1. Andrew – Crucified
Andrew was among the first of the apostles (followers) of Jesus of Nazareth and was the brother of the early Church leader Peter (also known as Simon Peter or Saint Peter). He traveled all over Greece and the Asian Minor and spread the message of Christ and his love. Many of the areas he preached in can be considered as the modern day Greece, Balkans, Russia and possibly parts of Poland. During the reign of Nero the roman emperor in AD 60, on a clear November day (Nov. 30th), the order to crucify Andrew was signed by the Roman Governor of Greece, named Aegeas. He was crucified Patrae in Achaia on an “X” shaped cross (St. Andrew’s Cross) and thus ended the life of Andrew – a martyr for the good news of Christ (Gospel).
2. Bartholomew – Beaten then Crucified
Bartholomew (also known as Nathanael) was a friend of Philip (follower of Christ) and was introduced to Christ through him. He quickly became a preacher of Christ and traveled far and wide for the Gospel. He mainly preached in the regions of Mesopotamia, the Black sea area, Egypt and the area close to Northern India. In modern day, the countries he preached in include Armenia, Iran, Egypt, India, Greece and the Balkan nations. Bartholomew was beaten severely and flayed alive first, and then crucified head downward in Albanopolis, Armenia for preaching to the Armenian king about Christ and then successfully converting him to Christianity. Shortly after his death, the entire nation of Armenia embraced Christianity as its state religion. He is also credited with translating the gospel of Mathew to local Indian dialects during his stay in India.
3. James, son of Alphaeus – Stoned to death
Also known as James the lesser, he was no lesser than any of the other disciples. He became the first Christian bishop of Jerusalem and was the brother of Jude Thaddeus. He was killed by the Jews in 62 AD in Jerusalem. He was taken to the top of the temple and was thrown down and then beaten with clubs and mallets (certain type of hammer) and stoned to death – all this while he continuously prayed for the forgiveness of his attackers as he painfully died.
4. James, son of Zebedee – Beheaded
James was the son of Son of Zebedee and Salome and is known as James the “greater” because he became an apostle before James, son of Alphaeus. However, he was the brother of Saint John the Apostle and preached all over Samaria (northern Israel – technically not Jews) and Judea (the southern kingdom – mainly Jews) and traveled as far as the shores of Spain. James took the honor of being the first of the apostles to be killed for the Gospel of Christ. He was killed in Jerusalem by the order of King Herod (Acts 12:2) in order to gain support of the Jews in the city for his rule – thus violently opposing the rise of Christianity. However, the trial of James drew large attention and eventually; he inspired many of the guards guarding him to become Christians at how he defended his faith and spoke fearlessly. When the sentence against James was handed out, the Roman officer in charge of guarding James knelt by James and declared he was a Christian – thus beheaded along with James as a Christian.
5. John – Exiled for his faith; Died of old age
Saint John was the only disciple to live until AD 101 and did not die of any violent death. He almost became a martyr when he was boiled in a huge basin of boiling oil but he miraculously did not die from this and lived on. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome and the brother of James the son of Zebedee. He founded numerous churches in the Asia Minor, Greece and continued his brother’s work in Samaria. However, he was exiled but continued to work to spread the Gospel – eventually writing the book of Revelations in exile at the prison island of Patmos and wrote the fourth Gospel and the three epistles. John was the only one to live until the old age as Jesus Christ told him and died in Ephesus in exile. During his life, he served as the bishop of Turkey. Emperor Nerva of Rome recalled John from the exile imposed on him by former Emperor Domitian.
6. Judas (not Iscariot) – Stoned to death
Also known as Jude Thaddeus, Judas was the son of Cleophas (martyr) and the brother of James the son of Alphaeus. He preached in Persia (modern day Iran) and Syria with Apostle Simon. However, he was beaten and then stoned to death in Persia by the end of the first century.
7. Matthew – Speared to death
Mathew was a former tax collector born in Nazareth and wrote the gospel of Mathew in Hebrew which was then translated into Greek by James the son of Alphaeus. He worked hard to preach the gospel in Parthia (northern Iran) and Ethopia. He was slain by a halberd (a cross between spear and a sword) in the city Nadabah at A.D. 60.
8. Peter – Crucified upside down
Peter was a great apostle who was an authoritative church figure and was one of the first Disciples of Christ. He is the brother of Andrew and Catholic Church claims he was the first bishop of Rome (Pope). However, Peter played a good role in the church and thus Emperor Nero sought to kill Peter. When told to flee Jerusalem and hide from Emperor Nero, Peter asked God where he should flee and he saw a vision of Christ coming to be crucified. He understood that to be his calling – to stay in Jerusalem and suffer death if it is his time. He was arrested and sentenced to be crucified but when they tried to crucify him, he asked to be crucified upside down because he felt he was not worthy to die in the same manner as Christ. Jerome records that he died in Rome at 64 AD.
9. Philip – Crucified
He was originally a disciple of John the Baptist and brought Bartholomew to Christ. He was the first one to be called by the term “disciple” and was a resident of Galilee, born in Bethsaida. He worked hard in the Asian Minor and Upper Asian regions. He was caught, beaten, thrown into prison and later crucified in AD 54 for the Gospel at Heliopolis, in Phrygia.
10. Simon – Crucified
He was called Simon the Zealot and there are various theories as to why – it may have been because he belonged in the Jewish sect of Zealots who violently opposed Roman rule. However, after his encounter with Christ, his life was changed and he left the ways of violence for the gospel of peace. Not many details are known about his life but he preached throughout Africa especially Mauritania, Persia, Samaria and then further into Europe as far as Britain. He was crucified for his faith in Britain in AD 74.
11. Thomas – Speared to death
Thomas was also known as Thomas Didymus and preached in Parthia and came to India in AD 52. He preached throughout India and especially the region we now know as Kerala in India. Even to this day, Kerala remains a Christian stronghold because of Thomas. After his arrival to India and the fast growth of Christianity, enraged priests of pagan religions (could be Hinduism or other religions) helped to kill him with a few soldiers in AD 72 in India. He died speared to death by his enemies but they could not destroy what he preached – Christianity in India is largely responsible to him.
12. Matthias – Stoned to death
After the betrayal and the subsequent suicide of Judas Iscariot, Matthias was chosen to replace him as the new member of the apostles. He preached close to 30 years in Ethiopia, Egypt, Cappadocia (Turkey) and Judea. He lived to about AD 73 and was stoned at Colchis, Georgia for speaking the gospel there. After being stoned in Jerusalem, he was beheaded there – thus ending his ministry.