  that since you have freed us from the chains of sins and demons, you should go free from the bonds of prison and shackles, whose savagery has been entrusted to us—not so much with our permission as because of our entreaty—for the sake of so many people's salvation."  The widows too, and the orphans and those afflicted with old age, said, while pulling their hair and scratching their cheeks and baring their chests:  "You healed others, by whose help we have been tended, from various infirmities; and you even raised some from death—and do you now take yourself away from us, most gracious father?  Or else send us all before you, so that our souls may not perish in the absence of your teaching and instruction, and our bodies pass away deprived of the solace of your assistance—only in that circumstance may you hurry to where you desire to go, lest, seeing our lives dying after [the death of] our master, we die miserable by remaining in life."

[6] Then Peter, who was merciful beyond human measure and could never pass by the tears of the afflicted without tears, hearing this from all quarters, was won over by so much weeping and said:  "Let none of you come with me; I will go on alone, with changed clothes."  Indeed, he did set out alone in the ensuing night, pronouncing a prayer, then bidding farewell to the brethren and commending them to God with a blessing.  While he was on his way, the fastenings were removed from the fetters and fell away from his leg.  When he wished to go out the city gate, however, he saw Christ coming to meet him.  Worshipping him, he said:  "Lord, where are you going?"  Christ answered him:  "I am coming to Rome to be crucified again." [p. 8] And Peter said to him:  "Lord, will you be crucified again?"  And the Lord said to him:  "Certainly, I will be crucified again."  But Peter said:  "Lord, I will return and follow you."  And after these things were spoken, the Lord ascended into the heavens.  Peter, however, followed him with a protracted gaze and the sweetest tears, and afterwards, when he returned to himself, he understood that this was said regarding his own passion—that the Lord, who suffers in the chosen ones with the compassion of mercy and the celebration of glorification, was going to suffer in him.

[7] Turning back, he returned into the city with joy, glorifying God and telling the brethren that the Lord had met him on the road, and had made clear to him that he was to be crucified again in him.  When he had revealed to them his own passion, they all broke forth in lamentation and wailing.  Each one of them mourned and poured forth tears, saying:  "Look upon your sheep, good shepherd; support those whose weaker faith seeks to be strengthened by your preaching.  Look upon the faltering hearts which we know you ought to make firm."  Peter said to them:  "It is easy for the Lord to strengthen the hearts of his servants even without my humble admonishment.  For those whom he planted for this purpose, he will cause to grow, so that they may be able to plant others as well. [p. 9] But I, as a servant, must follow my Lord's will.  Therefore if he determines that I should still continue in the flesh for your sake,[14] I do not argue with him.  And if he decrees that I should suffer for his name, and sees fit to take me up through my suffering, I rejoice and exult in his grace."

[8] While he was comforting the brethren's minds with these and many other words, Hieros arrived with four apparitores[15] and ten other men, who seized him and took him away from the midst of the brethren and brought him bound before the eyes of Agrippa, the prefect of the city.  Agrippa said to him:  "You have great confidence, wicked man, in the people you are deceiving, and in the women who have withdrawn from the marital bed because of your persuasion.  You have even dared to introduce some 'Christ' or other, as an affront to the gods, and to present some silly and vain teachings or other, against the holy Roman rites and against the eternal city's piety."  Then the Apostle's face began to shine like the sun, and opening his mouth he said to him:  "I see where you are going, you leader of lusts, you lover of defilement, you inventor of savagery, you persecutor of the innocent, you abettor of deceivers, you founder of trickery, you dwelling-place of Satan! [p. 10] Indeed, you are ignorant of the glory I take pride in, and therefore you say that I have confidence in men and women."  And Agrippa said to him:  "Since you know that I am ignorant of what you take pride in, inform me of it, quickly!"  And Peter said to him:  "I have no glory except the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ, whose servant I am."  And Agrippa said:  "Well then, do you wish to be crucified, just as your god was crucified?"  Peter too responded:  "I am not worthy to make the world a witness of my suffering with an upright cross, but through some sort of punishments I do wish and desire to follow in the footsteps of his suffering."  Then the prefect, using the accusation of superstition as a cover for his own disease—a lack of self-control—ordered the Apostle to be crucified.

[9] And behold!  A huge crowd suddenly gathered together, of different ages and sexes, of rich and poor, of widows and orphans, of the weak and the powerful, who shouted at the top of their lungs:  "Why is Peter being killed?  What crime did he commit?  How has he harmed the city?  It is not lawful to condemn an innocent!  Should we not be afraid that God will avenge the death of such a great man and decree the destruction of us all?"  And the people began to rage against Agrippa, [p. 11] as they endeavored to seize Peter and preserve him unharmed—and Rome was thrown into confusion by the disordered voices of the vast crowds.  Then Peter stood back a little, then, climbing to a higher position and calling the people to silence with a nod, said:  "You men[16] and faithful ones of God, who serve in Christ's army!  All you who hope in Christ!  If your love toward me is true and you demonstrate sincere compassion and kindness toward me, do not call back one who is going to the Lord—do not hinder one who is making haste toward Christ!  Stand therefore in quietness, rejoicing and glad, so that I may offer my sacrifice to the Lord with cheerfulness.  For God loves a cheerful giver."[17]  And, with these words having been spoken, the uproar and the prefect's dispute were scarcely calmed.  For many people were able and were eagerly wishing to drive out the prefect—but they were afraid to sadden the Apostle, who was following the example of his teacher, who said:  "I am able now, if I wish, to summon more than twelve legions of angels for myself."[18]

[10] Finally, together with the Apostle and the apparitores, a vast number of people arrived at the place which is called Naumachiae, near the obelisk [p. 12] of Nero on the hill.  For there a cross had been put into place.  And looking back at the people who were weeping and again wanting to stir up disorder, he said in a clear voice:  "I pray you, brethren, do not hinder my offering!  Do not rage against Agrippa and be bitter-minded toward him.  For he is only an abettor of someone else's action:  the devil is the instigator of my condemnation in the flesh—he is taking advantage of the Lord's permission, since it pains him that vessels of dishonor[19] have been taken away from him by me and made into lodging-places of self-control, temples of Christ, homes of honor and grace.  And so, my brothers and sons, be obedient, because what was going to happen was made known to me by the Lord Jesus Christ in a revelation.  Therefore, the disciple is not above his teacher, nor the slave above his master.[20]  So I am hurrying to be freed from the flesh and be entrusted to the Lord.  For it is now the time at which I will also offer my sacrifice.  Remember the signs and prodigies and healings, which you saw and perceived—as Christ was acting and I was helping.  For the sicknesses of very many were healed so that the souls of all might be saved.  Dead bodies were raised so that dead souls [p. 13] might live again.  But why do I now endure delay, and do not draw near to the cross?  Farewell, brethren—be patient and preserve what you have heard.  I commend you to the Lord Jesus Christ."

[11] Also, he approached and stood by the cross, and said:  "O name of the cross, O secret mysteryO unspeakable grace!  For peace [comes] in the name of the cross.  O cross, which joined man to God, and separated [people] from the dominion of diabolical captivity!  O cross, which with its companion, true faith, always makes manifest to the human race the passion of the Savior of the world, and shows the redemption of human captivity to be safe and secure!  O cross, which daily distributes the flesh of the spotless lamb to the faithful, and expels the serpent's horrible venom with the cup of salvation, and extinguishes the flaming sword of Paradise for believers without ceasing!  O cross, which daily works to make peace between earthly and celestial [beings], and diligently reproduces the death of the Mediator, who rose from the dead and now dies no more, for the eternal Father, with the Church acting on behalf of its children—reproduces it, renews it, re-establishes it by its most auspicious embassy.[21]  I suffer violence for your sake, and now, being very near to release,[22] I will not rest from making known the secret mystery of God regarding the cross, which my soul once shouted aloud.  You who believe in Christ, let that which is visible not be the cross for you; there is a certain other thing, a mystical [meaning], in that which is apparent to you.  And now especially, all you who are able to hear, as I am now in the last hour of this life, separate all your senses and your souls from everything that is visible, [directing them] to that which is invisible!  And you will know that the mystery of salvation has been accomplished in Christ through the cross.  Your obligation, Peter, is to return the body you received to the earth, by means of those whose proper task is to kill the body.[23] [p. 14]

[12] Moreover, he said to the master-executioners:  "Why are you dallying?  Why, apparitores, are you allowing delays to be contrived for me?  Fulfill the command that was given to you.  Divest me of my mortal clothing, so that I may cleave to the Lord in spirit."  He did indeed ask, and won the master-executioners over by addressing them as follows:  "I beg you, good servants of my salvation, when you crucify me, to place my head below and my feet above.  For it is not fitting that the meanest servant be crucified in the same way as the Lord of the universe deigned to suffer, for the salvation of the whole world—he who, it is clear, is to be glorified by my suffering.  It is even possible that I should be able to gaze upon the mystery of the cross with an attentive countenance forever, so that what I say from there can be more easily understood by those who are standing round about it."  When this was done,[24] Peter began to comfort and speak to the people who were weeping regarding the cross, speaking in a marvellous manner:  "Great and profound is the mystery of the cross, the ineffable and unbreakable bond of love.  [p. 15] Through the cross, God draws all things to himself.  This is the tree of life by which the power of death has been destroyed.  This you have opened up for me, Lord; open up also the eyes of all those people, so that they may see the comfort of eternal life."  When he had said this, God opened the eyes of those who were lamenting and shedding tears over his suffering, and they saw angels standing with garlands of flowers—roses and lilies—and at the top of the cross that had been set up, Peter, standing and receiving a book from Christ and reading from it the words which he was saying.  Seeing this, they began to rejoice and be glad in the Lord, to such a degree that those unbelievers themselves, as well as the executioners, seeing that the ones they had seen sad and lamenting before were now exulting and rejoicing, hid themselves and vanished like smoke.

[13] Peter, moreover, seeing that his glory had been made manifest to many who were weeping before, gave thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ, saying:  "You alone, Lord, were rightly crucified [on a cross] with the top extended on high, [p. 16] you who redeemed the whole world from sin.  I desired to imitate you even in suffering; but I did not appropriate to myself an upright crucifixion, since we human beings—both the pure and the sinners—have been born from Adam, but you [were born as] God from God, and true light from true light, before all ages; at the end of the ages you deigned to become a man on behalf of mankind, without human pollution; you stand forth as the glorious redeemer of mankind.  You are always upright, you are always exalted, you are always lofty.  We are children of the first man according to the flesh—the one who buried his own ruling faculty[25] in the earth.  His fall is symbolized by the appearance of human reproduction:  for we are born in such a way that we appear to be ejected head downward toward the ground, and what is on the right is on [our] left, and what is on the left ends up on [our] right—for the very reason that the conditions of this life were transformed by our ancestors.  That wicked world, indeed, considers what is left to be right—the world in which you, Lord, found us like the Ninevites, and by your holy proclamation you freed those who were about to perish.

[14] "But you, brethren, whose proper task is to listen, direct the ears of your hearts, and learn the things which are to be announced to you:  [p. 17] namely, the mystery of the whole of nature, and the Beginning of the entire created order.[26]  For the first man, whose kind I belong to in form,[27] showed by his down-cast head that the generation had been destroyed long ago.  For his generation was dead, and did not even have the movement of life.  But the Beginning, drawn by his own mercy, came into the world through corporeal substance, to the one whom he had, by a just sentence, cast down to the earth; and, being hung on the cross as an image of this honorable[28] calling—namely, that of the cross—he restored and established what had been transformed before by the mankind's wicked mistake:  present things, that is, as left, and the eternal things, which were considered as left, glorifying as right.[29]  He changed all signs to their proper nature, understanding as good things which were not thought good, and as truly favorable things which were considered unfavorable.  Hence, the Lord said in a mystery'Unless you make the right as the left and the left as the right, and things above as things below, and things before as things behind, you shall not come to know the kingdom of God.'[30]  I have brought forward this view in my own person, brethren; and this is the figure in which corporeal eyes see me hanging, for it is the shape of the first manBut you, my beloved, as you hear these things and, by converting and turning [them] about, bring them to perfection, [and] just as you have returned from your primal error to the most secure anchorage of faith, even so persevere in running, and strive toward the repose of your calling on high by living[31] well.  For the Way by which you must make your journey there is Christ.  So then, you ought to ascend above the cross, with Jesus Christ the true God, who was established for us as the one and only Word.  For this reason the Spirit says:  'Christ is the word and voice of God'[32]—since the word signifies that upright [p. 18] tree on which I am crucified.  And since voice is properly something belonging to the body, because it receives features which are not attributed to divinity, the side-pieces of the cross are understood as presenting human nature, which suffered the error of transformation in the first man, but recovered true understanding through God and man.  For indeed, the very key[33] of the teaching is circumscribed in the middle—that is, by human conversion and turning about and repentance, along with faith."

[15] And as he said these things with an eager visage and a calm face, he cried out, breaking into prayer:  "Lord Jesus Christ, Word of life, you have made these things known to me, and I give thanks to you, who are revealing what I had said about the tree proclaimed by meI thank you, not with the heart into which something unbecoming often creeps, not with these lips that are fastened shut, not with the tongue through which both truth and falsehood come forth, nor indeed with the utterance that is produced by an articulated and material substancebut rather, good king, with the sort of voice which is understood in silence, which is not heard in the open, which does not come forth through the instrument of a corruptible mouth, which does not strike the ears of flesh, which is not perceived by a corruptible nature, which neither is earthly nor is uttered on earth, which is not written down in material books; it neither allows anyone to be moved materially, nor does it exist materially.  With that spirit, I mean, Jesus Christ, my Lord and master, I give thanks to you—the spirit by which I believe in you, by which I understand you, by which I love you, by which I hold you fast—the voice with which I address you, with which I appeal to you—for you can only be understood with a spirit that is whole and calm. [p. 19] To me, Lord, you are father and friend, author and perfector of salvation; you are my desire, you are my consolation, you are my sufficiency.  For me, you are everything, and everything, for me, is in you; to me, you are the all, and all that is, to me, you are:  indeed, you are everything to me.  In you we live, we move, we exist.[34]  And therefore we ought to hold you, like everything, so that you may give us those things you promised, which neither eye has seen, nor ear has heard, nor have they come into a human heart, which you have prepared for those who love you.[35]  Keep watch over these things for your servants; distribute and bestow these things, because you are the eternal and in the highest degree good shepherd, the true Son of God.  To you I entrust the sheep which you put in my care.  Gather them together in your sheepfold, and preserve them, because you are the gate of the sheepfold and the gatekeeper, you are the pasture, you are the refreshment of eternal life.  Glory be to you, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and ever." [p. 20]

[16] And then, when all the people answered "Amen" in a loud voice, Peter surrendered his spiritAnd immediately Marcellus, without waiting for anyone's opinion, but seeing that the blessed Apostle had breathed his last, took down the sacred body from the cross with his own hands, washed it with milk and the best wine, and grinding 1500 minae of mastic and aloe, with myrrh and silphium (?),[36] and oil of myrrh along with the various other spices—another 1500 minaehe embalmed him most lovingly.  He also filled a new sarcophagus with Attic honey and placed the body, anointed with the perfumes, in it.  That very night, however, while Marcellus was keeping vigil at the tomb and weeping out of his passionate longing for him—for he had decided never to be separated from the grave of his most loving teacher as long as he lived—the blessed Peter came to him. [p. 21] When Marcellus saw him, and trembled, he quickly rose for him and stood before him.  The blessed Apostle said to him:  "Brother Marcellus, haven't you heard the words of the Lord, who said'Leave the dead to bury their own dead'?"[37]  And Marcellus said, "Dear master, I have heard them."  Then Peter said to him:  "Then do not let yourself seem like a dead man who has buried a dead man and weeps, but like a living man rejoicing better with a living, jubilant man; leave the dead to bury their own dead.  But as for you, just you have learned through me, go and proclaim the kingdom of God."  Marcellus made this known to all the brethren with great good-will, and through the favor of holy Peter the faith of the believers was strengthened by God the father in every way, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the sanctification of the Holy Spirit.

[17] But when Nero found out that the blessed Peter had died, whom he had given orders to torment, not to kill, he sent [instructions] that Agrippa be arrested, since without [receiving] his [i.e. Nero's] sentence [to that effect] he had killed Peter [p. 22]—whom he [i.e., Nero]  was planning to punish using various torments.  He complained that he had been robbed of Simon, the protector of his salvation, by that man's tricks, and he grieved for the misfortune of such a great friend, who was supplying him and the state with countless good things.  Agrippa, however, by the intervention of his friends, secured the privilege of living at his own home as a private citizen, despised and deprived of his prefect's office.  Thus he avoided Caesar's fury, but he did not escape the vengeance of divine judgment, which he soon experienced, and perished terribly.  Finally, Nero turned his attention to the persecution of those who, he learned, had associated on rather friendly terms with the blessed Peter, so that at least by their punishment he might be satiated regarding Peter.  But the blessed Apostle made this known to the brethren by a revelation, and suggested how they might avoid the beast's savagery.  For Nero in a vision saw the holy Peter standing before him, and, after being scourged by someone on that man's orders, he heard:  "Restrain your hands, most impious one, from the servants of our Lord Jesus Christ; you will not be able to hold them now."  Then, being alarmed, he was quiet for a little.   In addition, the brethren were both rejoicing and exulting in the Lord, strengthened often by a vision of the blessed Apostle Peter, glorifying the Lord God, the Almighty Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, to whom belong glory, power, and worship for ever and everAmen.



[1] Lat. seu adversa immo diversa…certamina.  On the grounds of general usage, adversa certamina would mean "unsuccessful contests" and diversa certamina, most likely, "inconclusive contests"—but the struggle against Simon has not been unsuccessful or inconclusive.  "Adverse contests" could conceivably be "face-to-face encounters"—but there is then no particular point for the addition of diversa.  It seems that Ps.-Linus is simply piling on synonyms (as frequently in this text), and both expressions mean simply "hostile encounters."  Salonius, p. 41, notes that seu…immo… here is basically equivalent to et…et…
[2] In the Greek text, this is more clearly expressed:  "giving thanks for the crowd…"
[3] Cf. similar phraseology in the Greek text and the Actus Vercellenses after the brief narration about Xant(h)ippe and Albinus (§5/34 [= Ps.-Linus, §3]).
[4] The phrase, praeveniens perditionis caput, is difficult; it could alternatively be translated, "the foregoing 'head of destruction.'"  Thomas, Acts of Peter, p. 53, more interpretively renders it "the font of destruction" (but without addressing the status of praeveniens).  Perditionis caput echoes filius perditionis (Jn. 17.12; 2 Thess. 2.3).  For discussion of the difficulties, see also Nordmeyer, "Der Tod Neros in der Legende," pp. 29-30.
[5] In the Greek version of the passion, the second concubine is Nikaria, the fourth Doris.
[6]Following Salonius' text (molestabantur sub thoro Agrippae); with Lipsius' text (adding esse), the sense would be "…were troubled at being in Agrippa's bed"—but this is linguistically more difficult in Latin.
[7] In the Greek and in the Actus Vercellenses, this woman is named Xant(h)ippe.
[8] Here a variant reading [atque etiam] would give the meaning "and also…" more obviously; while a possible correction [sicut] would be comprehensible ("just as [she made known]…").  On seu et, however, see Salonius, p. 44.
[9] Lat. appellatio; perhaps "judicial appeal"?
[10] Lat. sub occasione senatus.  Lit., "under the pretext of the Senate"; i.e., he found the Senate's action a good pretext for himself.
[11]Lat., etiam secundum illius revelationem.  Lit., "also / furthermore according to the revelation of that"—where "that" could be masculine, feminine, or neuter.
[12] Lit., "king."
[13] Lat. clarissimus; i.e., a senator.
[14] Cf. Phil. 1.24.
[15] Apparitores were a magistrate's attendants, used to aid with arrest and punishment.
[16] "Men" is a traditional address in Greek speeches (ὦἄνδρες, as here in the Gk. text), frequently with further details identifying the audience, as "Men of Athens…"
[17] Cf. 2 Cor. 9.7.
[18] Mt. 26.53.
[19] Cf. 2 Tim. 2.20.
[20] Cf. Mt. 10.24.
[21] This convoluted sentence means that the cross, through the Church's liturgy, repeatedly renews the efficacy of the Savior's death; the word "embassy" continues the metaphor of peace-making from the beginning of the sentence.  Cf. the similarly elaborate allusion to the Eucharist in the "flesh" and "cup" of the previous sentence.  For the thought and expression, cf. also Gregory the Great, Hom. ev. 37.7 (cited by Blaise, Dictionnaire, s.v. 'reparo'):  quoties…offerimus, toties nobis…passionem illius reparamus ("As often as we offer…, so often do we renew for ourselves / make present to ourselves his passion.")
[22] Lat. in finitima absolutione; lit., "at / in (the) very near release / dissolution."  The Greek here makes it slightly clearer:  "at the end of the release / dissolution."  The "release" is presumably the separation of soul from body at death, although the "dissolution" of the world could also be in view.
[23] Cf. Mt. 10.28.
[24] I.e., when he had been crucified in the manner he requested.
[25] Lat. principale, often the equivalent of the Greek ἡγεμονικόν, but the Gk. here has ἀρχή ("rule / beginning")—it may be that Ps.-Linus here intends a reference not to the internal "ruling faculty" but to Adam's status as ruler over the natural world.
[26] By "Beginning" Ps.-Linus is subtly introducing a reference to the Son / Logos, who can be referred to as the "Beginning" especially through allusion to Gen. 1.1:  "In the beginning God created…"  In the next mention of the "Beginning" Ps.-Linus uses this reference even more explicitly.
[27] Lit., "whose kind / race / class I have in form / appearance."  This does not mean that he is a human being only in appearance; rather, species (like genus) is used to identify classifications or types of beings.  Alternatively, Vouaux, p. 443 (n. 4) argues that the word "form / appearance" is a reference to the manner in which Peter is being crucified.
[28] So with Lipsius, reading honorandae; Salonius prefers the variant horrendae ("horrible / to be shuddered at").
[29] Here I follow Salonius' emended text:  praesentia videlicet pro sinistra, et quae pro sinistra ducebantur aeterna, siquidem ut dextra glorificans et omnia signa …  Lipsius' text seems too difficult; but a variant reading (f) gives a potentially more acceptable text:  praesentia videlicet ut aeterna et aeterna ducebantur ut praesentia et dextra sinistra ("present things, namely, were thought of as eternal, eternal things as present, and right [as] left")—this, however, seems quite likely to be the result of a scribal attempt at emendation.  For the use of pro with the acc. rather than the abl., see Salonius, pp. 52-53.
[30] Lipsius (ad loc.) identifies this as a quotation from the Gospel of the Egyptians, but the precise identification of the source is difficult.   Similar but not identical sayings appear in 2 Clement 12.2; Clement of  Alexandria, Stromateis 3.13.92 (attributed to the "Gospel of the Egyptians"); Gospel of Thomas 22; finally, Acts of Philip 140 appears to be dependent on the present quotation.  Cf. Vouaux, p. 447; Hennecke-Schneemelcher, New Testament Apocrypha (rev. ed.), 1: 209-10, 212-14.
[31] Lat. conversantes (echoing the words translated above as "convert" and "turn about").
[32] For this otherwise unknown quotation, Vouaux, pp. 449-51 (n. 5), sees a possible reminiscence of Jn. 1, discounting Harnack's suggestion that it is related to a citation from the Acts of Paul in Origen, De princ. 1.2.3 (Hic est verbum animal vivens)—and indeed, they have little in common with each other.
[33] Lat. clavis; the Gk. text and the Actus Vercellenses have "nail" (Lat. clavus)—scribal confusion or perhaps authorial wordplay (in Latin) seems likely.
[34] Cf. Acts 17.28.
[35] Cf. 1 Cor. 2.9.
[36] Lat. folium, which normally means simply a "leaf"—but the Gk. (φύλλον) likely in the original is used additionally for some specific plant-parts, including the "leaf-like fruit of silphium" (LSJ s.v.).
[37] Mt. 8.22; Lk. 9.60.

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This translation was commissioned by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2012, and made by Andrew Eastbourne. This file and all material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.

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Early Church Fathers - Additional Texts