What Happened to the Apostles after the New Testament?

by Steve Ray on May 14, 2019


{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Dean Z February 3, 2016 at 1:10 AM

When in Turkey hear Pammukale, near the hot springs of ancient Heriopolis, the is a church where I believe we were told Philips was buried.


Kevin Dantas February 3, 2016 at 2:25 AM

Why is Judas called traitor? If he hadn’t betrayed Jesus, how would the prophecy have been fulfilled?
And why are there only 4 books of Gospel in the new testament? What happened to the books of other apostles?

STEVE RAY HERE: Judas betrayed Jesus of his own free will and knew it which is why his moral guilt led to his suicide. Judas was not a robot but a free moral agent. Whether his actions had good or bad results has no effect on his free moral choice to betray Jesus.

There were four authentic gospels chosen by the authority of the Church. The other apostles did not write gospels. There are later Gnostic and spurious gospels named after some for of the apostles, but they are apocryphal.

Cameron Auld February 3, 2016 at 5:13 AM

Hi guys, where can I obtain one of these charts?

STEVE RAY HERE: You can print it from my website. I am not sure where it originated, I found it from a priest on Twitter.

Phil Bradley February 3, 2016 at 8:32 AM

It was part of God’s plan to have Jesus betrayed surely? Consequently, someone had to be chosen to betray Jesus in the first place, so ONE of the apostles had to do it. Since God, as he is all knowing, knew that Judas would do the betrayal, he was a perfect choice. Judas was put in a position where God knew what he would do. That’s not exactly free choice.

STEVE RAY HERE: It is free choice. God did not program Judas to do an evil deed any more than he programs you or I to sin. We do that of our own free will contrary to the grace of God. Judas had a consistent pattern of greed and avarice. John 12:6 recalls, “Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.”

In Exodus we read that God hardened Pharoah’s heart about 7 times to resist God and not let the people go. BUT, that was after Pharaoh set the pattern of his recalcitrant heart by hardening his own heart against God 7 times beforehand.

In Romans 1-2 we see men consistently sinning against God and becoming callous. In response God “gives them over to their sin” and thus he did with Judas.

Christy Kellner February 3, 2016 at 12:36 PM

Is there a way to take this diagram a few steps further and start tracking apostolic succession or a type of priestly family tree? For ex. how can we take Matthew or John and trace to early Church fathers and beyon and I am totally guessing here John -Polycarp? – St Cyprian – St. Athanasius – St. Augustine – St. Patrick – St Bede – St. Francis Xavier – St. Faber – St. Pius V – etc., etc. I’m thinking this could be a fun type of homeschool religion project. Does the Vatican have these types of records available? Which apostle could be linked to the Franciscans, the Benedictines, the Dominicans, the Jesuits, the Salesians, etc?

STEVE RAY HERE: Great idea! I wish I had the time :-(

Bill W February 3, 2016 at 2:28 PM

I came across this site years ago. It doesn’t go all the way back to the Apostles, but it’s pretty awesome.


He also quotes his sources, so perhaps those books would provide more info.

Christine February 4, 2016 at 8:58 AM

Would it be accurate to say they were all martyred, except Judas? Where it says that Thaddeus was “filled with arrows” and Thomas was “thrust with a spear,” were those fatal?

Thank you. I love your work! We are a homeschooling family, and I enjoy watching “Footprints of God” with my children!

STEVE RAY: Thanks for your kind words! Yes, they were all martyred except St. John who died of old age in Ephesus.

Robert February 5, 2016 at 12:37 PM

This has one inaccuracy. James the Less was not the first bishop of Jerusalem. James, the 1/2 brother of Jesus was. they are 2 different people that got conflated in the west. Much like Mary Magdalene got conflated withe the sinful woman (prostitute).

Bill912 February 5, 2016 at 10:17 PM

James was NOT the 1/2 brother of Jesus; Mary had no other natural children besides Jesus.

A good case can be made that Mary Magdelene, the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and anointed His feet, and Mary of Bethany were all the same person, as tradition has held. (See Volume 1 of Warren Carroll’s “History of Christendom, Part 1”).

Joel L. February 6, 2016 at 1:45 PM

I did research to trace my own Bishop’s lineage and found that 95% of bishops trace back to one man: Scipione Rebiba. Unfortunately there are no records of who ordained him, so it is impossible to trace a direct line to the apostles. I’m not trying to disprove apostolic succession, just saying how unfortunate it is that we can’t demonstrate a straight line to an apostle.


Dave February 7, 2016 at 12:04 PM

I had read that Simon the Zealot may have been sawed in half and that Jude was hacked to pieces by an axe.

Mr. Patton February 7, 2016 at 1:24 PM

“The name Apostle denotes principally one of the twelve disciples who, on a solemn occasion, were called by Christ to a special mission.” – New Advent.

Clearly someone can not count to twelve or many, many apostles have been left off of this diagram…

Sue Korlan February 7, 2016 at 2:58 PM

St. Irenaeus of Lyon, in his book Against Heresies, traces the more important bishoprics back to the apostle who founded them. He was martyred around the year 200.

TJ February 7, 2016 at 3:33 PM

To Bill912 – Hi Bill – I’m curious as to your interpretation of Mark 3:31-32 as well as Matt 12:46-47. I’ve always thought those scriptures described offspring of Mary and Jospeh. Love to hear your thoughts.

Pratt February 7, 2016 at 3:38 PM

This from New Advent, click Fathers, click Hippolytus:

Writing circa 230 Hippolytus gives a pretty detailed account of the death of each apostle in his paper titled
“On the Twelve Apostles – Where Each of Them Preached, And Where He Met His End”
Interesting read.

Douglas February 7, 2016 at 10:51 PM

My understanding from the Golden Legend, is that James the Greater had gone to Spain after the resurrection. The Blessed Mother appeared to him and he returned to Jerusalem to be the first Bishop. His followers then took his body back to Spain. Since Mary needed to bi-locate do so this, she could, as she is first among all saints. This would make James the Greater a Marian saint. He was the first of the 12 to be martyred.

E G Lewis February 7, 2016 at 11:49 PM

All of the so-called “brothers” of Jesus are, in fact cousins. The Aramaic language has no particular word for a cousin. Case in point, Mary’s cousin Elizabeth. My analysis leads me to belief that Mary is Elizabeth’s first cousin once removed. I detail in the Author’s Notes of my novel Road to Bethlehem (www.amazon.com/dp/B015G7TOHQ)
In my book All Things Christmas (www.amazon.com/dp/B004DNWIHI ) I have a chapter entitled ‘Three Views of St Joseph,’ which looks at the Catholic teachings about him, the Protestant beliefs, and the Orthodox beliefs. I take each of his “brothers” and identify their lineage and connect to Jesus.
Peace and Blessings

Nicolaas February 8, 2016 at 12:53 PM

ChurchPop recently posted an infographic version of this. It is worth seeing as well (it’s quite a bit prettier).

Bill912 February 9, 2016 at 9:03 AM

Nowhere in the gospels are the “brothers of Jesus” identified as the children of Mary. In the case of some of them, their mothers are named.

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