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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VIII:
Remains of the Second and Third Centuries.: Fragment III

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Concerning the Martyrdom of Symeon the son of Clopas, Bishop of Jerusalem. 3701

Some of these heretics, forsooth, laid an information against Symeon the son of Clopas, as being of the family of David, and a Christian.  And on these charges he suffered martyrdom when he was 120 years old, in the reign of Trajan Cæsar, when Atticus was consular legate 3702 in Syria.  And it so happened, says the same writer, that, while inquiry was then being made for those belonging to the royal tribe of the Jews, the accusers themselves were convicted of belonging to it.  With show of reason could it be said that Symeon was one of those who actually saw and heard the Lord, on the ground of his great age, and also because the Scripture of the Gospels makes mention of Mary the daughter of Clopas, who, as our narrative has shown already, was his father.

The same historian mentions others also, of the family of one of the reputed brothers of the Saviour, named Judas, as having survived until this same reign, after the testimony they bore for the faith of Christ in the time of Domitian, as already recorded.

He writes as follows:  They came, then, and took the presidency of every church, as witnesses for Christ, and as being of the kindred of the Lord.  And, after profound peace had been established in every church, they remained down to the reign of Trajan Cæsar:  that is, until the time when he who was sprung from an uncle of the Lord, the aforementioned Symeon son of Clopas, was informed against by the various heresies, and subjected to an accusation like the rest, and for the same cause, before the legate Atticus; and, while suffering outrage during many days, he bore testimony for Christ:  so that all, including the legate himself, were astonished above measure that a man 120 years old should have been able to endure such torments.  He was finally condemned to be crucified.

…Up to that period the Church had remained like a virgin pure and uncorrupted:  for, if there were any persons who were disposed to tamper with the wholesome rule of the preaching of salvation, 3703 they still lurked in some dark place of concealment or other.  But, when the sacred band of apostles had in various ways closed their lives, and that generation of men to whom it had been vouchsafed to listen to the Godlike Wisdom with their own ears had passed away, then did the confederacy of godless error take its rise through the treachery of false teachers, who, seeing that none of the apostles any longer survived, at length attempted with bare and uplifted head to oppose the preaching of the truth by preaching “knowledge falsely so called.”



Also in Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., iii. 32.


῾Υπατικοῦ.  [St. John died a few years before.]


Τοῦ σωτηρίου κηρυγματος.

Next: Fragment IV

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