About The Acts of Peter
The Acts of Peter is an apocryphal New Testament writing that focuses on a sensationalized collection of stories that detail miraculous feats of Peter. The various manuscripts that exist can be broke down into 3 sections.
- Peter’s Daughter & The Gardener’s Daughter
- (A short episode in Coptic)
- The Vercelli Acts
- (A large portion in Latin and a few Greek fragments)
- The Martyrdom of Peter
- (The martyrdom, preserved separately, in two good Greek copies, in Latin, and in many versions-Coptic, Slavonic, Syriac, Armenian, Arabic, Ethiopic.)
When one mentions the Acts of Peter, it is typical that they are referring to the 3rd portion of the book which focuses on the battle of miracles between Peter and Simon the Sorcerer (Simon Magus). Peter and Simon exchange words in the book of Acts, but nothing further about him is mentioned in the Bible. However, early writings speak much about him, as well as the church fathers. He is also referred to as Simon Magus, a name given to him by the Romans meaning sorcerer. In the narrative it details Peter and Simon having a duel of miracles, located in Rome. In the duel, Simon uses trickery and the devil’s power while Peter performs a number miracles in Jesus’ power. Peter does a slew of fanciful miracles, from making dogs and babies talk to the resurrection people and even reviving a smoked fish. In the end Peter is victorious and Simon dies.
Needless to say, the mythical nature of these texts and the rejection of them by the early church means that they are not exactly reliable historical pieces. Like the Old Testament apocryphal writings, the author of the Acts of Peter is trying to fill in gaps. Apocryphal works often take a small piece of the Bible that leaves the reader asking unanswerable questions and then tries to create a narrative to answer such questions. One famous example would be the Watchers in the Book of Enoch, which is an explanation of the Nephilim from Genesis 6.
Authorship & Dating:
According to tradition, the Acts of Peter was written by Leucius Charinus. While we do not know exactly when Leucius was born or the time of his death, we do know that he was alive and writing before 220 CE, which is when he first appeared in the works of the church fathers. Tertullian mentions Leucius indirectly as the author of the Acts of Paul and describes some of his teachings and practices.
But if they claim writings which are wrongly inscribed with Paul’s name I mean the example of Thecla—in support of women’s freedom to teach and baptize, let them know that a presbyter in Asia, who put together that book, heaping up a narrative as it were from his own materials under Paul’s name, when after conviction he confessed that he had done it from love of. Paul, resigned his position. (Tertullian, On Baptism, 17)
Another indirect mention of Leucius was by Eusebius (c. 312-324-337), in which he lists a number of works that should be considered heresies. All of them were attributed to Leucius.
..works that are cited by the heretics
under the name of the apostles, including,
for instance, such books as
the Gospels of Peter,
or of any others besides them, and
the Acts of Andrew and John and
(John) and the other apostles,
The first mention of Leucius by name was by Epiphanius (c. 310-403 CE), in his writing, “Panarian”. In the text he is said to have been a friend of St John.
For they contradicted the Lord’s disciples at that time, and tried to use the genealogy from Abraham and David as proof of their nonsense — not in good faith, but seizing on it as an excuse. For they were often contradicted by St. John and his friends, Leucius and many others. But shamelessness struck its forehead, and did its best to bring its own woes on itself. (Epiphanius, The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis)
While it is difficult to piece together an full picture of who Leucius was, we can at least assume that he was a prolific writer who was at least known by name in the 3rd or 4th century. In the second century his works were circulating but it’s unclear if their author was known or intentionally kept secret.
The oldest of the manuscripts would have been the Greek fragments which most believe date back to the 2nd century CE. The Coptic manuscripts are a half century or more later, most likely in the late 3rd century. The latest manuscripts are in Latin and date to the 10th century CE. The Latin make up the bulk of the Acts of Peter.
Translation and Notes
From “The Apocryphal New Testament”
M.R. James-Translation and Notes
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924
I. THE COPTIC FRAGMENT
This is preserved separately in an early papyrus manuscript (fourth-fifth century) now at Berlin; the other contents of it are Gnostic writings which have not yet been published. I follow C. Schmidt’s rendering of it. It has a title at the end:
The Act of Peter On the first day of the week, that is, on the Lord’s day, a multitude gathered together, and they brought unto Peter many sick that he might heal them. And one of the multitude adventured to say unto Peter: Lo, Peter, in our presence thou hast made many blind to see and the deaf to hear and the lame to walk, and hast helped the weak and given them strength: but wherefore hast thou not helped thy daughter, the virgin, which grew up beautiful and hath believed in the name of God? For behold, her one side is wholly palsied, and she lieth there stretched out in the corner helpless. We see them that have been healed by thee: thine own daughter thou hast neglected.
But Peter smiled and said unto him: My son, it is manifest unto God alone wherefore her body is not whole. Know then that God is not weak nor powerless to grant his gift unto my daughter: but that thy soul may be convinced, and they that are here present may the more believe -then he looked unto his daughter and said to her: Raise thyself up from thy place, without any helping thee save Jesus only, and walk whole before all these, and come unto me. And she arose and came to him; and the multitude rejoiced at that which was come to pass. Then said Peter unto them: Behold, your heart is convinced that God is not without strength concerning all things that we ask of him. Then they rejoiced yet more and praised God. And Peter said to his daughter: Go unto thy place, and lay thee down and be again in thine infirmity, for this is expedient for me and for thee. And the maiden went back and lay down in her place and was as beforetime: and the whole multitude wept, and entreated Peter to make her whole.
But Peter said unto them: As the Lord liveth, this is expedient for her and for me. For on the day when she was born unto me I saw a vision, and the Lord said unto me: Peter, this day is a great temptation born unto thee, for this daughter will bring hurt unto many souls if her body continue whole. But I thought that the vision did mock me.
Now when the maiden was ten years old, a stumbling-block was prepared for many by reason of her. And an exceeding rich man, by name Ptolemaeus, when he had seen the maiden with her mother bathing, sent unto her to take her to wife; but her mother consented not. And he sent oft-times to her, and could not wait.
[Here a leaf is lost: the sense, however, is not hard to supply. Augustine speaks (quoting Apocryphal Acts) of a daughter of Peter struck with palsy at the prayer of her father.
Ptolemaeus, unable to win the maiden by fair means, comes and carries her off. Peter hears of it and prays God to protect her. His prayer is heard. She is struck with palsy on one side of her body. Then the text resumes.]
The servants of Ptolemaeus brought the maiden and laid her down before the door of the house and departed.
But when I perceived it, I and her mother, we went down and found the maiden, that one whole side of her body from her toes even to her head was palsied and withered: and we bore her away, praising the Lord which had preserved his handmaid from defilement and shame and (corruption?). This is the cause of the matter, why the maiden continueth so unto this day.
Now, then, it is fitting for you to know the end of Ptolemaeus. He went home and sorrowed night and day over that which had befallen him, and by reason of the many tears which he shed, he became blind. And when he had resolved to rise up and hang himself, lo, about the ninth hour of the day, he saw a great light which enlightened the whole house, and heard a voice saying unto him: Ptolemaeus, God hath not given thee the vessels for corruption and shame, and yet more doth it not become thee which hast believed in me to defile my virgin, whom thou shalt know as thy sister, even as if I were unto you both one spirit (sic). But rise up and go quickly unto the house of the apostle Peter, and thou shalt see my glory; he shall make known unto thee what thou must do.
But Ptolemaeus was not negligent, and bade his servants show him the way and bring him unto me. And when they were come to me, he told me all that had befallen him by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. Then did he see with the eyes of his flesh, and with the eyes of his soul, and much people believed (hoped) in Christ: and he did them good and gave them the gift of God.
Thereafter Ptolemaeus died, departing out of this life, and went unto his Lord: and when he made his will he bequeathed a piece of land in the name of my daughter, because through her he had believed in God and was made whole. But I unto whom the disposition thereof fell, exercised it with great carefulness: I sold the land, and God alone knoweth neither I nor my daughter (received the price). I sold the land and kept nought back of the price, but gave all the money unto the poor.
Know therefore, thou servant of Jesus Christ, that God directeth (?) them that are his, and prepareth good for every one of them, although we think that God hath forgotten us. Therefore now, brethren, let us be sorrowful and watch and pray, and so shall the goodness of God look upon us, whereon we wait.
And yet further discourse did Peter hold before them all, and glorified the name of Christ the Lord and gave them all of the bread: and when he had distributed it, he rose up and went unto his house.
The scene of this episode is probably Jerusalem. The subject of it was often used by later writers, most notably, perhaps, by the author of the late Acts of SS. Nereus and Achilleus (fifth or sixth century), who gives the daughter a name, Petronilla, which has passed into Kalendars, and as Perronelle, Pernel, or Parnell has become familiar.
A few critics have questioned whether this piece really belongs to the Acts of Peter: but the weight of probability and of opinion is against them. Nothing can be plainer than that it is an extract from a larger book, and that it is ancient (the manuscript may be of the fourth century). Moreover, Augustine, in dealing with apocryphal Acts, alludes to the story contained in it. What other large book of ancient date dealing with Peter’s doings can we imagine save the Acts?
II. THE GARDENER’S DAUGHTER
Augustine (Against Adimantus, xvii. 5), says to his Manichaean opponent: the story of Peter killing Ananias and Sapphira by a word is very stupidly blamed by those who in the apocryphal Acts read and admire both the incident I mentioned about the apostle Thomas (the death of the cup-bearer at the feast in his Acts) ‘and that the daughter of Peter himself was stricken with palsy at the prayer of her father, and that the daughter of a gardener died at the prayer of Peter. Their answer is that it was expedient for them, that the one should be disabled by palsy and the other should die: but they do not deny that it happened at the prayer of the apostle’.
This allusion to the gardener’s daughter remained a puzzle until lately. But a passage in the Epistle of Titus (already quoted) tells us the substance of the story.
A certain gardener had a daughter, a virgin, her father’s only child: he begged Peter to pray for her. Upon his request, the apostle answered him that the Lord would give her that which was useful for her soul. Immediately the girl fell dead.
O worthy gain and suitable to God, to escape the insolence of the flesh and mortify the boastfulness of the blood! But that old man, faithless, and not knowing the greatness of the heavenly favour, ignorant of the divine benefit, entreated Peter that his only daughter might be raised again. And when she was raised, not many days after, as it might be to-day, the slave of a believer who lodged in the house ran upon her and ruined the girl, and both of them disappeared.
This was evidently a contrast to the story of Peter’s daughter, and probably followed immediately upon it in the Acts. There is another sentence appropriate to the situation, which Dom de Bruyne found in a Cambrai MS. of the thirteenth century -a collection of apophthegms- and printed with the extracts from the Epistle of Titus.
That the dead are not to be mourned overmuch, Peter, speaking to one who lamented without patience the loss of his daughter, said: So many assaults of the devil, so many warrings of the body, so many disasters of the world hath she escaped, and thou sheddest tears as if thou knewest not what thou sufferest in thyself (what good hath befallen thee).
This might very well be part of Peter’s address to the bereaved gardener.
III. THE VERCELLI ACTS
I. At the time when Paul was sojourning in Rome and confirming many in the faith, it came also to pass that one by name Candida, the wife of Quartus that was over the prisons, heard Paul and paid heed to his words and believed. And when she had instructed her husband also and he believed, Quartus suffered Paul to go whither he would away from the city: to whom Paul said: If it be the will of God, he will reveal it unto me. And after Paul had fasted three days and asked of the Lord that which should be profitable for him, he saw a vision, even the Lord saying unto him: Arise, Paul, and become a physician in thy body (i.e. by going thither in person) to them that are in Spain.
He therefore, having related to the brethren what God had commanded, nothing doubting, prepared himself to set forth from the city. But when Paul was about to depart, there was great weeping throughout all the brotherhood, because they thought that they should see Paul no more, so that they even rent their clothes. For they had in mind also how that Paul had oftentimes contended with the doctors of the Jews and confuted them, saying: Christ, upon whom your fathers laid hands, abolished their sabbaths and fasts and holy-days and circumcision, and the doctrines of men and the rest of the traditions he did abolish. But the brethren lamented (and adjured) Paul by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he should not be absent above a year, saying: We know thy love for thy brethren; forget not us when thou art come thither, neither begin to forsake us, as little children without a mother. And when they besought him long with tears, there came a sound from heaven, and a great voice saying: Paul the servant of God is chosen to minister all the days of his life: by the hands of Nero the ungodly and wicked man shall he be perfected before your eyes. And a very great fear fell upon the brethren because of the voice which came from heaven: and they were confirmed yet more in the faith.
II. Now they brought unto Paul bread and water for the sacrifice, that he might make prayer and distribute it to every one. Among whom it befell that a woman named Rufina desired, she also, to receive the Eucharist at the hands of Paul: to whom Paul, filled with the spirit of God, said as she drew near: Rufina, thou comest not worthily unto the altar of God, arising from beside one that is not thine husband but an adulterer, and assayest to receive the Eucharist of God. For behold Satan shall trouble thine heart and cast thee down in the sight of all them that believe in the Lord, that they which see and believe may know that they have believed in the living God, the searcher of hearts. But if thou repent of thine act, he is faithful that is able to blot out thy sin and set thee free from this sin: but if thou repent not, while thou art yet in the body, devouring fire and outer darkness shall receive thee for ever. And immediately Rufina fell down, being stricken with palsy (?) from her head unto the nails of her feet, and she had no power to speak (given her) for her tongue was bound. And when both they that believed (in the faith) and the neophytes saw it, they beat their breasts, remembering their old sins, and mourned and said: We know not if God will forgive the former sins which we have committed. Then Paul called for silence and said: Men and brethren which now have begun to believe on Christ, if ye continue not in your former works of the tradition of your fathers, and keep yourselves from all guile and wrath and fierceness and adultery and defilement, and from pride and envy and contempt and enmity, Jesus the living God will forgive you that ye did in ignorance. Wherefore, ye servants of God, arm yourselves every one in your inner man with peace, patience, gentleness, faith, charity, knowledge, wisdom, love of the brethren, hospitality, mercy, abstinence, chastity, kindness, justice: then shall ye have for your guide everlastingly the first-begotten of all creation, and shall have strength in peace with our Lord. And when they had heard these things of Paul, they besought him to pray for them. And Paul lifted up his voice and said: O eternal God, God of the heavens, God of unspeakable majesty (divinity), who hast stablished all things by thy word, who hast bound upon all the world the chain of thy grace, Father of thine holy Son Jesus Christ, we together pray thee through thy Son Jesus Christ, strengthen the souls which were before unbelieving but now are faithful. Once I was a blasphemer, now I am blasphemed; once I was a persecutor, now do I suffer persecution of others; once I was the enemy of Christ, now I pray that I may be his friend: for I trust in his promise and in his mercy; I account myself faithful and that I have received forgiveness of my former sins. Wherefore I exhort you also, brethren, to believe in the Lord the Father Almighty, and to put all your trust in our Lord Jesus Christ his Son, believing in him, and no man shall be able to uproot you from his promise. Bow your knees therefore together and commend me unto the Lord, who am about to set forth unto another nation, that his grace may go before me and dispose my journey aright, that he may receive his vessels holy and believing, that they, giving thanks for my preaching of the word of the Lord, may be well grounded in the faith. But the brethren wept long and prayed unto the Lord with Paul, saying: Be thou, Lord Jesus Christ, with Paul and restore him unto us whole: for we know our weakness which is in us even to this day.
III. And a great multitude of women were kneeling and praying and beseeching Paul; and they kissed his feet and accompanied him unto the harbour. But Dionysius and Balbus, of Asia, knights of Rome, and illustrious men, and a senator by name Demetrius abode by Paul on his right hand and said: Paul, I would desire to leave the city if I were not a magistrate, that I might not depart from thee. Also from Caesar’s house Cleobius and Iphitus and Lysimachus and Aristaeus and two matrons Berenice and Philostrate, with Narcissus the presbyter [after they had] accompanied him to the harbour: but whereas a storm of the sea came on, he (Narcissus?) sent the brethren back to Rome, that if any would, he might come down and hear Paul until he set sail: and hearing that, the brethren went up unto the city. And when they told the brethren that had remained in the city, and the report was spread abroad, some on beasts, and some on foot, and others by way of the Tiber came down to the harbour, and were confirmed in the faith for three days, and on the fourth day until the fifth hour, praying together with Paul, and making the offering: and they put all that was needful on the ship and delivered him two young men, believers, to sail with him, and bade him farewell in the Lord and returned to Rome.
There has been great dispute about these three chapters, whether they are not an excerpt from the Acts of Paul, or whether they are an addition made by the writer of the Greek original of the Vercelli Acts.
If they are from the Acts of Paul, it means that in those Acts Paul was represented as visiting Rome twice, and going to Spain between the visits. Evidently, if this was so, he did not return straight from Spain to Rome: at least the Coptic gives no indication that the prophecies of Cleobius and Myrte were uttered in Spain.
The question is a difficult one. All allow that the writer of the Acts of Peter knew and used the Acts of Paul: but there is strong opposition to the idea that Paul related two visits to Rome.
The writer of Paul obviously knew the canonical Acts very well and obviously took great liberties with them. Did he go so far, one wonders, as to suppress and ignore the whole story of the trial before Felix and the shipwreck? If he told of but one visit to Rome -the final one- it appears that he did: for the conditions described in the Martyrdom -Paul quite free and martyred very shortly after his arrival- are totally irreconcilable with Luke (Paul arriving in custody and living two years at least in the city).
IV. Now after a few days there was a great commotion in the midst of the church, for some said that they had seen wonderful works done by a certain man whose name was Simon, and that he was at Aricia, and they added further that he said he was a great power of God and without God he did nothing. Is not this the Christ? but we believe in him whom Paul preached unto us; for by him have we seen the dead raised, and men Delivered from divers infirmities: but this man seeketh contention, we know it (or, but what this contention is, we know not) for there is no small stir made among us. Perchance also he will now enter into Rome; for yesterday they besought him with great acclamations, saying unto him: Thou art God in Italy, thou art the saviour of the Romans: haste quickly unto Rome. But he spake to the people with a shrill voice, saying: Tomorrow about the seventh hour ye shall see me fly over the gate of the city in the form (habit) wherein ye now see me speaking unto you. Therefore, brethren, if it seem good unto you, let us go and await carefully the issue of the matter. They all therefore ran together and came unto the gate. And when it was the seventh hour, behold suddenly a dust was seen in the sky afar off, like a smoke shining with rays stretching far from it. And when he drew near to the gate, suddenly he was not seen: and thereafter he appeared, standing in the midst of the people; whom they all worshipped, and took knowledge that he was the same that was seen of them the day before.
And the brethren were not a little offended among themselves, seeing, moreover, that Paul was not at Rome, neither Timotheus nor Barnabas, for they had been sent into Macedonia by Paul, and that there was no man to comfort us, to speak nothing of them that had but just become catechumens. And as Simon exalted himself yet more by the works which he did, and many of them daily called Paul a sorcerer, and others a deceiver, of so great a multitude that had been stablished in the faith all fell away save Narcissus the presbyter and two women in the lodging of the Bithynians, and four that could no longer go out of their house, but were shut up (day and night): these gave themselves unto prayer (by day and night), beseeching the Lord that Paul might return quickly, or some other that should visit his servants, because the devil had made them fall by his wickedness.
V. And as they prayed and fasted, God was already teaching Peter at Jerusalem of that which should come to pass. For whereas the twelve years which the Lord Christ had enjoined upon him were fulfilled, he showed him a vision after this manner, saying unto him: Peter, that Simon the sorcerer whom thou didst cast out of Judaea, convicting him, hath again come before thee (prevented thee) at Rome. And that shalt thou know shortly (or, and that thou mayest know in few words): for all that did believe in me hath Satan made to fall by his craft and working: whose Power Simon approveth himself to be. But delay thee not: set forth on the morrow, and there shalt thou find a ship ready, setting sail for Italy, and within few days I will show thee my grace which hath in it no grudging. Peter then, admonished by the vision, related it unto the brethren without delay, saying: It is necessary for me to go up unto Rome to fight with the enemy and adversary of the Lord and of our brethren.
And he went down to Caesarea and embarked quickly in the ship, whereof the ladder was already drawn up, not taking any provision with him. But the governor of the ship whose name was Theon looked on Peter and said: Whatsoever we have, all is thine. For what thank have we, if we take in a man like unto ourselves who is in uncertain case (difficulty) and share not all that we have with thee? but only let us have a prosperous voyage. But Peter, giving him thanks for that which he offered, himself fasted while he was in the ship, sorrowful in mind and again consoling himself because God accounted him worthy to be a minister in his service.
And after a few days the governor of the ship rose up at the hour of his dinner and asked Peter to eat with him, and said to him: O thou, whoever thou art, I know thee not, but as I reckon, I take thee for a servant of God. For as I was steering my ship at midnight I perceived the voice of a man from heaven saying to me: Theon, Theon! And twice it called me by my name and said to me: Among them that sail with thee let Peter be greatly honoured by thee, for by him shalt thou and the rest be preserved safe without any hurt after such a course as thou hopest not for. And Peter believed that God would vouchsafe to show his providence upon the sea unto them that were in the ship, and thenceforth began Peter to declare unto Theon the mighty works of God, and how the Lord had chosen him from among the apostles, and for what business he sailed unto Italy: and daily he communicated unto him the word of God. And considering him he perceived by his walk that he was of one mind in the faith and a worthy minister (deacon).
Now when there was a calm upon the ship in Hadria (the Adriatic), Theon showed it to Peter, saying unto him: If thou wilt account me worthy, whom thou mayest baptize with the seal of the Lord thou hast an opportunity. For all that were in the ship had fallen asleep, being drunken. And Peter went down by a rope and baptized Theon in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost: and he came up out of the water rejoicing with great joy, and Peter also was glad because God had accounted Theon worthy of his name. Arid it came to pass when Theon was baptized, there appeared in the same place a youth shining and beautiful, saying unto them: Peace be unto you. And immediately Peter and Theon went up and entered into the cabin; and Peter took bread and gave thanks unto the Lord which had accounted him worthy of his holy ministry, and for that the youth had appeared unto them, saying: Peace be unto you. And he said: Thou best and alone holy one, it is thou that hast appeared unto us, O God Jesu Christ, and in thy name hath this man now been washed and sealed with thy holy seal. Therefore in thy name do I impart unto him thine eucharist, that he may be thy perfect servant without blame for ever.
And as they feasted and rejoiced in the Lord, suddenly there came a wind, not vehement but moderate, at the ship’s prow, and ceased not for six days and as many nights, until they came unto Puteoli.
VI. And when they had touched at Puteoli, Theon leapt out of the ship and went unto the inn where he was wont to lodge, to prepare to receive Peter. Now he with whom he lodged was one by name Ariston, which alway feared the Lord, and because of the Name Theon entrusted himself with him (had dealings with him). And when he was come to the inn and saw Ariston, Theon said unto him: God who hath accounted thee worthy to serve him hath communicated his grace unto me also by his holy servant Peter, who hath now sailed with me from Judaea, being commanded by our Lord to come unto Italy. And when he heard that, Ariston fell upon Theon’s neck and embraced him and besought him to bring him to the ship and show him Peter. For Ariston said that since Paul set forth unto Spain there was no man of the brethren with whom he could refresh himself, and, moreover, a certain Jew had broken into the city, named Simon, and with his charms of sorcery and his wickedness hath he made all the brotherhood fall away this way and that, so that I also fled from Rome, expecting the coming of Peter: for Paul had told us of him, and I also have seen many things in a vision. Now, therefore, I believe in my Lord that he will build up again his ministry, for all this deceit shall be rooted out from among his servants. For our Lord Jesus Christ is faithful, who is able to restore our minds. And when Theon heard these things from Ariston, who wept, his spirit was raised (increased) yet more and he was the more strengthened, because he perceived that he had believed on the living God.
But when they came together unto the ship, Peter looked upon them and smiled, being filled with the Spirit; so that Ariston falling on his face at Peter’s feet, said thus: Brother and lord, that hast part in the holy mysteries and showest the right way which is in the Lord Jesus Christ our God, who by thee hath shown unto us his coming: we have lost all them whom Paul had delivered unto us, by the working of Satan; but now I trust in the Lord who hath commanded thee to come unto us, sending thee as his messenger, that he hath accounted us worthy to see his great and wonderful works by thy means. I pray thee therefore, make haste unto the city: for I left the brethren which have stumbled, whom I saw fall into the temptation of the devil, and fled hither, saying unto them: Brethren, stand fast in the faith, for it is of necessity that within these two months the mercy of our Lord bring his servant unto you. For I had seen a vision, even Paul, saying unto me: Ariston, flee thou out of the city. And when I heard it, I believed without delay and went forth in the Lord, although I had an infirmity in my flesh, and came hither; and day by day I stood upon the sea-shore asking the sailors: Hath Peter sailed with you? But now through the abundance of the grace of God I entreat thee, let us go up unto Rome without delay, lest the teaching of this wicked man prevail yet further. And as Ariston said this with tears, Peter gave him his hand and raised him up from the earth, and Peter also groaning, said with tears: He hath prevented us which tempteth all the world by his angels; but he that hath power to save his servants from all temptations shall quench his deceits and put him beneath the feet of them that have believed in Christ whom we preach.
And, as they entered in at the gate, Theon entreated Peter, saying: Thou didst not refresh thyself on any day in so great a voyage (sea): and now after (before) so hard a journey wilt thou set out forthwith from the ship? tarry and refresh thyself, and so shalt thou set forth: for from hence to Rome upon a pavement of flint I fear lest thou be hurt by the shaking. But Peter answered and said to them: What if it come to pass that a millstone were hung upon me, and likewise upon the enemy of our Lord, even as my Lord said unto us of any that offended one of the brethren, and I were drowned in the sea? but it might be not only a millstone, but that which is far worse, even that I which am the enemy of this persecutor of his servants should die afar off from them that have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ (so Ficker: the sentence is corrupt; the sense is that Peter must at all costs be with his fellow-Christians, or he will incur even worse punishment than that threatened by our Lord’s words). And by no exhortation could Theon prevail to persuade him to tarry there even one day.
But Theon himself delivered all that was in the ship to be sold for the price which he thought good, and followed Peter unto Rome; whom Ariston brought unto the abode of Narcissus the presbyter.
VII. Now the report was noised through the city unto the brethren that were dispersed, because of Simon, that he might show him to be a deceiver and a persecutor of good men. All the multitude therefore ran together to see the apostle of the Lord stay (himself, or the brethren) on Christ. And on the first day of the week when the multitude was assembled to see Peter, Peter began to say with a loud voice: Ye men here present that trust in Christ, ye that for a little space have suffered temptation, learn for what cause God sent his Son into the world, and wherefore he made him to be born of the Virgin Mary; for would he so have done if not to procure us some grace or dispensation? even because he would take away all offence and all ignorance and all the contrivance of the devil, his attempts (beginnings) and his strength wherewith he prevailed aforetime, before our God shined forth in the world. And whereas men through ignorance fell into death by many and divers infirmities, Almighty God, moved with compassion, sent his Son into the world. With whom I was; and he (or I) walked upon the water, whereof I myself remain awitness, and do testify that he then worked in the world by signs and wonders, all of which he did.
I do confess, dearly-beloved brethren, that I was with him: yet I denied him, even our Lord Jesus Christ, and that not once only, but thrice; for there were evil dogs that were come about me as they did unto the Lord’s prophets. And the Lord imputed it not unto me, but turned unto me and had compassion on the infirmity of my flesh, when (or so that) afterward I bitterly bewailed myself, and lamented the weakness of my faith, because I was befooled by the devil and kept not in mind the word of my Lord. And now I say unto you, O men and brethren, which are gathered together in the name of Jesus Christ: against you also hath the deceiver Satan aimed his arrows, that ye might depart out of the way. But faint not, brethren, neither let your spirit fall, but be strong and persevere and doubt not: for if Satan caused me to stumble, whom the Lord had in great honour, so that I denied the light of mine hope, and if he overthrew me and persuaded me to flee as if I had put my trust in a man, what think ye will he do unto you which are but young in the faith? Did ye suppose that he would not turn you away to make you enemies of the kingdom of God, and cast you down into perdition by a new (or the last) deceit? For whomsoever he casteth out from the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, he is a son of perdition for ever. Turn yourselves, therefore, brethren, chosen of the Lord, and be strong in God Almighty, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom no man hath seen at any time, neither can see, save he who hath believed in him. And be ye aware whence this temptation hath come upon you. For it is not only by words that I would convince you that this is Christ whom I preach, but also by deeds and exceeding great works of power do I exhort you by the faith that is in Christ Jesus, that none of you look for any other save him that was despised and mocked of the Jews, even this Nazarene which was crucified and died and the third day rose again.
VIII. And the brethren repented and entreated Peter to fight against Simon: (who said that he was the power of God, and lodged in the house of Marcellus a senator, whom he had convinced by his charms) saying: Believe us, brother Peter: there was no man among men so wise as this Marcellus. All the widows that trusted in Christ had recourse unto him; all the fatherless were fed by him; and what more, brother? all the poor called Marcellus their patron, and his house was called the house of the strangers and of the poor, and the emperor said unto him: I will keep thee out of every office, lest thou despoil the provinces to give gifts unto the Christians. And Marcellus answered: All my goods are also thine. And Caesar said to him: Mine they would be if thou keptest them for me; but now they are not mine, for thou givest them to whom thou wilt, and I know not to what vile persons. Having this, then, before our eyes, brother Peter, we report it to thee, how the great mercy of this man is turned unto blasphemy; for if he had not turned, neither should we have departed from the holy faith of God our Lord. And now doth this Marcellus in anger repent him of his good deeds, saying: All this substance have I spent in all this time, vainly believing that I gave it for the knowledge of God! So that if any stranger cometh to the door of his house, he smiteth him with a staff and biddeth him be beaten, saying: Would God I had not spent so much money upon these impostors: and yet more doth he say, blaspheming. But if there abide in thee any mercy of our Lord and aught of the goodness of his commandments, do thou succour the error of this man who hath done so many alms-deeds unto the servants of God.
And Peter, when he perceived this, was smitten with sharp affliction and said: O the divers arts and temptations of the devil! O the contrivances and devices of the wicked! he that nourisheth up for himself a mighty fire in the day of wrath, the destruction of simple men, the ravening wolf, the devourer and scatterer of eternal life! Thou didst enmesh the first man in concupiscence and bind him with thine old iniquity and with the chain of the flesh: thou art wholly the exceeding bitter fruit of the tree of bitterness, who sendest divers lusts upon men. Thou didst compel Judas my fellow-disciple and fellow-apostle to do wickedly and deliver up our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall punish thee therefor. Thou didst harden the heart of Herod and didst inflame Pharaoh and compel him to fight against Moses the holy servant of God; thou didst give boldness unto Caiaphas, that he should deliver our Lord Jesus Christ unto the unrighteous multitude; and even until now thou shootest at innocent souls with thy poisonous arrows. Thou wicked one, enemy of all men, be thou accursed from the Church of him the Son of the holy God ommpotent and as a brand cast out of the fire shalt thou be quenched by the servants of our Lord Jesus Christ. Upon thee let thy blackness be turned and upon thy children, an evil seed; upon thee be turned thy wickedness and thy threatenings; upon thee and thine angels be thy temptations, thou beginning of malice and bottomless pit of darkness! Let thy darkness that thou hast be with thee and with thy vessels which thou ownest! Depart from them that shall believe in God, depart from the servants of Christ and from them that desire to be his soldiers. Keep thou to thyself thy garments of darkness! Without cause knockest thou at other men’s doors, which are not thine but of Christ Jesus that keepeth them. For thou, ravening wolf, wouldest carry off the sheep that are not thine but of Christ Jesus, who keepeth them with all care and diligence.
IX. As Peter spake thus with great sorrow of mind, many were added unto them that believed on the Lord. But the brethren besought Peter to join battle with Simon and not suffer him any longer to vex the people. And without delay Peter went quickly out of the synagogue (assembly) and went unto the house of Marcellus, where Simon lodged: and much people followed him. And when he came to the door, he called the porter and said to him: Go, say unto Simon: Peter because of whom thou fleddest out of Judaea waiteth for thee at the door. The porter answered and said to Peter: Sir, whether thou be Peter, I know not: but I have a command; for he had knowledge that yesterday thou didst enter into the city, and said unto me: Whether it be by day or by night, at whatsoever hour he cometh, say that I am not within. And Peter said to the young man: Thou hast well said in reporting that which he compelled thee to say. And Peter turned unto the people that followed him and said: Ye shall now see a great and marvellous wonder. And Peter seeing a great dog bound with a strong chain, went to him and loosed him, and when he was loosed the dog received a man’s voice and said unto Peter: What dost thou bid me to do, thou servant of the unspeakable and living God? Peter said unto him: Go in and say unto Simon in the midst of his company: Peter saith unto thee, Come forth abroad, for thy sake am I come to Rome, thou wicked one and deceiver of simple souls. And immediately the dog ran and entered in, and rushed into the midst of them that were with Simon, and lifted up his forefeet and in a loud voice said: Thou Simon, Peter the servant of Christ who standeth at the door saith unto thee: Come forth abroad, for thy sake am I come to Rome, thou most wicked one and deceiver of simple souls. And when Simon heard it, and beheld the incredible sight, he lost the words wherewith he was deceiving them that stood by, and all of them were amazed.
X. But when Marcellus saw it he went out to the door and east himself at Peter’s feet and said: Peter, I embrace thy feet, thou holy servant of the holy God; I have sinned greatly: but exact thou not my sins, if there be in thee the true faith of Christ, whom thou preachest, if thou remember his commandments, to hate no man, to be unkind to no man, as I learned from thy fellow apostle Paul; keep not in mind my faults, but pray for me unto the Lord, the holy Son of God whom I have provoked to wrath -for I have persecuted his servants- that I be not delivered with the sins of Simon unto eternal fire; who so persuaded me, that I set up a statue to him with this inscription: ‘To Simon the new (young) God.’ If I knew, O Peter, that thou couldest be won with money, I would give thee all my substance, yea I would give it and despise it, that I might gain my soul. If I had sons, I would account them as nothing, if only I might believe in the living God. But I confess that he would not have deceived me save that he said that he was the power of God; yet will I tell thee, O most gentle (sweet) Peter: I was not worthy to hear thee, thou servant of God, neither was I stablished in the faith of God which is in Christ; therefore was I made to stumble. I beseech thee, therefore, take not ill that which I am about to say, that Christ our Lord whom thou preachest in truth said unto thy fellow-apostles in thy presence: If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain: Remove thyself: and straightway it shall remove itself. But this Simon said that thou, Peter, wast without faith when thou didst doubt, in the waters. And I have heard that Christ said this also: They that are with me have not understood me. If, then, ye upon whom he laid his hands, whom also he chose, did doubt, I, therefore, having this witness, repent me, and take refuge in thy prayers. Receive my soul, who have fallen away from our Lord and from his promise. But I believe that he will have mercy upon me that repent. For the Almighty is faithful to forgive me my sins.
But Peter said with a loud voice: Unto thee, our Lord, be glory and splendour, O God Almighty, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Unto thee be praise and glory and honour, world without end. Amen. Because thou hast now fully strengthened and stablished us in thee in the sight of all, holy Lord, confirm thou Marcellus, and send thy peace upon him and upon his house this day: and whatsoever is lost or out of the way, thou alone canst turn them all again; we beseech thee, Lord, shepherd of the sheep that once were scattered, but now shall be gathered in one by thee. So also receive thou Marcellus as one of thy lambs and suffer him no longer to go astray (revel) in error or ignorance. Yea, Lord, receive him that with anguish and tears entreateth thee.
XI. And as Peter spake thus and embraced Mareellus, Peter turned himself unto the multitude that stood by him and saw there one that laughed (smiled), in whom was a very evil spirit. And Peter said unto him: Whosoever thou art that didst laugh, show thyself openly unto all that are present. And hearing this the young man ran into the court of the house and cried out with a loud voice and dashed himself against the wall and said: Peter, there is a great contention between Simon and the dog whom thou sentest; for Simon saith to the dog: Say that I am not here. Unto whom the dog saith more than thou didst charge him; and when he hath accomplished the mystery which thou didst command him, he shall die at thy feet. But Peter said: And thou also, devil, whosoever thou art, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, go out of that young man and hurt him not at all: show thyself unto all that stand here. When the young man heard it, he ran forth and caught hold on a great statue of marble which was set in the court of the house, and brake it in pieces with his feet. Now it was a statue of Caesar. Which Marcellus beholding smote his forehead and said unto Peter: A great crime hath been committed; for if this be made known unto Caesar by some busybody, he will afflict us with sore punishments. And Peter said to him: I see thee not the same that thou wast a little while ago, for thou saidst that thou wast ready to spend all thy substance to save thy soul. But if thou indeed repentest, believing in Christ with thy whole heart, take in thine hands of the water that runneth down, and pray to the Lord, and in his name sprinkle it upon the broken pieces of the statue and it shall be whole as it was before. And Marcellus, nothing doubting, but believing with his whole heart, before he took the water lifted up his hands and said: I believe in thee, O Lord Jesu Christ: for I am now proved by thine apostle Peter, whether I believe aright in thine holy name. Therefore I take water in mine hands, and in thy name do I sprinkle these stones that the statue may become whole as it was before. If, therefore, Lord, it be thy will that I continue in the body and suffer nothing at Caesar’s hand, let this stone be whole as it was before. And he sprinkled the water upon the stones, and the statue became whole, whereat Peter exulted that Marcellus had not doubted in asking of the Lord, and Marcellus was exalted in spirit for that such a sign was first wrought by his hands; and he therefore believed with his whole heart in the name of Jesus Christ the Son of God, by whom all things impossible are made possible.
XII. But Simon within the house said thus to the dog: Tell Peter that I am not within. Whom the dog answered in the presence of Marcellus: Thou exceeding wicked and shameless one, enemy of all that live and believe on Christ Jesus, here is a dumb animal sent unto thee which hath received a human voice to confound thee and show thee to be a deceiver and a liar. Hast thou taken thought so long, to say at last: ‘Tell him that I am not within?’ Art thou not ashamed to utter thy feeble and useless words against Peter the minister and apostle of Christ, as if thou couldst hide thee from him that hath commanded me to speak against thee to thy face: and that not for thy sake but for theirs whom thou wast deceiving and sending unto destruction? Cursed therefore shalt thou be, thou enemy and corrupter of the way of the truth of Christ, who shall prove by fire that dieth not and in outer darkness, thine iniquities that thou hast committed. And having thus said, the dog went forth and the people followed him, leaving Simon alone. And the dog came unto Peter as he sat with the multitude that was come to see Peter’s face, and the dog related what he had done unto Simon. And thus spake the dog unto the angel and apostle of the true God: Peter, thou wilt have a great contest with the enemy of Christ and his servants, and many that have been deceived by him shalt thou turn unto the faith; wherefore thou shalt receive from God the reward of thy work. And when the dog had said this he fell down at the apostle Peter’s feet and gave up the ghost. And when the great multitude saw with amazement the dog speaking, they began then, some to throw themselves down at Peter’s feet, and some said: Show us another sign, that we may believe in thee as the minister of the living God, for Simon also did many signs in our presence and therefore did we follow him.
XIII. And Peter turned and saw a herring (sardine) hung in a window, and took it and said to the people: If ye now see this swimming in the water like a fish, will ye be able to believe in him whom I preach? And they said with one voice: Verily we will believe thee. Then he said -now there was a bath for swimming at hand: In thy name, O Jesu Christ, forasmuch as hitherto it is not believed in, in the sight of all these live and swim like a fish. And he cast the herring into the bath, and it lived and began to swim. And all the people saw the fish swimming, and it did not so at that hour only, lest it should be said that it was a delusion (phantasm), but he made it to swim for a long time, so that they brought much people from all quarters and showed them the herring that was made a living fish, so that certain of the people even cast bread to it; and they saw that it was whole. And seeing this, many followed Peter and believed in the Lord.
And they assembled themselves day and night unto the house of Narcissus the presbyter. And Peter discoursed unto them of the scriptures of the prophets and of those things which our Lord Jesus Christ had wrought both in word and in deeds.
XIV. But Marcellus was confirmed daily by the signs which he saw wrought by Peter through the grace of Jesus Christ which he granted unto him. And Mareellus ran upon Simon as he sat in his house in the dining chamber, and cursed him and said unto him: Thou most adverse and pestilent of men, corrupter of my soul and my house, who wouldest have made me fall away from my Lord and Saviour Christ! and laying hands on him he commanded him to be thrust out of his house. And the servants having received such licence, covered him with reproaches; some buffeted his face, others beat him with sticks, others cast stones, others emptied out vessels full of filth upon his head, even those who on his account had fled from their master and been a long time fettered; and other their fellowservants of whom he had spoken evil to their master reproached him. saying to him: Now by the will of God who hath had mercy on us and on our master, do we recompense thee with a fit reward. And Simon, shrewdly beaten and cast out of the house, ran unto the house where Peter lodged, even the house of Narcissus, and standing at the gate cried out: Lo, here am I, Simon: come thou down, Peter, and I will convict thee that thou hast believed on a man which is a Jew and a carpenter’s son.
XV. And when it was told Peter that Simon had said this, Peter sent unto him a woman which had a sucking child, saying to her: Go down quickly, and thou wilt find one that seeketh me. For thee there is no need that thou answer him at all, but keep silence and hear what the child whom thou holdest shall say unto him. The woman therefore went down. Now the child whom she suckled was seven months old; and it received a man’s voice and said unto Simon: O thou abhorred of God and men, and destruction of truth, and evil seed of all corruption, O fruit by nature unprofitable! but only for a short and little season shalt thou be seen, and thereafter eternal punishment is laid up for thee. Thou son of a shameless father, that never puttest forth thy roots for good but for poison, faithless generation void of all hope! thou wast not confounded when a dog reproved thee; I a child am compelled of God to speak, and not even now art thou ashamed. But even against thy will, on the sabbath day that cometh, another shall bring thee into the forum of Julius that it may be shown what manner of man thou art. Depart therefore from the gate wherein walk the feet of the holy; for thou shalt no more corrupt the innocent souls whom thou didst turn out of the way and make sad; in Christ, therefore, shall be shown thine evil nature, and thy devices shall be cut in pieces. And now speak I this last word unto thee: Jesus Christ saith to thee: Be thou stricken dumb in my name, and depart out of Rome until the sabbath that cometh. And forthwith he became dumb and his speech was bound; and he went out of Rome until the sabbath and abode in a stable. But the woman returned with the child unto Peter and told him and the rest of the brethren what the child had said unto Simon: and they magnified the Lord which had shown these things unto men.
XVI. Now when the night fell, Peter, while yet waking, beheld Jesus clad in a vesture of brightness, smiling and saying unto him: Already is much people of the brotherhood returned through me and through the signs which thou hast wrought in my name. But thou shalt have a contest of the faith upon the sabbath that cometh, and many more of the Gentiles and of the Jews shall be converted in my name unto me who was reproached and mocked and spat upon. For I will be present with thee when thou askest for signs and wonders, and thou shalt convert many: but thou shalt have Simon opposing thee by the works of his father; yet all his works shall be shown to be charms and contrivances of sorcery. But now slack thou not, and whomsoever I shall send unto thee thou shalt establish in my name. And when it was light, he told the brethren how the Lord had appeared unto him and what he had commanded him:
XVII. [This episode, inserted most abruptly, is believed by Vouaux to have been inserted here by the compiler of the Greek original of the Vercelli Acts: but it was not composed by him, but transferred with very slight additions from the earlier part of the Acts-now lost- of which the scene was laid in Judaea. I incline to favour this view.)
But believe ye me, men and brethren, I drove this Simon out of Judaea where he did many evils with his magical charms, lodging in Judaea with a certain woman Eubula, who was of honourable estate in this world, having store of gold and pearls of no small price. Here did Simon enter in by stealth with two others like unto himself, and none of the household saw them two, but Simon only, and by means of a spell they took away all the woman’s gold, and disappeared. But Eubula, when she found what was done, began to torture her household, saying: Ye have taken occasion by this man of God and spoiled me, when ye saw him entering in to me to honour a mere woman; but his name is as the name of the Lord.
As I fasted for three days and prayed that this matter should be made plain, I saw in a vision Italicus and Antulus (Antyllus?) whom I had instructed in the name of the Lord, and a boy naked and chained giving me a wheaten loaf and saying unto me: Peter, endure yet two days and thou shalt see the mighty works of God. As for all that is lost out of the house of Eubula, Simon hath used art magic and hath caused a delusion, and with two others hath stolen it away: whom thou shalt see on the third day at the ninth hour, at the gate which leadeth unto Neapolis, selling unto a goldsmith by name Agrippinus a young satyr of gold of two pound weight, having in it a precious stone. But for thee there is no need that thou touch it, lest thou be defiled; but let there be with thee some of the matron’s servants, and thou shalt show them the shop of the goldsmith and depart from them. For by reason of this matter shall many believe on the name of the Lord, and all that which these men by their devices and wickedness have oft-times stolen shall be openly showed. When I heard that, I went unto Eubula and found her sitting with her clothes rent and her hair disordered, mourning; unto whom I said: Eubula, rise up from thy mourning and compose thy face and order thy hair and put on raiment befitting thee, and pray unto the Lord Jesus Christ that judgeth every soul: for he is the invisible Son of God, by whom thou must be saved, if only thou repent with thine whole heart of thy former sins: and receive thou power from him; for behold, by me the Lord saith to thee: Thou shalt find all whatsoever thou hast lost. And after thou hast received them, take thou care that he find thee, that thou mayest renounce this present world and seek for everlasting refreshment. Hearken therefore unto this: Let certain of thy people keep watch at the gate that leadeth to Neapolis on the day after to-morrow at about the ninth hour, and they shall see two young men having a young satyr of gold, of two pound weight, set with gems, as a vision hath shown me: which thing they will offer for sale to one Agrippinus of the household of godliness and of the faith which is in the Lord Jesus Christ: by whom it shall be showed thee that thou shouldest believe in the living God and not on Simon the magician, the unstable devil, who hath desired that thou shouldest remain in sorrow, and thine innocent household be tormented; who by fair words and speech only hath deceived thee, and with his mouth only spake of godliness, whereas he is wholly possessed of ungodliness. For when thou didst think to keep holy-day, and settedst up thine idol and didst veil it and set out all thine ornaments upon a table (round three-legged table), he brought in two young men whom no man of yours saw, by a magic charm, and they stole away thine ornaments and were no more seen. But his device hath had no success (place); for my God hath manifested it unto me, to the end thou shouldest not be deceived, neither perish in hell, for those sins which thou hast committed ungodly and contrary to God, who is full of all truth, and the righteous judge of quick and dead; and there is none other hope of life unto men save through him, by whom those things which thou hast lost are recovered unto thee: and now do thou gain thine own soul.
But she cast herself down before my feet, saying: O man, who thou art I know not; but him I received as a servant of God, and whatsoever he asked of me to give it unto the poor, I gave much by his hands, and beside that I did give much unto him. What hurt did I do him, that he should contrive all this against mine house? Unto whom Peter said: There is no faith to be put in words, but in acts and deeds: but we must go on with that we have begun. So I left her and went with two stewards of Eubula and came to Agrippinus and said to him: See that thou take note of these men; for to-morrow two young men will come to thee, desiring to sell thee a young satyr of gold set with jewels, which belongeth to the mistress of these: and thou shalt take it as it were to look upon it, and praise the work of the craftsman, and then when these come in, God will bring the rest to the proof. And on the next day the stewards of the matron came about the ninth hour, and also those young men, willing to sell unto Agrippinus the young satyr of gold. And they being forthwith taken, it was reported unto the matron, and she in distress of mind came to the deputy, and with a loud voice declared all that had befallen her. And when Pompeius the deputy beheld her in distress of mind, who never had come forth abroad, he forthwith rose up from the judgement seat and went unto the praetorium, and bade those men to be brought and tortured; and while they were being tormented they confessed that they did it in the service of Simon, which, said they, persuaded us thereto with money. And being tortured a long time, they confessed that all that Eubula had lost was laid up under the earth in a cave on the other side of the gate, and many other things besides. And when Pompeius heard this, he rose up to go unto the gate, with those two men, each of them bound with two chains. And lo, Simon came in at the gate, seeking them because they tarried long. And he seeth a great multitude coming, and those two bound with chains; and he understood and betook him to flight, and appeared no more in Judaea unto this day. But Eubula, when she had recovered all her goods, gave them for the service of the poor, and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and was comforted; and despised and renounced this world, and gave unto the widows and fatherless, and clothed the poor. And after a long time she received her rest (sleep). Now these things, dearly beloved brethren, were done in Judaea, whereby he that is called the angel of Satan was driven out thence.
XVIII. Brethren, dearest and most beloved, let us fast together and pray unto the Lord. For he that drove him out thence is able also to root him out of this place: and let him grant unto us power to withstand him and his magical charms, and to prove that he is the angel of Satan. For on the sabbath our Lord shall bring him, though he would not, unto the forum of Julius. Let us therefore bow our knees unto Christ, which heareth us, though we cry not; it is he that seeth us, though he be not seen with these eyes, yet is he in us: if we will, he will not forsake us. Let us therefore purify our souls of every evil temptation, and God will not depart from us. Yea, if we but wink with our eyes, he is present with us.
XIX. Now after these things were spoken by Peter, Marcellus also came in, and said: Peter, I have for thee cleansed mine whole house from the footsteps (traces) of Simon, and wholly done away even his wicked dust. For I took water and called upon the holy name of Jesus Christ, together with mine other servants which belong unto him, and sprinkled all my house and all the dining chambers and all the porticoes, even unto the outer gate, and said: I know that thou, Lord Jesu Christ, art pure and untouched of any uncleanness: so let mine enemy and adversary be driven out from before thy face. And now, thou blessed one, have I bidden the widows and old women to assemble unto thee in my house which is purified (MS. common), that they may pray with us. And they shall receive every one a piece of gold in the name of the ministry (service), that they may be called indeed servants of Christ. And all else is now prepared for the service. I entreat thee, therefore, O blessed Peter, consent unto their request, so that thou also pay honour unto (ornament) their prayers in my stead; let us then go and take Narcissus also, and whosoever of the brethren are here. So then Peter consented unto his simplicity, to fulfil his desire, and went forth with him and the rest of the brethren.
XX. But Peter entered in, and beheld one of the aged women, a widow, that was blind, and her daughter giving her her hand and leading her into Marcellus’ house; and Peter said unto her: Come hither, mother: from this day forward Jesus giveth thee his right hand, by whom we have light unapproachable which no darkness hideth; who saith unto thee by me: Open thine eyes and see, and walk by thyself. And forthwith the widow saw Peter laying his hand upon her.
And Peter entered into the dining-hall and saw that the Gospel was being read, and he rolled up the book and said: Ye men that believe and hope in Christ, learn in what manner the holy Scripture of our Lord ought to be declared: whereof we by his grace wrote that which we could receive, though yet it appear unto you feeble, yet according to our power, even that which can be endured to be borne by (or instilled into) human flesh. We ought therefore first to know the will and the goodness of God, how that when error was everywhere spread abroad, and many thousands of men were being cast down into perdition, God was moved by his mercy to show himself in another form and in the likeness of man, concerning which neither the Jews nor we were able worthily to be enlightened. For every one of us according as he could contain the sight, saw, as he was able. Now will I expound unto you that which was newly read unto you. Our Lord, willing that I should behold his majesty in the holy mount -I, when I with the sons of Zebedee saw the brightness of his light, fell as one dead and shut mine eyes, and heard such a voice from him as I am not able to describe, and thought myself to be blinded by his brightness. And when I recovered (breathed again) a little I said within myself: Peradventure my Lord hath brought me hither that he might blind me. And I said: If this also be thy will, Lord, I resist not. And he gave me his hand and raised me up; and when I arose I saw him again in such a form as I was able to take in. As, therefore, the merciful God, dearly beloved brethren, carried our infirmities and bare our sins (as the prophet saith: He beareth our sins and suffereth for us; but we did esteem him to be in affliction and smitten with plagues), for he is in the Father and the Father in him -he also is himself the fulness of all majesty, who hath shown unto us all his good things: he did eat and drink for our sakes, himself being neither an-hungered nor athirst; he carried and bare reproaches for our sakes, he died and rose again because of us; who both defended me when I sinned and comforted me by his greatness, and will comfort you also that ye may love him: this God who is great and small, fair and foul, young and old, seen in time and unto eternity invisible; whom the hand of man hath not held, yet is he held by his servants; whom no flesh hath seen, yet now seeth; who is the word proclaimed by the prophets and now appearing (so Gk.: Lat. not heard of but now known); not subject to suffering, but having now made trial of suffering for our sake (or like unto us); never chastised, yet now chastised; who was before the world and hath been comprehended in time; the great beginning of all principality, yet delivered over unto princes; beautiful, but among us lowly; seen of all yet foreseeing all (MS. foul of view, yet foreseeing). This Jesus ye have, brethren, the door, the light, the way, the bread, the water, the life, the resurrection, the refreshment, the pearl, the treasure, the seed, the abundance (harvest), the mustard seed, the vine, the plough, the grace, the faith, the word: he is all things and there is none other greater than he. Unto him be praise, world without end. Amen.
XXI. And when the ninth hour was fully come, they rose up to make prayer. And behold certain widows, of the aged, unknown to Peter, which sat there, being blind and not believing, cried out, saying unto Peter: We sit together here, O Peter, hoping and believing in Christ Jesus: as therefore thou hast made one of us to see, we entreat thee, lord Peter, grant unto us also his mercy and pity. But Peter said to them: If there be in you the faith that is in Christ, if it be firm in you, then perceive in your mind that which ye see not with your eyes, and though your ears are closed, yet let them be open in your mind within you. These eyes shall again be shut, seeing nought but men and oxen and dumb beasts and stones and sticks; but not every eye seeth Jesus Christ. Yet now, Lord, let thy sweet and holy name succour these persons; do thou touch their eyes; for thou art able -that these may see with their eyes.
And when all had prayed, the hall wherein they were shone as when it lighteneth, even with such a light as cometh in the clouds, yet not such a light as that of the daytime, but unspeakable, invisible, such as no man can describe, even such that we were beside ourselves with bewilderment, calling on the Lord and saying: Have mercy, Lord, upon us thy servants: what we are able to bear, that, Lord, give thou us; for this we can neither see nor endure. And as we lay there, only those widows stood up which were blind; and the bright light which appeared unto us entered into their eyes and made them to see. Unto whom Peter said: Tell us what ye saw. And they said: We saw an old man of such comeliness as we are not able to declare to thee; but others said: We saw a young man; and others: We saw a boy touching our eyes delicately, and so were our eyes opened. Peter therefore magnified the Lord, saying: Thou only art the Lord God, and of what lips have we need to give thee due praise? and how can we give thee thanks according to thy mercy? Therefore, brethren, as I told you but a little while since, God that is constant is greater than our thoughts, even as we have learned of these aged widows, how that they beheld the Lord in divers forms.
XXII. And having exhorted them all to think upon (understand) the Lord with their whole heart, he began together with Marcellus and the rest of the brethren to minister unto the virgins of the Lord, and to rest until the morning.
Unto whom Marcellus said: Ye holy and inviolate virgins of the Lord, hearken: Ye have a place to abide in, for these things that are called mine, whose are they save yours? depart not hence, but refresh yourselves: for upon the sabbath which cometh, even to-morrow, Simon hath a controversy with Peter the holy one of God: for as the Lord hath ever been with him, lo will Christ the Lord now stand for him as his apostle. For Peter hath continued tasting nothing, but fasting yet a day, that he may overcome the wicked adversary and persecutor of the Lord’s truth. For lo, my young men are come announcing that they have seen scaffolds being set up in the forum, and much people saying: To-morrow at daybreak two Jews are to contend here concerning the teaching (?) of God. Now therefore let us watch until the morning, praying and beseeching our Lord Jesus Christ to hear our prayers on behalf of Peter.
And Marcellus turned to sleep for a short space, and awoke and said unto Peter: O Peter, thou apostle of Christ, let us go boldly unto that which lieth before us. For just now when I turned myself to sleep for a little, I beheld thee sitting in a high place and before thee a great multitude, and a woman exceeding foul, in sight like an Ethiopian, not an Egyptian, but altogether black and filthy, clothed in rags, and with an iron collar about her neck and chains upon her hands and feet, dancing. And when thou sawest me thou saidst to me with a loud voice: Marcellus the whole power of Simon and of his God is this woman that danceth; do thou behead her. And I said to thee: Brother Peter, I am a senator of a high race, and I have never defiled my hands, neither killed so much as a sparrow at any time. And thou hearing it didst begin to cry out yet more: Come thou, our true sword, Jesu Christ. and cut not off only the head of this devil, but hew all her limbs in pieces in the sight of all these Whom I have approved in thy service. And immediately one like unto thee, O Peter, having a sword, hewed her in pieces: so that I looked earnestly upon you both, both on thee and on him that cut in pieces that devil, and marvelled greatly to see how alike ye were. And I awaked, and have told unto thee these signs of Christ. And when Peter heard it he was the more filled with courage, for that Marcellus had seen these things, knowing that the Lord alway careth for his own. And being joyful and refreshed by these words, he rose up to go unto the forum.
XXIII. Now the brethren were gathered together, and all that were in Rome, and took places every one for a piece of gold: there came together also the senators and the prefects and those in authority. And Peter came and stood in the midst, and all cried out: Show us, O Peter, who is thy God and what is his greatness which hath given thee confidence. Begrudge not the Romans; they are lovers of the gods. We have had proof of Simon, let us have it of thee; convince us, both of you, whom we ought truly to believe. And as they said these things, Simon also came in, and standing in trouble of mind at Peter’s side, at first he looked at him.
And after long silence Peter said: Ye men of Rome, be ye true judges unto us, for I say that I have believed on the living and true God; and I promise to give you proofs of him, which are known unto me, as many among you also can bear witness. For ye see that this man is now rebuked and silent, knowing that I drove him out of Judaea because of the deceits which he practised upon Eubula, an honourable and simple woman, by his art magic; and being driven out from thence, he is come hither, thinking to escape notice among you; and lo, he standeth face to face with me. Say now, Simon, didst thou not at Jerusalem fall at my feet and Paul’s, when thou sawest the healings that were wrought by our hands, and say: I pray you take of me a payment as much as ye will, that I may be able to lay hands on men and do such mighty works? And we when we heard it cursed thee, saying: Dost thou think to tempt us as if we desired to possess money? And now, fearest thou not at all? My name is Peter, because the Lord Christ vouchsafed to call me ‘prepared for all things’: for I trust in the living God by whom I shall put down thy sorceries. Now let him do in your presence the wonders which he did aforetime: and what I have now said of him, will ye not believe it?
But Simon said: Thou presumest to speak of Jesus of Nazareth, the son of a carpenter, and a carpenter himself, whose birth is recorded (or whose race dwelleth) in Judaea. Hear thou, Peter: the Romans have understanding: they are no fools. And he turned to the people and said: Ye men of Rome, is God born? is he crucified? he that hath a master is no God. And when he so spake, many said: Thou sayest well, Simon.
XXIV. But Peter said: Anathema upon thy words against (or in) Christ! Presumest thou to speak thus, whereas the prophet saith of him: Who shall declare his generation? And another prophet saith: And we saw him and he had no beauty nor comeliness. And: In the last times shall a child be born of the Holy Ghost: his mother knoweth not a man, neither doth any man say that he is his father. And again he saith: She hath brought forth and not brought forth.[From the apocryphal Ezekiel (lost)] And again: Is it a small thing for you to weary men (lit. Is it a small thing that ye make a contest for men)? Behold, a virgin shall conceive in the womb. And another prophet saith, honouring the Father: Neither did we hear her voice, neither did a midwife come in.[From the Ascension of Isaiah, xi. 14] Another prophet saith: Born not of the womb of a woman, but from a heavenly place came he down. And: A stone was cut out without hands, and smote all the kingdoms. And: The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner; and he calleth him a stone elect, precious. And again a prophet saith concerning him: And behold, I saw one like the Son of man coming upon a cloud. And what more? O ye men of Rome, if ye knew the Scriptures of the prophets, I would expound all unto you: by which Scriptures it was necessary that this should be spoken in a mystery, and that the kingdom of God should be perfected. But these things shall be opened unto you hereafter. Now turn I unto thee, Simon: do thou some one thing of those wherewith thou didst before deceive them, and I will bring it to nought through my Lord Jesus Christ. And Simon plucked up his boldness and said: If the prefect allow it (prepare yourselves and delay not for my sake).
XXV. But the prefect desired to show patience unto both, that he might not appear to do aught unjustly. And the prefect put forward one of his servants and said thus unto Simon: Take this man and deliver him to death. And to Peter he said: And do thou revive him. And unto the people the prefect said: It is now for you to judge whether of these two is acceptable unto God, he that killeth or he that maketh alive. And straightway Simon spake in the ear of the lad and made him speechless, and he died.
And as there began to be a murmuring among the people, one of the widows who were nourished (refreshed) in Marcellus’ house, standing behind the multitude, cried out: O Peter, servant of God, my son is dead, the only one that I had. And the people made place for her and led her unto Peter: and she cast herself down at his feet, saying: I had one only son, which with his hands (shoulders) furnished me with nourishment: he raised me up, he carried me: now that he is dead, who shall reach me a hand? Unto whom Peter said: Go, with these for witness, and bring hither thy son, that they may see and be able to believe that by the power of God he is raised, and that this man (Simon) may behold it and fail (or, and she when she saw him, fell down). And Peter said to the young men: We have need of some young men, and, moreover, of such as will believe. And forthwith thirty young men arose, which were prepared to carry her or to bring thither her son that was dead. And whereas the widow was hardly returned to herself, the young men took her up; and she was crying out and saying: Lo, my son, the servant of Christ hath sent unto thee: tearing her hair and her face. Now the young men which were come examined (Gk. apparently, held) the lad’s nostrils to see whether he were indeed dead; and seeing that he was dead of a truth, they had compassion on the old woman and said: If thou so will, mother, and hast confidence in the God of Peter, we will take him up and carry him thither that he may raise him up and restore him unto thee.
XXVI. And as they said these things, the prefect (in the forum, Lat.), looking earnestly upon Peter (said: What sayest thou Peter?) Behold my lad is dead, who also is dear unto the emperor, and I spared him not, though I had with me other young men; but I desired rather to make trial (tempt) of thee and of the God whom thou (preachest), whether ye be true, and therefore I would have this lad die. And Peter said: God is not tempted nor proved, O Agrippa, but if he be loved and entreated he heareth them that are worthy. But since now my God and Lord Jesus Christ is tempted among you, who hath done so great signs and wonders by my hands to turn you from your sins -now also in the sight of all do thou, Lord, at my word, by thy power raise up him whom Simon hath slain by touching him. And Peter said unto the master of the lad: Go, take hold on his right hand, and thou shalt have him alive and walking with thee. And Agrippa the prefect ran and went to the lad and took his hand and raised him up. And all the multitude seeing it cried: One is the God, one is the God of Peter.
XXVII. In the meanwhile the widow’s son also was brought upon a bed by the young men, and the people made way for them and brought them unto Peter. And Peter lifted up his eyes unto heaven and stretched forth his hands and said: O holy Father of thy Son Jesus Christ. who hast granted us thy power, that we may through thee ask and obtain, and despise all that is in the world, and follow thee only, who art seen of few and wouldest be known of many: shine thou about us, Lord, enlighten us, appear thou, raise up the son of this aged widow, which cannot help herself without her son. And I, repeating the word of Christ my Lord, say unto thee: Young man, arise and walk with thy mother so long as thou canst do her good; and thereafter shalt thou serve me after a higher sort, ministering in the lot of a deacon of the bishop (or, and of a bishop). And immediately the dead man rose up, and the multitudes saw it and marvelled, and the people cried out: Thou art God the Saviour, thou, the God of Peter, the invisible God, the Saviour. And they spake among themselves, marvelling indeed at the power of a man that called upon his Lord with a word; and they received it unto sanctification.
XXVIII. The fame of it therefore being spread throughout the city, there came the mother of a certain senator, and cast herself into the midst of the people, and fell at Peter’s feet, saying: I have learned from my people that thou art a servant of the merciful God, and dost impart his grace unto all them that desire this light. Impart therefore the light unto my son, for I know that thou begrudgest none; turn not away from a matron that entreateth thee. Unto whom Peter said: Wilt thou believe on my God, by whom thy son shall be raised? And the mother said with a loud voice, weeping: I believe, O Peter, I believe! and all the people cried out: Grant the mother her son. But Peter said: Let him be brought hither before all these. And Peter turned himself to the people and said: Ye men of Rome, I also am one of yourselves, and bear a man’s body and am a sinner, but have obtained mercy: look not therefore upon me as though I did by mine own power that which I do, but by the power of my Lord Jesus Christ, who is the judge of quick and dead. In him do I believe and by him am I sent, and have confidence when I call upon him to raise the dead. Go thou therefore also, O woman, and cause thy son to be brought hither and to rise again. And the woman passed through the midst of the people and went into the street, running, with great joy, and believing in her mind she came unto her house, and by means of her young men she took him up and came unto the forum. Now she bade the young men put caps [pilei, a sign that they were now freed.] on their heads, and to walk before the bier, and all that she had determined to burn upon the body of her son to be borne before his bier; and when Peter saw it he had compassion upon the dead body and upon her. And she came unto the multitude, while all bewailed her; and a great crowd of senators and matrons followed after, to behold the wonderful works of God: for this Nicostratus which was dead was exceeding noble and beloved of the senate. And they brought him and set him down before Peter. And Peter called for silence, and with a loud voice said: Ye men of Rome, let there now be a just judgement betwixt me and Simon; and judge ye whether of us two believeth in the living God, he or I. Let him raise up the body that lieth here, and believe in him as the angel of God. But if he be not able, and I call upon my God and restore the son alive unto his mother, then believe ye that this man is a sorcerer and a deceiver, which is entertained among you. And when all they heard these things, they thought that it was right which Peter had spoken, and they encouraged Simon, saying: Now, if there be aught in thee, show it openly! either overcome, or thou shall be overcome! (or, convince us, or thou shalt be convicted). Why standest thou still? Come, begin! But Simon, when he saw them all instant with him, stood silent; and thereafter, when he saw the people silent and looking upon him, Simon cried out, saying: Ye men of Rome, if ye behold the dead man arise, will ye cast Peter out of the city? And all the people said: We will not only cast him out, but on the very instant will we burn him with fire.
Then Simon went to the head of the dead man and stooped down and thrice raised himself up (or, and said thrice: Raise thyself), and showed the people that he (the dead) lifted his head and moved it, and opened his eyes and bowed himself a little unto Simon. And straightway they began to ask for wood and torches, wherewith to burn Peter. But Peter receiving strength of Christ, lifted up his voice and said unto them that cried out against him: Now see I, ye people of Rome, that ye are -I must not say fools and vain, so long as your eyes and your ears and your hearts are blinded. How long shall your understanding be darkened? see ye not that ye are bewitched, supposing that a dead man is raised, who hath not lifted himself up? It would have sufficed me, ye men of Rome, to hold my peace and die without speaking, and to leave you among the deceits of this world; but I have the chastisement of fire unquenchable before mine eyes. If therefore it seem good unto you, let the dead man speak, let him arise if he liveth, let him loose his jaw that is bound, with his hands, let him call upon his mother, let him say unto you that cry out: Wherefore cry ye? let him beckon unto us with his hand. If now ye would see that he is dead, and yourselves bewitched, let this man depart from the bier, who hath persuaded you to depart from Christ, and ye shall see that the dead man is such as ye saw him brought hither.
But Agrippa the prefect had no longer patience, but thrust away Simon with his own hands, and again the dead man lay as he was before. And the people were enraged, and turned away from the sorcery of Simon and began to cry out: Hearken, O Caesar! if now the dead riseth not, let Simon burn instead of Peter, for verily he hath blinded us. But Peter stretched forth his hand and said: O men of Rome, have patience! I say not unto you that if the lad be raised Simon shall burn; for if I say it, ye will do it. The people cried out: Against thy will, Peter, we will do it. Unto whom Peter said: If ye continue in this mind the lad shall not arise: for we know not to render evil for evil, but we have learned to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors. For if even this man can repent, it were better; for God will not remember evil. Let him come, therefore, into the light of Christ; but if he cannot, let him possess the part of his father the devil, but let not your hands be defiled. And when he had thus spoken unto the people, he went unto the lad, and before he raised him, he said to his mother: These young men whom thou hast set free in the honour of thy son, can yet serve their God when he liveth, being free; for I know that the soul of some is hurt if they shall see thy son arise and know that these shall yet be in bondage: but let them all continue free and receive their sustenance as they did before, for thy son is about to rise again; and let them be with him. And Peter looked long upon her, to see her thoughts. And the mother of the lad said: What other can I do? therefore before the prefect I say: whatsoever I was minded to burn upon the body of my son, let them possess it. And Peter said: Let the residue be distributed unto the widows. Then Peter rejoiced in soul and said in the spirit: O Lord that art merciful, Jesu Christ, show thyself unto thy Peter that calleth upon thee like as thou hast always shown him mercy and loving-kindness: and in the presence of all these which have obtained freedom, that these may become thy servants, let Nicostratus now arise. And Peter touched the lad’s side and said: Arise. And the lad arose and put off his grave clothes and sat up and loosed his jaw, and asked for other raiment; and he came down from the bier and said unto Peter: I pray thee, O man of God, let us go unto our Lord Christ whom I saw speaking with me; who also showed me unto thee and said to thee: Bring him hither unto me, for he is mine. And when Peter heard this of the lad, he was strengthened yet more in soul by the help of the Lord; and Peter said unto the people: Ye men of Rome, it is thus that the dead are raised up, thus do they converse, thus do they arise and walk, and live so long time as God willeth. Now therefore, ye that have come together unto the sight, if ye turn not from these your evil ways, and from all your gods that are made with hands, and from all uncleanness and concupiscence, receive fellowship with Christ, believing, that ye may obtain everlasting life.
XXIX. And in the same hour they worshipped him as a God, falling down at his feet, and the sick whom they had at home, that he might heal them.
But the prefect seeing that so great a multitude waited upon Peter, signified to Peter that he should withdraw himself: and Peter told the people to come unto Marcellus’ house. But the mother of the lad besought Peter to set foot in her house. But Peter had appointed to be with Marcellus on the Lord’s day, to see the widows even as Marcellus had promised, to minister unto them with his own hands. The lad therefore that was risen again said: I depart not from Peter. And his mother, glad and rejoicing, went unto her own house. And on the next day after the sabbath she came to Marcellus’ house bringing unto Peter two thousand pieces of gold, and saying unto Peter: Divide these among the virgins of Christ which serve him. But the lad that was risen from the dead, when he saw that he had given nothing to any man, went home and opened the press and himself offered four thousand pieces of gold, saying unto Peter: Lo, I also which was raised, offer a double offering, and myself also from this day forward as a speaking sacrifice unto God.
Here begins the original Greek text as preserved in one of our two manuscripts (that at Mt. Athos). The second (Patmos) manuscript begins, as do the versions, at ch. xxxiii. The Greek and not the Latin is followed in the translation.
XXX. Now on the Lord’s day as Peter discoursed unto the brethren and exhorted them unto the faith of Christ, there being present many of the senate and many knights and rich women and matrons, and being confirmed in the faith, one woman that was there, exceeding rich, which was surnamed Chryse because every vessel of hers was of gold -for from her birth she never used a vessel of silver or glass, but golden ones only- said unto Peter: Peter, thou servant of God, he whom thou callest God appeared unto me in a dream and said: Chryse, carry thou unto Peter my minister ten thousand pieces of gold; for thou owest them to him. I have therefore brought them, fearing lest some harm should be done me by him that appeared unto me, which also departed unto heaven. And so saying, she laid down the money and departed. And Peter seeing it glorified the Lord, for that they that were in need should be refreshed. Certain, therefore, of them that were there said unto him: Peter, hast thou not done ill to receive the money of her? for she is ill spoken of throughout all Rome for fornication, and because she keepeth not to one husband, yea, she even hath to do with the young men of her house. Be not therefore a partner with the table of Chryse, but let that which came from her be returned unto her. But Peter hearing it laughed and said to the brethren: What this woman is in the rest of her way of life, I know not, but in that I have received this money, I did it not foolishly; for she did pay it as a debtor unto Christ, and giveth it unto the servants of Christ: for he himself hath provided for them.
XXXI. And they brought unto him also the sick on the sabbath, beseeching that they might recover of their diseases. And many were healed that were sick of the palsy, and the gout, and fevers tertian and quartan, and of every disease of the body were they healed, believing in the name of Jesus Christ, and very many were added every day unto the grace of the Lord.
But Simon the magician, after a few days were past, promised the multitude to convict Peter that he believed not in the true God but was deceived. And when he did many lying wonders, they that were firm in the faith derided him. For in diningchambers he made certain spirits enter in, which were only an appearance, and not existing in truth. And what should I more say? though he had oft-times been convicted of sorcory, he made lame men seem whole for a little space, and blind likewise, and once he appeared to make many dead to live and move, as he did with Nicostratus (Gk. Stratonicus). But Peter followed him throughout and convicted him always unto the beholders: and when he now made a sorry figure and was derided by the people of Rome and disbelieved for that he never succeeded m the things which he promised to perform, being in such a plight at last he said to them: Men of Rome, ye think now that Peter hath prevailed over me, as more powerful, and ye pay more heed to him: ye are deceived. For to-morrow I shall forsake you, godless and impious that ye are, and fly up unto God whose Power I am, though I am become weak. Whereas, then, ye have fallen, I am He that standeth, and I shall go up to my Father and say unto him: Me also, even thy son that standeth, have they desired to pull down; but I consented not unto them, and am returned back unto myself.
XXXII. And already on the morrow a great multitude assembled at the Sacred Way to see him flying. And Peter came unto the place, having seen a vision (or, to see the sight), that he might convict him in this also; for when Simon entered into Rome, he amazed the multitudes by flying: but Peter that convicted him was then not yet living at Rome: which city he thus deceived by illusion, so that some were carried away by him (amazed at him).
So then this man standing on an high place beheld Peter and began to say: Peter, at this time when I am going up before all this people that behold me, I say unto thee: If thy God is able, whom the Jews put to death, and stoned you that were chosen of him, let him show that faith in him is faith in God, and let it appear at this time, if it be worthy of God. For I, ascending up, will show myself unto all this multitude, who I am. And behold when he was lifted up on high, and all beheld him raised up above all Rome and the temples thereof and the mountains, the faithful looked toward Peter. And Peter seeing the strangeness of the sight cried unto the Lord Jesus Christ: If thou suffer this man to accomplish that which he hath set about, now will all they that have believed on thee be offended, and the signs and wonders which thou hast given them through me will not be believed: hasten thy grace, O Lord, and let him fall from the height and be disabled; and let him not die but be brought to nought, and break his leg in three places. And he fell from the height and brake his leg in three places. Then every man cast stones at him and went away home, and thenceforth believed Peter.
But one of the friends of Simon came quickly out of the way (or arrived from a journey), Gemellus by name, of whom Simon had received much money, having a Greek woman to wife, and saw him that he had broken his leg, and said: O Simon, if the Power of God is broken to pieces, shall not that God whose Power thou art, himself be blinded? Gemellus therefore also ran and followed Peter, saying unto him: I also would be of them that believe on Christ. And Peter said: Is there any that grudgeth it, my brother? come thou and sit with us.
But Simon in his affliction found some to carry him by night on a bed from Rome unto Aricia; and he abode there a space, and was brought thence unto Terracina to one Castor that was banished from Rome upon an accusation of sorcery. And there he was sorely cut (Lat. by two physicians), and so Simon the angel of Satan came to his end.
[Here the Martyrdom proper begins in the Patmos MS. and the versions.]
XXXIII. Now Peter was in Rome rejoicing in the Lord with the brethren, and giving thanks night and day for the multitude which was brought daily unto the holy name by the grace of the Lord. And there were gathered also unto Peter the concubines of Agrippa the prefect, being four, Agrippina and Nicaria and Euphemia and Doris; and they, hearing the word concerning chastity and all the oracles of the Lord, were smitten in their souls, and agreeing together to remain pure from the bed of Agrippa they were vexed by him.
Now as Agrippa was perplexed and grieved concerning them -and he loved them greatly- he observed and sent men privily to see whither they went, and found that they went unto Peter. He said therefore unto them when they returned: That Christian hath taught you to have no dealings with me: know ye that I will both destroy you, and burn him alive. They, then, endured to suffer all manner of evil at Agrippa’s hand, if only they might not suffer the passion of love, being strengthened by the might of Jesus.
XXXIV. And a certain woman which was exceeding beautiful, the wife of Albinus, Caesar’s friend, by name Xanthippe, came, she also, unto Peter, with the rest of the matrons, and withdrew herself, she also, from Albinus. He therefore being mad, and loving Xanthippe, and marvelling that she would not sleep even upon the same bed with him, raged like a wild beast and would have dispatched Peter; for he knew that he was the cause of her separating from his bed. Many other women also, loving the word of chastity, separated themselves from their husbands, because they desired them to worship God in sobriety and cleanness. And whereas there was great trouble in Rome, Albinus made known his state unto Agrippa, saying to him: Either do thou avenge me of Peter that hath withdrawn my wife, or I will avenge myself. And Agrippa said: I have suffered the same at his hand, for he hath withdrawn my concubines. And Albinus said unto him: Why then tarriest thou, Agrippa? let us find him and put him to death for a dealer in curious arts, that we may have our wives again, and avenge them also which are not able to put him to death, whose wives also he hath parted from them.
XXXV. And as they considered these things, Xanthippe took knowledge of the counsel of her husband with Agrippa, and sent and showed Peter, that he might depart from Rome. And the rest of the brethren, together with Marcellus, besought him to depart. But Peter said unto them: Shall we be runaways, brethren? and they said to him: Nay, but that thou mayest yet be able to serve the Lord. And he obeyed the brethren’s voice and went forth alone, saying: Let none of you come forth with me, but I will go forth alone, having changed the fashion of mine apparel. And as he went forth of the city, he saw the Lord entering into Rome. And when he saw him, he said: Lord, whither goest thou thus (or here)? And the Lord said unto him: I go into Rome to be crucified. And Peter said unto him: Lord, art thou (being) crucified again? He said unto him: Yea, Peter, I am (being) crucified again. And Peter came to himself: and having beheld the Lord ascending up into heaven, he returned to Rome, rejoicing, and glorifying the Lord, for that he said: I am being crucified: the which was about to befall Peter.
XXXVI. He went up therefore again unto the brethren, and told them that which had been seen by him: and they lamented in soul, weeping and saying: We beseech thee, Peter, take thought for us that are young. And Peter said unto them: If it be the Lord’s will, it cometh to pass, even if we will it not; but for you, the Lord is able to stablish you in his faith, and will found you therein and make you spread abroad, whom he himself hath planted, that ye also may plant others through him. But I, so long as the Lord will that I be in the flesh, resist not; and again if he take me to him I rejoice and am glad.
And while Peter thus spake, and all the brethren wept, behold four soldiers took him and led him unto Agrippa. And he in his madness (disease) commanded him to be crucified on an accusation of godlessness.
The whole multitude of the brethren therefore ran together, both of rich and poor, orphans and widows, weak and strong, desiring to see and to rescue Peter, while the people shouted with one voice, and would not be silenced: What wrong hath Peter done, O Agrippa? Wherein hath he hurt thee? tell the Romans! And others said: We fear lest if this man die, his Lord destroy us all.
And Peter when he came unto the place stilled the people and said: Ye men that are soldiers of Christ! ye men that hope in Christ! remember the signs and wonders which ye have seen wrought through me, remember the compassion of God, how many cures he hath wrought for you. Wait for him that cometh and shall reward every man according to his doings. And now be ye not bitter against Agrippa; for he is the minister of his father’s working. And this cometh to pass at all events, for the Lord hath manifested unto me that which befalleth. But why delay I and draw not near unto the cross?
XXXVII. And having approached and standing by the cross he began to say: O name of the cross, thou hidden mystery! O grace ineffable that is pronounced in the name of the cross! O nature of man, that cannot be separated from God! O love (friendship) unspeakable and inseparable, that cannot be shown forth by unclean lips! I seize thee now, I that am at the end of my delivery hence (or, of my coming hither). I will declare thee, what thou art: I will not keep silence of the mystery of the cross which of old was shut and hidden from my soul. Let not the cross be unto you which hope in Christ, this which appeareth: for it is another thing, different from that which appeareth, even this passion which is according to that of Christ. And now above all, because ye that can hear are able to hear it of me, that am at the last and final hour of my life, hearken: Separate your souls from every thing that is of the senses, from every thing that appeareth, and does not exist in truth. Blind these eyes of yours, close these ears of yours, put away your doings that are seen; and ye shall perceive that which concerneth Christ, and the whole mystery of your salvation: and let thus much be said unto you that hear, as if it had not been spoken. But now it is time for thee, Peter, to deliver up thy body unto them that take it. Receive it then, ye unto whom it belongeth. I beseech you the executioners, crucify me thus, with the head downward and not otherwise: and the reason wherefore, I will tell unto them that hear.
XXXVIII. And when they had hanged him up after the manner he desired, he began again to say: Ye men unto whom it belongeth to hear, hearken to that which I shall declare unto you at this especial time as I hang here. Learn ye the mystery of all nature, and the beginning of all things, what it was. For the first man, whose race I bear in mine appearance (or, of the race of whom I bear the likeness), fell (was borne) head downwards, and showed forth a manner of birth such as was not heretofore: for it was dead, having no motion. He, then, being pulled down -who also cast his first state down upon the earth- established this whole disposition of all things, being hanged up an image of the creation (Gk. vocation) wherein he made the things of the right hand into left hand and the left hand into right hand, and changed about all the marks of their nature, so that he thought those things that were not fair to be fair, and those that were in truth evil, to be good. Concerning which the Lord saith in a mystery: Unless ye make the things of the right hand as those of the left, and those of the left as those of the right, and those that are above as those below, and those that are behind as those that are before, ye shall not have knowedge of the kingdom.
This thought, therefore, have I declared unto you; and the figure wherein ye now see me hanging is the representation of that man that first came unto birth. Ye therefore, my beloved, and ye that hear me and that shall hear, ought to cease from your former error and return back again. For it is right to mount upon the cross of Christ, who is the word stretched out, the one and only, of whom the spirit saith: For what else is Christ, but the word, the sound of God? So that the word is the upright beam whereon I am crucified. And the sound is that which crosseth it, the nature of man. And the nail which holdeth the cross-tree unto the upright in the midst thereof is the conversion and repentance of man.
XXXIX. Now whereas thou hast made known and revealed these things unto me, O word of life, called now by me wood (or, word called now by me the tree of life), I give thee thanks, not with these lips that are nailed unto the cross, nor with this tongue by which truth and falsehood issue forth, nor with this word which cometh forth by means of art whose nature is material, but with that voice do I give thee thanks, O King, which is perceived (understood) in silence, which is not heard openly, which proceedeth not forth by organs of the body, which goeth not into ears of flesh, which is not heard of corruptible substance, which existeth not in the world, neither is sent forth upon earth, nor written in books, which is owned by one and not by another: but with this, O Jesu Christ, do I give thee thanks, with the silence of a voice, wherewith the spirit that is in me loveth thee, speaketh unto thee, seeth thee, and beseecheth thee. Thou art perceived of the spirit only, thou art unto me father, thou my mother, thou my brother, thou my friend, thou my bondsman, thou my steward: thou art the All and the All is in thee: and thou Art, and there is nought else that is save thee only.
Unto him therefore do ye also, brethren, flee, and if ye learn that in him alone ye exist, ye shall obtain those things whereof he saith unto you: ‘which neither eye hath seen nor ear heard, neither have they entered into the heart of man.’ We ask, therefore, for that which thou hast promised to give unto us, O thou undefiled Jesu. We praise thee, we give thee thanks, and confess to thee, glorifying thee, even we men that are yet without strength, for thou art God alone, and none other: to whom be glory now and unto all ages. Amen.
XL. And when the multitude that stood by pronounced the Amen with a great sound, together with the Amen Peter gave up his spirit unto the Lord.
And Marcellus not asking leave of any, for it was not possible, when he saw that Peter had given up the ghost, took him down from the cross with his own hands and washed him in milk and wine: and cut fine seven minae of mastic, and of myrrh and aloes and indian leaf other fifty, and perfumed (embalmed) his body and filled a coffin of marble of great price with Attic honey and laid it in his own tomb.
But Peter by night appeared unto Marcellus and said: Marcellus, hast thou heard that the Lord saith: Let the dead be buried of their own dead? And when Marcellus said: Yea, Peter said to him: That, then, which thou hast spent on the dead, thou hast lost: for thou being alive hast like a dead man cared for the dead. And Marcellus awoke and told the brethren of the appearing of Peter: and he was with them that had been stablished in the faith of Christ by Peter, himself also being stablished yet more until the coming of Paul unto Rome.
XLI. [This last chapter, and the last sentence of XL, are thought by Vouaux to be an addition by the author of i-iii, in other words by the compiler of the Greek original of the Vercelli Acts.]
But Nero, learning thereafter that Peter was departed out of this life, blamed the prefect Agrippa, because he had been put to death without his knowledge; for he desired to punish him more sorely and with greater torment, because Peter had made disciples of certain of them that served him, and had caused them to depart from him: so that he was very wrathful and for a long season spake not unto Agrippa: for he sought to destroy all them that had been made disciples by Peter. And he beheld by night one that scourged him and said unto him: Nero, thou canst not now persecute nor destroy the servants of Christ: refrain therefore thine hands from them. And so Nero, being greatly affrighted by such a vision, abstained from harming the disciples at that time when Peter also departed this life.
And thenceforth the brethren were rejoicing with one mind and exulting in the Lord, glorifying the God and Saviour (Father?) of our Lord Jesus Christ with the Holy Ghost, unto whom be glory, world without end. Amen.