Thursday, June 26, 2008

Twelve Apostles

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Greek icon of the Twelve Apostles (in the front row are Matthew, Peter, James and John).
For other uses, see Twelve Apostles (disambiguation).
The Twelve Apostles (Greek:Ἀπόστολος, apostolos, "someone sent out", e.g. with a message or as a delegate) were, according to the Synoptic Gospels (i.e., the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke) and Christian tradition, disciples (followers) whom Jesus of Nazareth had chosen, named, and trained in order to send them on a specific mission. After the Apostle Judas Iscariot had betrayed Jesus, the remaining Apostles under the leadership of Simon Peter filled the vacancy by electing by lot Matthias, a companion of theirs ever since they themselves had followed Jesus,[1] so that by the time of the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost they actually numbered twelve again.
1 Portrayal
2 The Twelve Apostles
2.1 Recruitment by Jesus
2.2 Their apostolate as "Fishers of Men"
2.3 Election of Matthias to Judas's share in their ministry
2.4 The Apostle to the Gentiles: Paul of Tarsus
3 Other New Testament usages of the term "apostle"
3.1 Jesus himself
3.2 Barnabas
3.3 Andronicus and Junia
3.4 Silas
3.5 Timothy
3.6 Apollos
3.7 Titus
4 Later Christianizing apostles
4.1 Roman Catholic tradition
4.2 "Equal to the Apostles" according to Eastern Orthodox tradition
5 Apostles today
6 Unity School of Christianity/The Twelve Powers of Man
7 Further reading
8 References
9 See also
10 External links
The word apostle comes from the Greek word ἀπόστολος (apostolos). According to the Bauer lexicon, Walter Bauer's Greek-English Lexicon of the NT: "…Judaism had an office known as apostle (שליח)". In Islam, the Qur'an called The Twelve Apostles "الحواريون" which derives from the Hebrew word for a pharisaical college "friends".[citation needed] The Friberg Greek Lexicon gives a broad definition as one who is sent on a mission, a commissioned representative of a congregation, a messenger for God, a person who has the special task of founding and establishing churches. The UBS Greek Dictionary also describes an apostle broadly as a messenger. The Louw-Nida Lexicon gives a very narrow definition of a special messenger, generally restricted to the immediate followers of Jesus, or extended to some others like Paul or other Early Christians active in proclaiming the Gospel.
In summary then, the word apostle has two meanings, the broader meaning of a messenger and the narrow meaning of an early apostle, which is restricted to those directly linked to Jesus Christ. The more general meaning of the word is translated into Latin as 'missio', and from this word we get the English word 'missionary'.
In more recent times however, the word apostle has mostly fallen out of use in the general sense. In some parts of the church the world and among certain groups, it is urged that the word apostle should only be used to refer to The Twelve Apostles and Paul, or only those and certain other historic figures. In these settings it can cause great offence to refer to oneself or another modern figure as an apostle; terms which avoid controversy include 'missionary', 'envoy', 'delegate', 'messenger' and 'church planter'.
Some churches which use the word apostle for modern men recognize this dilemma and so call contemporary church leaders apostles with a small "a" reserving the capital "A" for the 12 Apostles.

[edit] Portrayal
The Apostles are portrayed in the New Testament as having been Galilean Jews. The names of the majority of them are Aramaic, although some had Greek names.[2] That the Twelve Apostles were all Jews is supported in several ways. Jesus’ statements that his mission is directed only to those of the house of Israel (Matthew 10:1-6, Matthew 15:22-24, Luke 22:30) imply that the Twelve Apostles and others closest to Jesus were all Jews, as does the fact that only after the death of Jesus did the apostles agree with Paul that the teaching of the gospel could be extended to uncircumcised Gentiles (Acts 15:1-31, Galatians 2:7-9, Acts 10:1-11:18). For Christians who view the Hebrew prophets as speaking of Jesus and Christianity, support for the Jewishness of the Apostles is found, on the one hand, in the prophetic assertions that it was the Jews whom God had chosen to bring all the nations (the "Gentiles") to faith in him,[3] and that, on the other hand, Jesus appointed the Twelve Apostles kingship[4] and told them that they will sit on thrones[5] administering[6] the affairs of the twelve tribes of Israel.[7] Even the "supernumerary Apostle", the "Apostle to the Gentiles", Saul of Tarsus, who said that Jesus revealed himself to him only after his ascension and appointed him to his mission (Acts 9:1-19, Galatians 1:11-12), was a Jew by birth, and always proud of it, (Galatians 1:14) although since his conversion to Jesus he became known by the Greek name Paul (Acts 13:9).
The Gospel of Mark states that Jesus initially sent out these twelve in pairs (Mark 6:7-13, cf. Matthew 10:5-42, Luke 9:1-6), to towns in Galilee. Literal readings of the text state that their initial instructions were to heal the sick and drive out demons, and in the Gospel of Matthew to raise the dead, but some scholars read this more metaphorically as instructions to heal the spiritually sick and thus to drive away wicked behaviour. They are also instructed to: "take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff — no bread, no bag, no money in their belt — but to wear sandals; and He added, "Do not put on two tunics". (NASB), and that if any town rejects them they ought to shake the dust off their feet as they leave, a gesture which some scholars think was meant as a contemptuous threat (Miller 26). Their carrying of just a staff (Matthew and Luke say not even a staff) is sometimes given as the reason for the use by Christian Bishops of a staff of office, in those denominations that believe they maintain an apostolic succession.
There is also evidence that follows those marked Apostle. Paul made his case to the Corinthian Church that he was an apostle by the evidence of God's(Jesus Christ's) power working through him. Paul states clearly that, "The things that mark an apostle—signs, wonders and miracles—were done among you with great perseverance."[1]
Later in the Gospel narratives the Twelve Apostles are described as having been commissioned to preach the Gospel to "all the nations" (Matthew 28:19, Mark 13:10, Mark 16:15), regardless of whether Jew or Gentile.[8]

[edit] The Twelve Apostles
See also: Deaths of the Twelve Apostles.
The four Gospels give varying names of the twelve. According to the list occurring in each of the three Synoptic Gospels (Mark 3:13-19, Matthew 10:1-4, Luke 6:12-16), the Twelve chosen by Jesus near the beginning of his ministry, those whom also He named Apostles, were, according to the Gospels of Mark and Matthew:
Peter: Renamed by Jesus, his original name was Simon (Mark 3:16); was a fisherman from the Bethsaida "of Galilee" (John 1:44, cf. John 12:21). Also known as Simon bar Jonah, Simon bar Jochanan (Aram.), Cephas (Aram.), and Simon Peter.
James, son of Zebedee: The brother of John.
John: The brother of James. Jesus named both of them Bo-aner'ges, which means "sons of thunder".(Mark 3:17)
Andrew: The brother of Simon/Peter, a Bethsaida fisherman, and a former disciple of John the Baptist.
Philip: From the Bethsaida of Galilee (John 1:44, John 12:21)
Bartholomew, son of Talemai: It has been suggested that he is the same person as Nathanael, who is mentioned in John 1:45-51.
Matthew: The tax collector.
Thomas: Also known as Judas Thomas Didymus - Aramaic T'oma' = twin, and Greek Didymous = twin.
James, son of Alphaeus: Generally identified with "James the Less", and also identified by Roman Catholics with "James the Just". [9]
Thaddeus: In some manuscripts of Matthew, the name "Lebbaeus" occurs in this place. Thaddeus is traditionally identified with Jude; see below.
Simon the Zealot: Some have identified him with Simeon of Jerusalem. [10]
Judas Iscariot: The disciple who later betrayed Jesus. (Mark 3:19) The name Iscariot may refer to the Judaean towns of Kerioth or to the sicarii (Jewish nationalist insurrectionists), or to Issachar. Also referred to as "Judas, the son of Simon" (John 6:71 and John 13:26). He was replaced as an apostle shortly after Jesus' resurrection by Matthias.
The Gospel of Luke differs slightly, listing a "Judas, son of James" and not listing a "Thaddeus." In order to harmonize the accounts, some traditions have said that Luke's "Judas, son of James" refers to the same person as Mark and Matthew's "Thaddeus," though it is not clear whether this has a good basis in the text or the use of the names historically. Luke has "Simon the Zealot" in place of "Simon the Cananean". It is unclear whether these two Simons refer to the same person.
The Gospel of John, unlike the Synoptic Gospels, does not offer a formal list of apostles, though it does refer to the Twelve in 6:67, 6:70, and 6:71. The following ten apostles are identified by name:
Andrew (identified as Peter's brother)
the sons of Zebedee (plural form implies at least two apostles)
Thomas (also called Didymus (11:16, 20:24, 21:2))
Judas Iscariot
Judas (not Iscariot) (14:22)
The individual that the Gospel of John names as Nathanael has traditionally been identified as the same person that the other Gospels call Bartholomew. The other three Gospels, however, contain a complete list of the twelve and contain no reference to a "Nathanael." Thus, the four Gospel accounts do not agree as to the names of the twelve. The sons of Zebedee presumably refers to James and John, while Judas (not Iscariot) probably refers to the same Jude, son of James, as the Gospel of Luke's list, traditionally identified with Thaddeus. Missing from the Gospel of John are James, son of Alphaeus, Matthew, and Simon the Canaanite/Zealot. In any case, the author certainly does not bring up any explicit denial of those two apostles, and never actually lists the twelve.
By the second century, the presence of two individuals named Simon (Peter and Simon the Zealot) in the list of the Synoptic Gospels allowed a case to be made for Simon Magus being the other Simon, and hence one of the twelve apostles.[citation needed] The second Simon may also have been Simeon of Jerusalem, the second leader of the Jerusalem church.
The similarity between Matthew 9:9-10, Mark 2:14-15 and Luke 5:27-29 may indicate that Matthew was also known as Levi.

[edit] Recruitment by Jesus
See also: Calling of the four disciples, Calling of Levi, Choosing of the Twelve Apostles

Duccio's Calling of the Apostles Peter and Andrew
The three Synoptic Gospels record the circumstances in which some of the disciples were recruited, Matthew only describing the recruitment of Simon, Andrew, James, and John. All three Synoptic Gospels state that these four were recruited fairly soon after Jesus returned from being tempted by the devil.
Despite Jesus only briefly requesting that they join him, the two are described as immediately consenting, and abandoning their nets to do so. Traditionally the immediacy of their consent was viewed as an example of divine power, although this statement isn't made in the text itself. The alternative and much more ordinary solution is that Jesus was simply friends with the individuals beforehand, as implied by the Gospel of John, which states that Andrew and an unnamed other had been a disciple of John the Baptist, and started following Jesus as soon as Jesus had been baptized. As a carpenter (Mark 6:3), it is eminently plausible for Jesus to have been employed to build and repair fishing vessels, thus having many opportunities to interact with and befriend such fishermen.
Albright and Mann extrapolate from Simon's and Andrew's abandonment of their nets, that Matthew is emphasizing the importance of renunciation by converting to Christianity, since fishing was profitable, though required large start-up costs, and abandoning everything would have been an important sacrifice. Regardless, Simon and Andrew's abandonment of what were effectively their most important worldly possessions was taken as a model by later Christian ascetics.
Matthew describes Jesus meeting James and John, also fishermen and brothers, very shortly after recruiting Simon and Andrew. While Matthew identifies James and John as sons of Zebedee, who is also present in their ship, Mark makes no such proclamation (Mark does in Mark 1:19). Luke adds to Matthew and Mark that James and John worked as a team with Simon and Andrew. Matthew states that at the time of the encounter, James and John were repairing their nets, but readily joined Jesus without hesitation. This parallels the accounts of Mark and Luke, but Matthew implies that the men have also abandoned their father (since he is present in the ship they abandon behind them), and Carter feels this should be interpreted to mean that Matthew's view of Jesus is one of a figure rejecting the traditional patriarchal structure of society, where the father had command over his children; most scholars, however, just interpret it to mean that Matthew intended these two to be seen as even more devoted than the other pair.
The synoptics go on to describe that much later, after Jesus had later begun his ministry, Jesus noticed, while teaching, a tax collector in his booth. The tax collector, Levi according to some Gospels, Matthew according to others, is asked by Jesus to become one of his disciples. Matthew/Levi is stated to have accepted and then invited Jesus for a meal with his friends. Tax collectors were seen as villains in Jewish society, and the Pharisees are described by the synoptics as asking Jesus why he is having a meal with such disreputable people. The reply Jesus gives to this is now well known: it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners (Mark 2:17).

[edit] Their apostolate as "Fishers of Men"

Adriaen van de Venne's Fishers of Men. Oil on panel (1614)
The phrase fishers of men, used both in Mark (Mark 1:17) and Matthew, is how Jesus is presented as describing the role he is offering to the men he recruits. Christians have frequently moved the reference from the disciples to Jesus,[citation needed] calling him the fisher of men, and the image of Jesus as a fisherman[citation needed] has become second only to that of Jesus as a shepherd. This image probably went some way towards the reason for the adoption of the Ichthys symbol as the main representative of Christianity, in early times. This is one of the more famous quotes in the New Testament, and it has appeared a number of times in art and culture, such as in literary works like Chaucer's "Summoner's Tale", Byron's Don Juan, Tennyson's Harold, Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and G. K. Chesterton's "The Innocence of Father Brown."
The fullness of what the phrase means is a matter of some serious debate, even among different Christian groups. It has a strong resonance amongst Evangelical groups, who view it as a metaphor for evangelism, and the most important such metaphor. It has an even deeper significance for Catholic Christians, who view it not only as a great evangelical call, but also as one of many scripture passages that support the "Primacy of Peter" as a great sign of unity among the Church (Christ's body), and the teaching that the popes throughout the ages are the successors of "The Chair (or office) of Peter", as Christ's prime earthly shepherds through the ages, after his ascension into heaven.
The institution by Jesus of "The Twelve" apostles is also seen by Catholics as a reference to the universality of the Church, that was prefigured (begun) in "The Twelve Tribes of Israel" in the Old Testament. Those successors of "The Twelve" apostles (the bishops), in union with the successors of Peter (the pope), are collectively called the "magisterium of the Church" - the official, authoritative teaching office established by Christ Himself. (For a more complete explanation of exactly what the magisterium officially teaches, see "The Catechism of the Catholic Church", or the more condensed, easier to read, but still authoritative "Compendium of the Catechism".)
The biblical references to "The Twelve" as "fishers of men," especially the image of Peter's sole role of pulling the net full of "153 large fish" onto the shore (where Christ was ironically already feasting John 21) without tearing the net, when all the apostles present couldn't lift the net into the boat just moments earlier, portray and confirm, among faithful Catholics, the Church's teaching on "papal infallibility" - that Christ's "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic" Church is divinely guided and protected from teaching error, so that all who desire to know his teachings (including His written, inspired word, the Bible, but not exclusively, as in the Protestant belief in "Sola Scriptura", the Bible alone) may have that opportunity.
Some scholars[citation needed] question whether the metaphor has a universal meaning at all, postulating that instead it is simply a phrase tailored to fit people who fish - that if Jesus had met a teacher he would have asked them to teach for him, if Jesus had seen a bus driver, he'd have asked her to drive a bus for him, and if he had met a soldier he would have asked him to do battle for him.
The exact methodology implied by the phrase is generally disputed, particularly by Evangelical groups. A similar reference to fishing occurs in the Book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 16:15), upon which this phrase may be based, and there it is placed in the context of actively hunting down sinners. Wallace argues that the common view of fishing with a line and hook and bringing each fish in individually is misplaced; Simon and Andrew would have used nets to fish and would have brought in large numbers of fish at once through grand acts. Wuellner presents an alternate view arguing that the disciples may have caught fish individually, and even by hand. Manek believes that to fully appreciate the metaphor one must understand how the sea was viewed at the time, arguing that throughout the Old Testament the sea is presented as unholy, and in stories such as that of Jonah, the depths of the sea are portrayed as synonymous with the underworld, hence in Manek's view the act of fishing is a metaphor for bringing people from the domain of sin and death to one of God. The water reference might also be linked to the idea of baptism, which towards the end of Matthew is explicitly linked to the disciples' mission.

[edit] Election of Matthias to Judas's share in their ministry
Main article: Saint Matthias
After Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ and then in guilt committed suicide before Christ's resurrection (in one Gospel account), the apostles numbered eleven. When Jesus had been taken up from them, in preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit that he had promised them, Peter advised the brethren, "Judas, who was guide to those who took Jesus … For he was numbered with us, and received his portion in this ministry … For it is written in the book of Psalms, 'Let his habitation be made desolate, Let no one dwell therein,' and, 'Let another take his office' … So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day he was taken up from us, must become with us a witness to his resurrection" (cf. Acts 1;15-26). So, between the ascension of Christ and the day of Pentecost, the remaining apostles elected a twelfth apostle by casting lots, a traditional Jewish way to determine the Will of God. The lot fell upon Matthias, who then became the last of the Twelve Apostles in the New Testament.
This is one of several verses used by the Roman Catholic church in support of its teaching of Apostolic Succession.

[edit] The Apostle to the Gentiles: Paul of Tarsus
Main article: Paul the Apostle

Paul, the "Apostle of the Gentiles", writing a letter
In his writings, Saul, later known as Paul, though not one of the Twelve, described himself as an apostle, one "born out of time" (e.g. Romans 1:1 and other letters), claimed he was appointed by the resurrected Jesus himself during his Road to Damascus vision; specifically he referred to himself as the Apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13, Galatians 2:8). He also described some of his companions as apostles (Barnabas, Silas, Apollos, Andronicus and Junia) and even some of his opponents as super-apostles (2nd Corinthians 11:5 and 12:11). As the Catholic Encyclopedia states: "It is at once evident that in a Christian sense, everyone who had received a mission from God, or Christ, to man could be called 'Apostle'"; thus extending the original sense beyond the original Twelve. Since Paul claimed to have received the Gospel through a revelation of Jesus Christ (cf. Gal 1:12; Acts 9:3-19, 26-27, 22:6-21, 26:12-23) after the latter's death and resurrection, (rather than before like the Twelve) , he was often obliged to defend his apostolic authority (1st Corinthians 9:1 "Am I not an apostle?") and proclaim that he had seen and was anointed by Jesus while on the road to Damascus; but James, Peter and John in Jerusalem accepted his apostleship to the Gentiles (specifically those not circumcised) as of equal authority as Peter's to the Jews (specifically those circumcised) according to Paul in Galatians 2:7-9. "James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars … agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews." (Galatians 2:9NIV) Paul, despite his self-designation as an Apostle, considered himself inferior to the other Apostles because he had persecuted Christ's followers (1 Corinthians 15:9).
Many historians maintain that Paul and Peter certainly disagreed on the extent of Paul's authority as an Apostle, with Peter maintaining Paul was not one of those chosen by Jesus, or by him chosen after his death. See also Pauline Christianity and Jewish Christians. Nevertheless, the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church consider Paul an Apostle; they honor Paul and Peter together on June 29. Paul sometimes replaces Matthias in classical depictions of "The Twelve Apostles," although he has also been called the "Thirteenth Apostle" because he was not a member of the original Twelve (unlike the replacement Matthias) but is still considered an apostle.

[edit] Other New Testament usages of the term "apostle"

[edit] Jesus himself
Main article: Jesus
The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews (3:1) refers to Jesus as the "apostle and high priest of our professed faith" and of rank greater than that of Moses.

[edit] Barnabas
Main article: Barnabas
In Acts 14:14, Barnabas is referred to as an apostle.

[edit] Andronicus and Junia
Main article: Junia
In Romans 16:7 Paul states that Andronicus and Junia were "of note among the apostles".
There are two interesting questions here. First, was Junia female? Second, there is the question of whether the phrase means they were well-known to the apostles, or were apostles themselves. Taken together, these raise the possibility of a female apostle, which may be an example of gender neutrality in the early church.[11]

[edit] Silas
Main article: Silas
Silas is referred to as an apostle in I Thessalonians (see 1:1 and 2:6) along with Timothy and Paul. He also performs the functioning of an apostle as Paul's companion in Paul's second missionary journey in Acts 15:40ff.

[edit] Timothy
Main article: Timothy
Timothy is referred to as an apostle in I Thessalonians (see 1:1 and 2:6) along with Silas and Paul. However, in II Corinthians 1:1, he is only called a "brother" when Paul refers to himself as "an apostle of Christ". Timothy performs many of the functions of an apostle in the commissioning of Paul in I and II Timothy, though in those epistles Paul refers to him as his "son" in the faith.

[edit] Apollos
Main article: Apollos
Apollos is included as "us apostles" in I Corinthians 4:9 (see 4:6, 3:22, 3:4-6) along with Paul and probably "Cephas" (Peter).

[edit] Titus
Main article: Apostle Titus
Titus is not referred to directly in title as an apostle, but his commission as one is strongly implied in Titus 1:5. Also, he is called a "son" in the faith, just as is Timothy, who was included in the designation of "apostles" in I Thessalonians (see above).

[edit] Later Christianizing apostles

[edit] Roman Catholic tradition
A number of successful pioneering missionaries are known as Apostles. In this sense, in the traditional list below, the apostle first brought Christianity (or Arianism in the case of Ulfilas and the Goths) to a land. Or it may apply to the truly influential Christianizer, such as Patrick's mission to Ireland, where a few struggling Christian communities did already exist. The reader will soon think of more of the culture heroes.
Apostle to the Abyssinians: Saint Frumentius
Apostle to the Caucasian Albania: Saint Yelisey came from Jerusalem in I century AD
Apostle of the Alleghanies: Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin, 1770–1840
Apostle to the Americas: Saint Innocent, 1797–1879
Apostle of Andalusia: Juan de Avila, 1500–1569
Apostle of the Ardennes: Saint Hubert, 656–727
Apostle to the Armenians: Saint Gregory the Illuminator, 256–331
Apostle to Berkshire: Thomas Russell
Apostle to Brazil: José de Anchieta, 1533–1597
Apostle to Carantania: Bishop Vergilius of Salzburg (745–84)
Apostle to the Cherokees: Cephas Washburn
Apostle to China: Hudson Taylor
Apostle to the English: Saint Augustine, died 604
Apostle to the Franks: Saint Denis (3rd century)
Apostle to the Franks: Saint Remigius, ca 437–533
Apostle to the Frisians: Saint Willibrord, 657–738
Apostle to the Gauls: Saint Irenaeus, 130–200
Apostle to the Gauls: Saint Martin of Tours, 338–401
Apostle to the Georgians: Saint Nino, 320s
Apostle to the Gentiles: Saint Paul
Apostle to the Germans: Saint Boniface, 680–755
Apostle to the Goths: Bishop Ulfilas
Apostle to Hungary: Saint Anastasius, 954–1044
Apostle to India: Saint Thomas; died around 72 AD
Apostle to India: Saint Francis Xavier; 1506–1552
Apostle to the "Indians" (Amerindians): John Eliot, 1604–1690
Apostle to the Indies (West): Bartolomé de las Casas, 1474–1566
Apostle to the Indies (East): Saint Francis Xavier, 1506–1552
Apostle to Ireland: Saint Patrick, 373–463
Apostle to the Iroquois, Francois Piquet, 1708–1781
Apostle to Noricum: Saint Severinus
Apostle to the North: Saint Ansgar, 801–864
Apostle to the Parthians: Saint Thomas
Apostle of the Permians: Saint Stephen of Perm, 1340–1396
Apostle of Peru: Alonzo de Barcena, 1528–1598
Apostle to the Picts: Saint Ninian, 5th century
Apostle to the Polish: Saint Adalbert
Apostle to the Pomeranians: Saint Otto of Bamberg, 1060–1139
Apostle to the Scots: Saint Columba, 521–597
Apostle to the Slavs: Saint Cyril, c 820–869
Apostle to the Slavs: Saint Methodius
Apostle of Spains: James the Great (d. 44)
Apostle of Mercy: Saint Faustina Kowalska, 1905–1938
Apostle of the Eucharist: Saint Peter Julian Eymard

[edit] "Equal to the Apostles" according to Eastern Orthodox tradition
Some Eastern Orthodox saints are given the title specific to the Eastern rites "equal-to-the-apostles", see isapostolos Cosmas of Aetolia. The myrrh-bearing women, who went to anoint Christ's body and first learned of his resurrection, are sometimes called the "apostles to the apostles" because they were sent by Jesus to tell the apostles of his resurrection.
Constantine the Great
Main article: Constantine I and Christianity
The Emperor Constantine the Great, sometimes considered founder of the Byzantine Empire, formally recognized Christianity in the Roman Empire in the Edict of Milan in 313. According to Philip Schaff's History of the Christian Church: "Soon after his death, Eusebius set him above the greatest princes of all times; from the fifth century he began to be recognized in the East as a saint; and the Greek and Russian church to this day celebrates his memory under the extravagant title of "Isapostolos," the "Equal of the apostles". The Latin church, on the contrary, has never placed him among the saints, but has been content with naming him "the Great," in remembrance of his services to the cause of Christianity and civilization. Comp the Acta Sact. ad 21 Maii, p. 13 sq. Niebuhr remarks: "When certain oriental writers call Constantine `equal to the Apostles’, they do not know what they are saying; and to speak of him as a ’saint’ is a profanation of the word".
In the Russian Orthodox Church also:
Saint prince Vladimir
Saint princess Olga of Kiev

[edit] Apostles today
In the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican churches, bishops are seen as the successors to the Apostles. See Apostolic succession.
Many Charismatic churches consider apostleship to be a gift of the Holy Spirit still given today (based on 1 Corinthians 12:28, and Ephesians 4:11).
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ("LDS Church"; see also Mormon) believes that the authority of the original twelve apostles is a distinguishing characteristic of the true church established by Jesus. For this reason, it ordains Apostles as members of its Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, second in authority to the church's First Presidency
The Community of Christ also has apostles, forming the Council of Twelve, who preside over the missionary efforts of the Church. In terms of church government, they are second only in authority to the First Presidency, whose members are often former members of the Council of Twelve (but this is not a requirement). The current president of the Church, Stephen M. Veazey, was himself a member of the Council of Twelve (and in fact its president), just prior to becoming President of the Church. According to church law, the Council of Twelve Apostles, under specific circumstances, is equal in authority to the First Presidency.
The New Apostolic Church believes also in the current existence of modern day apostles. They believe in the return of the apostles in the 1830s in England by prophecies. From among the renewal movements in the 1800s see: Catholic Apostolic Church; from which the New Apostolic Church split off. Other examples include the United Apostolic Church.

[edit] Unity School of Christianity/The Twelve Powers of Man
The Unity Church associates each Apostle with a power, as per Charles Fillmore's The Twelve Powers of Man. They are Love (John), Enthusiasm or Zeal (Simon the Canaanite), Imagination (Nathanael Bartholomew), Faith (Simon Peter), Strength (Andrew), Power (Philip), Will (Matthew), Understanding (Thomas Didymus), Wisdom (James, son of Zebedee), Order (James, son of Alphaeus), Life (Judas Iscariot/Matthias), and Elimination or Renunciation (Judas Thaddaeus). Most of these are based on the Biblical and historical character of the Apostles, such as Simon's zealotry, Peter's attempt to walk on water when the others would not get out of the boat, Andrew's strength of character when facing execution, or Judas's desire to improve others' lot in life through charity. Sam Patrick and Omar Garrison's Jesus Loved Them: Living Portraits of People Who Knew Jesus, published by Prentice-Hall in 1957, explains the twelve-power connections with the disciples along with full-page paintings of each of them, and others in Jesus's life.

[edit] Further reading
Navarre RSV Holy Bible. Four Courts Press, Dublin, Ireland, 1999.
Albright, W.F. and C.S. Mann. "Matthew." The Anchor Bible Series. New York: Doubleday & Company, 1971.
Pope Benedict XVI, "The Apostles",[12] published 2007, in the US: ISBN 978-1-59276-405-1; different edition published in the UK under the title: "Christ and His Church – Seeing the face of Jesus in the Church of the Apostles", ISBN 978-1-86082-441-8.
Carson, D.A. "The Limits of Functional Equivalence in Bible Translation - and other Limits Too." The Challenge of Bible Translation: Communicating God's Word to the World. edited by Glen G Scorgie, Mark L. Strauss, Steven M. Voth.
Carter, Warren. "Matthew 4:18-22 and Matthean Discipleship: An Audience-Oriented Perspective." Catholic Bible Quarterly. Vol. 59. No. 1. 1997.
Clarke, Howard W. The Gospel of Matthew and its Readers: A Historical Introduction to the First Gospel. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003.
"Fishers of Men." A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature. David Lyle Jeffrey, general editor. Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans, 1992.
France, R.T. The Gospel According to Matthew: an Introduction and Commentary. Leicester: Inter-Varsity, 1985.
Manek, Jindrich. "Fishers of Men." Novum Testamentum. 1958 pg. 138
Schweizer, Eduard. The Good News According to Matthew. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1975
Wuellner, Wilhelm H. The Meaning of "Fishers of Men". Westminster Press, 1967.
The Lost Gospel - The Book of Q. by Burton L Mack

[edit] References
^ (Acts 1:15-26)
^ As was not uncommon for Jews at the time, some of them had two names, one Hebrew/Aramaic and the other Greek. Hence the lists of Jesus's Twelve Apostles contains 14 names not 12; the 4 Greek names are Andrew, Philip, Thaddaeus and Lebbaeus. Reference: John P. Meier's A Marginal Jew.
^ At least by their "shining" example, see e.g., "The Lord says: … I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth" Isaiah 49:6; "Out of Zion shall go forth the Law and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem" Isaiah 2:2-4 / Micah 4:1-3.
^ βασιλειαν Luke 22:29 without article, hence "kingship", "sovereignty"; contrary to the occurrence in Luke 22:30 with the article, thus there meaning "kingdom".
^ θρονων (Luke 22:30), the symbol of sovereignty, not a tribunal (βημα, as e.g. in (Matthew 27:19).
^ κρινοντες (Luke 22:30), "judging" not in the sense of passing judgement and sentencing, but in the sense of upholding order ("Justice of the Peace"), usually on behalf of the absent king, like the Judges (κριται) in pre-monarchic times (e.g. in the title of The Book of Judges , Isaiah 1:26, Greek edition).
^ (Luke 22:29-30)
^ cf. also Acts 15:1-31, Galatians 2:7-9, Acts 1:4-8, Acts 10:1-11:18.
^ Catholic Encyclopedia: The Brethern of the Lord: "His [James the brother of the Lord] identity with James the Less (Mark 15:40) and the Apostle James, the son of Alpheus (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18), although contested by many Protestant critics, may also be considered as certain."
^ Catholic Encyclopedia
^ (See Crossan, J. D. and Reed, J. L., In Search of Paul, HarperSanFrancisco, 2004, pp 115-116, ISBN 0-06-051457-4.)
^ This is the title on the dust jacket, whereas on the title page the full title is given as "The Origins of the Church – The Apostles and Their Co-Workers".

[edit] See also
Deaths of the Twelve Apostles
Apostolic Fathers
Apostolic succession
New Apostolic Church
New Testament
Seventy Disciples
Great Commission
Apostolic Council
Apostles' Fast
Apostle (Latter Day Saints)
List of Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (Latter-day Saint)

[edit] External links
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Apostle in the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica
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Liddell & Scott
Strong's G652
Apostle and Apostleship article from Jewish Encyclopedia Biographies of Christ's Apostles
Fishing in First Century Judea
The Fishing Economy in Galilee
The Twelve Apostles an Eastern Orthodox perspective by Rev. George Mastrantonis
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