Thieleman J. Van Braght, Martyrs Mirror

53. Simon Cleophas

Simon Cleophas, One Of The Seventy Disciples Of Christ, Crucified By Atticus, Under Trajan, A.D. 109

Simon Cleophas was the son of Cleophas and Mary, and a cousin of our Lord Jesus, because he was the son of the brother of Joseph, the supposed father of Christ. After the death of the apostle James he was chosen, by common consent, bishop of the church at Jerusalem; hence he must be distinguished from Simon surnamed Zelotes, who was one of the apostles, and was crucified in Persia. For, the latter was a son of Alpheus, but the former a son of Cleophas, not one of the twelve, but of the seventy disciples of Christ, as Eusebius admits, saying: “If any one should say that this Simon beheld Christ with his own eyes, and listened to His preaching with his own ears, he would not be beyond reason and truth in this opinion, not only on account of the long duration of his life, being, a hundred and twenty years old, but much more by virtue of the testimony of the holy Gospel, in which mention is made of Mary, the wife of Cleophas, whose son he was, according to the testimony of Egesippus, who was the nearest historian to the time of the apostles.” Hist. Eccles, Euseb. Pamphil., lib. 3, cap. 11.

This is the Simon, of whom it is stated that he was an eyewitness to the stoning of James, the holy apostle of the Lord. Epiph. supra, in Sym. Alph.

He was accused by some wicked men before Atticus, the governor of Emperor Trajan, of being a Christian, yea a near relative of Christ, of the generation of David. On this account he was dreadfully beaten for many days with scourges and sharp rods, so that everyone who saw him, had to lament and wonder, the judge himself being astonished, that a man of such a great age, a hundred and twenty years old, was able so long to endure such intolerable torturing.

Finally, as he remained steadfast in his confession, he became conformed in suffering unto his Lord, whom he confessed, and was sentenced by Atticus to be crucified; which death he suffered in the tenth year of Emperor Trajan, which corresponds with the year of Christ 109. Compare the 1st Book of A. Mellinus, printed A. D. 1617, jol. 24, col. 1, 2, with Hist. Mart. Joh. Gysii, recently printed by I. Braat, A. D. 1657, jol. 15, col. 1.

Thieleman J. Van Braght (1625-1664) was an Anabaptist who is best known for writing a history of the Christian witness throughout the centuries entitled “The Bloody Theater or Martyrs Mirror of the Defenseless Christians who baptized only upon confession of faith, and who suffered and died for the testimony of Jesus, their Saviour, from the time of Christ to the year A.D. 1660” (1660).

Thieleman J. Van Braght, Martyrs Mirror