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The Apocryphal New Testament Easy to use collection of English translations of the New Testament Apocrypha.


The oldest testimony for the existence of the apocryphal Acts of Andrew is in Eusebius HE 3. 25. 6 (Schwartz, GCS 9.2, pp. 252–3), which denounces the work (and others, including the Acts of John) as heretical. The Manichaean Psalter of about the same period relates certain events that are now thought to be from the Acts of Andrew (see Allberry, pp. 142f., 192). Epiphanius, adv. Haer. 2. 47. 1; 2. 61. 1; 2. 63. 2. (Holl, GCS 31, pp 216, 381, 399), knew that some heretical groups including Encratites possessed the Acts of Andrew.

The use of the Acts of Andrew in the West is attested first by Philaster of Brescia towards the end of the fourth century in Diversarum Hereseon Liber 61 (ed. F. Marx, CSEL 38 (Vienna, Prague, Leipzig, 1898), pp. 48f.). A few years later Innocent I in some manuscripts at least attributed the authorship of the Acts of Andrew to the philosophers Xenocharides and Leonides (see H. Wurm, Apollinaris 12 (1939), 57–78, esp. 77–8) and condemned its use. The Gelasian Decree includes the Acts in its list of apocryphal texts. Augustine, c. Faust. 14. 1; 22. 79; 30. 4 (Zycha, pp. 402, 681, 751), states that the Manichaeans in North Africa and the Priscillianists in Spain had a corpus of apocryphal Acts including the Acts of Andrew. See also references in Augustine, Contra adv. legis 1. 19. 38 (ed. K.‐D. Daur, CCL 49 (Turnhout, 1985), p. 68) and Contra felicem Manicheum 2. 6 (ed. J. Zycha, CSEL 25.2 (Prague, Vienna, Leipzig, 1892), p. 833).

Our best authority for a general knowledge of the Acts of Andrew is Gregory of Tours' epitome, Liber de Miraculis Beati Andreae Apostoli sometimes known as the Virtutes Andreae. This has been edited by M. Bonnet in Monumenta Germaniae Historica, I. Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum. Gregorii Turonensis Opera (ed. W. Arndt and B. Kruesch), vol. i, part 2 (Hanover, 1885), pp. 821–46. Gregory probably based his epitome on an earlier de Virtutibus S. Andreae. A modified version of M. R. James's abstract of Gregory's work appears below.

The references in the Vita Andreae by Epiphanius the Monk are also significant (PG 120, cols. 215–60) for a ninth‐century view of the developments of the Andrew traditions, although there is no precise citation from the Acts of Andrew. Generally, there is a paucity of references in patristic testimony. One noteworthy exception is the following extract found in Evodius of Uzala, De fide contra Manichaeos 38 (ed. J. Zycha, CSEL 25.2 (Vienna, Prague, Leipzig, 1892), pp. 968–9), with its allusions which may refer to the original Acts of Andrew:

Observe, in the Acts of Leucius which he wrote under the name of the apostles, what manner of things you accept about Maximilla the wife of Egetes: who, refusing to pay her due to her husband (though the apostle had said ‘Let the husband pay the due to the wife and likewise the wife to the husband’ 1 Cor. 7. 3), imposed her maid Euclia upon her husband, decking her out, as is there written, with wicked enticements and paintings, and substituted her as deputy for herself at night, so that he in ignorance used her as his wife.

There also is it written, that when this same Maximilla and Iphidamia were gone together to hear the apostle Andrew, a beautiful child, who, Leucius would have us understand, was either God or at least an angel, escorted them to the apostle Andrew and went to the praetorium of Egetes, and entering their chamber feigned a woman's voice, as of Maximilla, complaining of the sufferings of womankind, and of Iphidamia replying. When Egetes heard this dialogue, he went away.

If original, these incidents could have occurred after chapter 35 of Gregory's outline (cf. Acts of Andrew 17). Evodius' work dates from the early fifth century.

Outside this ancient testimony, what survives in manuscript form are the following portions of the Acts of Andrew (as is usual with such literature the Martyrdom circulated separately from the Acts as a whole in many manuscripts):

(A) The Acts Of Andrew

  • (i) Sinai Gr. 526 (10th century) and Jerusalem S. Saba 103 (12th cent.) include a long extract covering Vatican Greek 808 and the complete Martyrdom. These form the basis of the translation below.

  • (ii) Vatican Greek 808 (10th–11th cent). published by Bonnet. This includes incidents prior to the martyrdom and may be part of the original Acts. Some of the material is absent from the Sinai and Jerusalem manuscripts.

  • (iii) P. Utrecht 1 (4th cent.). In the view of its original editor, G. Quispel—a view generally shared by later commentators—this one ‘Act of Andrew’ is a Sahidic Coptic version taken from the original Acts of Andrew. It seems to have been not unusual for an isolated act of an apostle to be abstracted from the longer apocryphal acts. The story in the papyrus is found in a different, shorter, form in Gregory of Tours' epitome (18), but is ignored in Epiphanius the Monk's Vita Andreae and in the Laudatio (see below).

  • (iv) Bodleian Fragment, published by Barns. As with the Utrecht fragment, this too may have been another Sahidic Coptic extract from the original Acts of Andrew. An appearance of the risen Jesus is not uncharacteristic of the apocryphal Acts: Barns considers that this episode may have occurred near the beginning of the original Acts of Andrew. Its verbosity and its encratite tendency are consistent with the character of the rest of the Acts of Andrew, but Prieur is cautious about accepting it as an original part of the Acts.

(B) The Martyrdom

  • The Martyrdom exists in several adaptations:

    • (i) Byzantine texts (all published by Bonnet):
      • (a) Martyrium Andreae Prius (based on two manuscripts, one of the 9th–10th cent., the other of the 12th cent.). This account is close to the Laudatio.
      • (b) Martyrium Andreae Alterum (found in two recensions, one supported by two manuscripts, the other by one).
      • (c) Narratio. An encomium that generally reproduces the Martyrium Alterum with additions that may come from the original Acts. (Based on four manuscripts of the 10th–11th cent.)
      • (d) Laudatio. Another encomium attributed to Nicetas the Paphlagonian (ninth century). This is based on three manuscripts of the 11th–12th cent.
    • (ii) Latin texts (all published by Bonnet):
      • (a) The Epistle of the Presbyters and Deacons of Achaea. Bonnet prints this text (found in several manuscripts) together with two Greek versions, also found in several manuscripts. He has argued that the Latin, edited in the sixth century, is the original language. The first Greek version is a literal translation of the Latin. The second of the two Greek versions he prints (beginning “Απɛρ τοι̑ς ὀφθαλμοι̑ς. . . ) is a freer translation, which also incorporates some additional material likely to have come from the original Acts. Flamion calls that second Greek the ‘Épître grecque’. One manuscript of the Latin text goes back to the 8th cent.; most of the other Latin and the Greek manuscripts are 10th–12th cent.
      • (b) Conversante et Docente. These are the opening words of an account of a 6th‐cent. martyrdom edited from four manuscripts dating from the 10th–12th cent.
    • (iii) Armenian: The important Armenian account of the martyrdom corresponds to the final part of the ancient Acts of Andrew, although it does not agree exactly with existing Greek editions. It also includes some episodes unknown in the Greek tradition, in particular speeches attributed to Andrew.
Some, but not all the above, represent a text close to that of the original Acts of Andrew. Precision is difficult, but the editions by Prieur (and MacDonald) are based primarily on A (i), A (ii), B (i) (b), with some support from B (ii) (a) (second Greek form), B (i) (a), B (i) (c), B (i) (d) and B (ii) (b). It is difficult to estimate the original length of the Acts of Andrew: the work is not included in the Stichometry of Nicephorus. it is, however, thought to have been the longest and most prolix of the five major apocryphal Acts. Because of its extreme asceticism and encratism the original Acts were expurgated and catholicized over the centuries. The famous epitome by Gregory of Tours (which in its prologue confesses that he has deliberately excised its ‘excessive verbosity’) selected only the miracles. This may give us some idea of the original scale. In addition, Gregory has often altered and censored some details, as may be seen where his epitome can be compared to parallel accounts elsewhere. The following list shows links between Gregory and accounts in other sources (a full list is to be seen in Prieur's article in ANRW (see bibliography below, under General), 4408–13, and see his CCA 5, 59–65):


  • 6 (exorcism at Nicaea). Cf. Narratio 4; Laudatio 18.

  • 11 (wedding at Philippi). Cf. Epistle of Pseudo‐Titus 1 A Latin apocryphon that exists in an 8th‐century MS. See Lipsius, ii.2, 401–6, and the text in D. de Bruyne, ‘Nouveaux fragments des Actes de Pierre, de Paul, de Jean, d'André et de l'Apocalypse d’Élie’, Rev. Bén. 25 (1908), 149–60. : When, finally, Andrew also [John has been cited shortly before] had come to a wedding, he too, to manifest the glory of God, disjoined certain who were intended to marry each other, men and women, and instructed them to continue holy in the single state.

  • 12 (incendiarism at Philippi). Cf. Manichaean Psalm Book (Allberry, p. 142: ‘Andrew the Apostle: they set fire to the house beneath him’).

  • 18 (Virinus). Cf. Pap. Utrecht 1 (Varianus), and perhaps P. Oxy. 851, ed. B. P. Grenfell and A. S. Hunt, OP 6 (London, 1908), pp. 18–19.

  • 22–3 (conversion of proconsul). Cf. Laudatio 34–6 and Martyrium Prius 3–7 (see Prieur, CCA, pp. 708–23). (MacDonald adds after Gregory ch. 23 Martyrium Prius 7 = Laudatio 36.)

  • 30 (healing of Maximilla). Cf. Laudatio 38 and Epiphanius the Monk, Vita, col. 245 A–B.

  • 31 (sick beggar). Cf. Laudatio 39 and Vita, col. 245 C.

  • 32 (blind family). Cf. Laudatio 40 and Vita, col. 245 C.

  • 33 (sick sailor). Cf. Laudatio 41 and Vita, col. 245 D. (See Prieur, CCA, pp. 728–33).

  • 34 (exorcism of slave and conversion of Stratocles). Cf. Acts of Andrew 2–12, Laudatio 43, Vita, col. 248 B–C.

  • 35 (the Maximilla incident and Aegeates’ anger). Cf. Evodius (above, p. 232), and Acts of Andrew 17.

  • 36 (imprisonment). Cf. Laudatio 44.

Gregory's work did not include the martyrdom of Andrew although he alludes to a passion in his ch. 37. The later Apostolic History of Pseudo‐Abdias made use of Gregory's summary but added to it a martyrdom account similar to that found in Conversante et Docente.

An attempt to work back from the existing accounts of the martyrdom to a form close to that found in the original Acts was described by Flamion. The mosaic he suggested was accepted by James, who used this reconstructed text, and by Hennecke–Schneemelcher3. Other modern scholars, including Moraldi, have been sceptical of such a reconstruction and in their editions have preferred to include only translations of the actual manuscripts containing a version of the passion. The recent publication of the Jerusalem and Sinai manuscripts (together with support from an unpublished Ann Arbor manuscript of the Passion) has rendered this mosaic obsolete.

Authorship and Provenance

On the basis of similarities between the Acts of Andrew, the Acts of Peter, and the Acts of John, M. R. James (Apoc. Anec. ii, p. xxxi) was prepared to conclude that the works are by one and the same author ‘who may be called, for the sake of convenience, Leucius’, but such an identity of authorship or attribution to Leucius are not now generally accepted.

The provenance of the original work is not known. Syria or Egypt are possibilities.


The strongly encratite character of the Acts has suggested an early date for its composition. Most commentators have decided on a date in the second or third century. Some of the arguments are dependent on the supposed inter‐relationship of these Acts and other apocryphal Acts (see Prieur, CCA 5, 385–403). An early third‐century date for the Acts of Andrew is probable.


The Gnostic character of the original Acts has been regularly referred to in modern studies ever since such an interpretation was popularized by Lipsius, but Flamion's study of the material led him to emphasize the orthodox and non‐Gnostic character of the material. The publication of the Utrecht papyrus revived the theory of Gnostic influence, but Quispel has conceded that neither in that fragment nor in the other remains of the Acts of Andrew is there to be found a fully‐fledged Gnosticism. As an early document it is not surprising that Gnostic and contemporary Hellenistic ideas were present in the original Acts without the work itself coming from Gnostic groups or from an author outside the catholic church.

Historical Value

The historical value of these Acts is minimal, but the tradition that the Byzantine church was founded on apostolic preaching became very significant from the seventh century onwards. Dvornik's study emphasizes that the original Andrew legends were based in Scythia (in the south of present‐day Russia) rather than in Achaea. However, Epiphanius of Cyprus's list of disciples states bluntly that the Apostle Andrew instituted Stachys as first bishop of Byzantium; this list is likely to be from the eighth century. Traditions of Andrew's apostolic activity seem to have been known from at least the fourth century onwards by fathers of the church, and by the time of Gregory of Tours the Byzantine tradition concerning Andrew was well established.

The tradition that Andrew's apostolic activity was in Scythia may be found in Origen (see Eusebius, HE 3. 1 (Schwartz, GCS 9.2, p. 188)), but the original author of the Acts of Andrew (if the Acts of Andrew and Matthias are excluded from the original Acts) gave his account of a journey only from Pontus to Greece, where a belief in his martyrdom in Patras could be explained.

The stories set in Greece survived in the versions by Gregory of Tours and Pseudo‐Abdias. The legends set in Scythia may be represented in the Acts of Andrew and Matthias and in the Acts of Peter and Andrew (see below).


The Acts of Andrew below is based on the translation by MacDonald from the text reconstructed by Prieur and by MacDonald on the evidence primarily of the Jerusalem and Sinai manuscripts.


Greek and Latin

  • J. M. Prieur, Acta Andreae, 2 vols. (Turnhout, 1989) (= CCSA 5 and 6).

  • D. R. MacDonald, The Acts of Andrew and the Acts of Andrew and Matthias in the City of the Cannibals (Atlanta, 1990) (= SBL Texts and Translations 33; Christian Apocrypha 1).


  • T. Detorakis, Ανέκδοτο μαρτύριο του̑ ἀποστόλου Ἀνδρέα, in Acts of the Second International Congress of Peloponnesian Studies 1980, i (Athens, 1981–2), 325–52 (= Peloponnesiaca Supplement 8).

  • Vat. 808: ‘Ex Actis Andreae’, Lipsius–Bonnet, ii. 1, 38–45.

  • Martyrium Prius: Lipsius–Bonnet, ii. 1, 46–57.

  • Martyrium Alterum: Lipsius–Bonnet, ii. 1, 58–64.

  • Narratio: M. Bonnet, ‘Martyrium Sancti Apostoli Andreae’, Anal. Boll. 2 The texts in Anal. Boll. were reprinted separately in M. Bonnet, Supplementum Codicis Apocryphi, ii (Paris, 1895). 13 (1894), 353–72. [Eng. trans. (beginning at Narratio 4) in Peterson (below General), 49–58.]

  • Laudatio: M. Bonnet, ‘Acta Andreae Apostoli cum laudatione contexta’, Anal. Boll. 2 The texts in Anal. Boll. were reprinted separately in M. Bonnet, Supplementum Codicis Apocryphi, ii (Paris, 1895). 13 (1894), 309–52

  • Passio (Epistle of the Presbyters and Deacons in Achaea): Lipsius–Bonnet, ii. 1, 1–37 (includes one Latin and two Greek texts) [Cf. C. C. Woog, Presbyterorum et diaconorum Achaiae de Martyrio Sancti Andreae apostoli epistoli encyclica (Leipzig, 1749) (Greek text), and Cf. Fabricius, ii. 747–59.]


  • Conversante et Docente: M. Bonnet. ‘Passio Sancti Andreae Apostoli,’ Anal. Boll. 2 The texts in Anal. Boll. were reprinted separately in M. Bonnet, Supplementum Codicis Apocryphi, ii (Paris, 1895). 13 (1894), 373–8.

  • Gregory of Tours: see introduction above.

  • Pseudo‐Abdias, Apostolic History, iii (ed. Fabricius, ii. 456–515) (joins a modified version of Gregory's epitome with Conversante et Docente). [General discussion in Lipsius, i. 117–78.]


  • Utrecht 1: G. Quispel, ‘An Unknown Fragment of the Acts of Andrew (Pap. Copt. Utrecht N.1)’, VC 10 (1956), 129–48 and plate (repr. in G. Quispel, Gnostic Studies, ii (Istanbul, 1975), 271–87 (= Uitgaven van het Nederlands historisch—archaeologisch Institut te Ishtanbul 34). [Reconstruction by Roelof van den Broek in Prieur, CCA 6, 653–71.]

  • Bodleian Fragment: J. Barns, ‘A Coptic Apocryphal Fragment in the Bodleian Library’, JTS 11 (1960), 70–6.


  • A French translation (with introductory notes) of the Armenian (based on MS 653 of Venice) as edited by C. Tsherakian, Ankanon Girkh Arakhelakankh (= Non‐Canonical Apostolic Writings) (Venice, 1904), 146–67, has been made by Leloir, CCA 3, 228–57; cf. id, ‘La version arménienne des actes apocryphes d'André et le Diatessaron’, NTS 22 (1976), 115–39.

Modern Translations


  • Walker, 335–48 (Greek of the Epistle of the Presbyters and Deacons of Achaea).

  • Pick, 220–21 (the fragments of Evodius, Vat. 808, and a mosaic based on parts of the Épître grecque and the Martyrium Prius).

  • James, 337–63.

  • Hennecke3, ii. 390–425 (Flamion's mosaic of the martyrdom, the tract by Evodius, P. Utrecht 1, Vat. 808, and the Bodleian fragment).

  • Hennecke5, ii. 101–51 (P. Utrecht 1, Vat. 808, Jerusalem–Sinai MSS, summary of Gregory of Tours' epitome).


  • Migne, Dictionnaire, ii, cols. 93–101 (Latin of the Epistle of the Presbyters and Deacons of Achaea).

  • Amiot, 252–61 (Latin of the Epistle of the Presbyters and Deacons of Achaea).

  • Éac, 877–972 (Greek Acts, Utrecht 1, Gregory of Tours' Epitome).

  • J.‐M. Prieur, Actes de l'apôtre André (Turnhout, 1995) (= Apocryphes. Collection de poche de l'AELAC 7).


  • Hennecke1, 459–73 (E. Schimmelpfeng) (Vat. 808, Evodius' citations, parts of Épître grecque, and Martyrium Prius 14); cf. Handbuch, 544–62.

  • Hennecke3, ii. 270–97 (M. Hornschuh) (Bodleian Fragment, P. Utrecht 1, Vat. 808, the tract by Evodius, Flamion's mosaic of the martyrdom).

  • Hennecke5, ii. 93–137 (J.‐M. Prieur, W. Schneemelcher, G. Ahn) (P. Utrecht 1, Vat. 808, Jerusalem–Sinai MSS, summary of Gregory of Tours' epitome).

  • Michaelis, 379–401 (selection).


  • Erbetta, ii. 395–449 (Vat. 808, P. Utrecht 1, citations by Evodius and Pseudo‐Titus, Gregory's ‘Virtutes Andreae’ in the collection of Pseudo‐Abdias iii, the Latin of the Epistle of the Presbyters and Deacons of Achaea, Martyrium Prius, Martyrium Alterum A, and a summary of Epiphanius the Monk's testimony).

  • Moraldi, ii. 1351–1429, 1467–98 (Vat. 808, P. Utrecht 1, Bodleian Fragment, Gregory's ‘Virtutes Andreae’, Pseudo‐Abdias iii, Épître grecque, Martyrium Prius).


  • See M. McNamara, The Apocrypha in the Irish Church (Dublin, 1975), 91–2.


  • Lipsius, i. 543–622.

  • M. Bonnet, ‘La Passion de l'apôtre André en quelle langue a‐t‐elle été écrite?’, ByzZ 3 (1894), 458–69.

  • James, Apoc. Anec. ii, pp. xxix–xxxi.

  • J. Flamion, Les Actes apocryphes de l'apôtre André. Les Actes d'André et de Matthias, de Pierre et d'André et les textes apparentés (Louvain, Paris, Brussels, 1911) (= Recueil de travaux . . . d'histoire et de philologie 33). 3 Review by M. R. James, JTS 13 (1912), 435–7.

  • M. Blumenthal, ‘Zur Gesamtkomposition der Andreasakten’, in Formen und Motive in der apokryphen Apostelgeschichten (Leipzig, 1933), 38–57 (= TU 48.1).

  • C. R. C. Allberry, A Manichaean Psalm‐Book (Stuttgart, 1938) (= Manichaean Manuscripts in the Chester Beatty Collection 2).

  • F. Dvornik, The Idea of Apostolicity in Byzantium and the Legend of the Apostle Andrew (Cambridge, Mass., 1958) (= Dumbarton Oaks Studies 4).

  • P. M. Peterson, Andrew, Brother of Simon Peter, His History and His Legends (Leiden, 1958; repr. 1963) (= Supplements to Novum Testamentum 1) (includes details of works discussing the Andrew traditions in both the East and West from the New Testament up to the twelfth century).

  • Plümacher, cols. 30–4.

  • J.‐M. Prieur, ‘La figure de l'apôtre dans les actes apocryphes d'André’, in F. Bovon (ed.), Les Actes apocryphes des apôtres: Christianisme et monde païen (Geneva, 1981), 121–39 (= Publications de la Faculté de Théologie de l'Université de Genève 4).

  • —‘Les Actes apocryphes de l'apôtre André: Présentation des diverses traditions apocryphes et état de la question’, ANRW 2.25.6, 4384–4414.

  • D. R. MacDonald, Christianizing Homer (New York and Oxford, 1994).


1 A Latin apocryphon that exists in an 8th‐century MS. See Lipsius, ii.2, 401–6, and the text in D. de Bruyne, ‘Nouveaux fragments des Actes de Pierre, de Paul, de Jean, d'André et de l'Apocalypse d’Élie’, Rev. Bén. 25 (1908), 149–60.

2 The texts in Anal. Boll. were reprinted separately in M. Bonnet, Supplementum Codicis Apocryphi, ii (Paris, 1895).

3 Review by M. R. James, JTS 13 (1912), 435–7.

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