Before the resurrection of Jesus, He said to his apostles, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” The disciples didn’t waste their time, because they already have a divine mandate to travel the world for the sake of the Gospel.
Immediately, they set their hand to the plow and began the difficult work of sowing seeds of faith everywhere they went.
So where did they end up ? How did they make a “disciples of all nations”?
Traditionally, it’s believed that Peter first went to Antioch and established a community there. But, he did not stay too long, and he is often known as the first bishop of Antioch. Afterwards, it is also believed that he visited Corinth before heading towards Rome.
While in Corinth, he helped to form the Christian community and was ultimately martyred in the Circus of Nero during the 64 AD in Rome. And Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican is built on top of St. Peter’s tomb.
After Pentecost different ancient traditions point to Andrew, Peter’s brother, as the Apostle of the Greeks. It is also believed that he preached to Greek communities and he was martyred at Patras on a cross in the shape of an X. Eventually, his relics were transferred to the Duomo Cathedral in Amalfi, Italy.
James the Great
It is also believed that James was the first apostle to be martyred. In the Acts of the Apostles it states, “Herod the king laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword” (Acts 12:1-2).
James died in 44 AD in Jerusalem, but his tomb is nowhere near this location. After his death his body was moved to Spain and is currently located in Santiago de Compostela. His tomb become the destination point of the centuries-old pilgrimage, El Camino, which is still popular today.
He is the author of the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation, John was the only apostle that didn’t have a martyr’s death. In Revelation he writes from the island of Patmos, Greece, (Rev. 1:9), “I John, your brother, who share with you in Jesus the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus”. He died during 100 AD and is buried near Ephesus.
Prior years to Pentecost, Philip ministered to Greek-speaking communities. Though, little is known about his adventures, except that he was martyred during the 80 AD. His relics are located in the Basilica Santi Apostoli, in Rome.
Only little is known regarding the evangelization efforts of Bartholomew. Various traditions said he preached in different areas. It is then believed that he was martyred and his remains are currently located at the church of St. Bartholomew-in-the-Island, in Rome.
Behold the “doubting” apostle, Thomas is popularly known for his missionary efforts in India. There is this popular story about one of his adventures that focuses on the conversion of a local “doubting” king. He died during the 72 AD and his tomb is located in Mylapore, India.
He is one of the four evangelists, Matthew is most popularly known for his Gospel. He preached to several communities in the Mediterranean before his martyrdom in Ethiopia. His tomb is located in the cathedral in Salerno, Italy
James the Less
Scholars had it that Saint James the Less authored the “Epistle of St. James” which is found in the New Testament. After the apostles scattered and left Jerusalem, James stayed behind and became the first bishop in the holy city.
He stayed there for several decades until he was stoned to death by the Jewish authorities in the year 62. Some of his relics can be found in the Basilica Santi Apostoli, in Rome. It is also believed that his tomb is located at the St. James Cathedral in Jerusalem.
He is the “forgotten” apostle due to his name being the same as Judas Iscariot, St. Jude preached the gospel in so many places. He is honored by the Armenian Church as the “Apostle to the Armenians.”
He suffered martyrdom during 65 AD in Beirut, Lebanon. His remains are currently in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Simon the Zealot
Simon is often replaced with Judas Thaddeus and some believe they preached together as a team. This is because a part of tradition states they were both martyred in Beirut in the same year. Some of his relics are believed to be located in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
After he was chosen as the “replacement apostle,” one tradition had it that Matthias founded a church in Cappadocia and ministered to Christians on the coasts of the Caspian Sea.
It is also believed that he died a martyr’s death, and was beheaded with an axe in Colchis at the hands of the various pagans there. Some of his relics are said to have been brought to Rome by St. Helena.