Author Topic: How old were the apostles during their ministry?  (Read 3887 times)

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Offline Anastasia1

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How old were the apostles during their ministry?
« on: January 29, 2012, 01:18:45 AM »
I have heard they were teenagers, but I just read of St. Mark, "His  family  was highly religious and in close relationship with the Lord Jesus. His cousin was St. Barnabas and his father's cousin was St. Peter." *Quote from Introduction to the Coptic Church by Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty.
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Offline LBK

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Re: How old were the apostles during their ministry?
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2012, 01:25:34 AM »
The iconography of the Twelve is remarkably consistent. All but three are shown as bearded men, some with brown, others with black, a couple with white hair and beards. This means that these nine were mature, adult men. The three beardless ones are Thomas, Philip, and John. Holy Tradition indicates John was the youngest of them all, and likely a teenager when he became a disciple.
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Offline J.M.C

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Re: How old were the apostles during their ministry?
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2012, 11:41:29 AM »
The three beardless ones are Thomas, Philip, and John. Holy Tradition indicates John was the youngest of them all, and likely a teenager when he became a disciple.

Though not a Holy Apostle, it's still worth mentioning that Judas is very often shown in icons (such as the Last Supper) as being beardless - and therefore a youth - as well.

Of the bearded Apostles, Ss Peter and Andrew (the first-called) are consistently shown as being grey-haired, and so can be considered as being older than the others.

I've certainly never heard of all the Apostles being teenagers. I does seem as though they were chosen for being a diverse group: zealots (Simon) and tax-collectors (Matthew), young and old, educated (Philip was well-versed in the Scriptures) and uneducated.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2012, 11:50:44 AM by J.M.C »
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Offline Seafra

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Re: How old were the apostles during their ministry?
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2012, 01:27:12 PM »
this teaching only has one form of support in Scripture, Mat 17:24-27, you had to be 20 I believe to pay this tax. Since only Jesus and Peter paid then it shows the others with them, James and John i think. This contradicts the post of LBK so i would look at his being more credible but this is how i have come to learn about this topic.

Offline biro

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Re: How old were the apostles during their ministry?
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2012, 03:09:17 PM »
St. John was known to have been the youngest of the Apostles. In religious art and in icons which depict him with the other Apostles, John is shown as a fresh-faced youth. It is possible he was in his late teens at the most, when he was chosen to be an Apostle. The others are usually shown to be somewhere from their twenties through early middle age. Perhaps Our Lord chose them in part because they would be of sufficient strength to travel extensively and preach after the Ascension. The Lord may have chosen them with certain factors in mind about the task they would have to do. That's my thought.
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Offline witega

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Re: How old were the apostles during their ministry?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2012, 04:16:16 PM »
this teaching only has one form of support in Scripture, Mat 17:24-27, you had to be 20 I believe to pay this tax. Since only Jesus and Peter paid then it shows the others with them, James and John i think. This contradicts the post of LBK so i would look at his being more credible but this is how i have come to learn about this topic.

If there is Patristic commentary to the contrary, I'll gladly take correction, but I don't see anything in that passage to say that the others didn't pay the tax. It's just that the tax collectors came to Peter asking about Christ specifically, and the Peter went to talk to Christ who take the opportunity to give Peter a lesson--and then took care of the matter for the two of them. There's no reason the others couldn't have just been taking care of their tax issues on their own and therefore were simply irrelevant to this account.
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Offline Seafra

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Re: How old were the apostles during their ministry?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2012, 04:17:58 PM »
this teaching only has one form of support in Scripture, Mat 17:24-27, you had to be 20 I believe to pay this tax. Since only Jesus and Peter paid then it shows the others with them, James and John i think. This contradicts the post of LBK so i would look at his being more credible but this is how i have come to learn about this topic.

If there is Patristic commentary to the contrary, I'll gladly take correction, but I don't see anything in that passage to say that the others didn't pay the tax. It's just that the tax collectors came to Peter asking about Christ specifically, and the Peter went to talk to Christ who take the opportunity to give Peter a lesson--and then took care of the matter for the two of them. There's no reason the others couldn't have just been taking care of their tax issues on their own and therefore were simply irrelevant to this account.
as i said i would look at others being more credible...

Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: How old were the apostles during their ministry?
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2013, 04:40:08 PM »
This was an issue I noted when I chose the image for a FB page for young Orthodox. I used the images of the three apostles plus Stephen who also seems to have been pretty young at the time of his martyrdom.

Interestingly, if we take John with his child-like loyalty, Stephen with the youthful irreverent stubborness before the elders, a similar irreverence that we see in Thomas when he hears abour the resurrection, that makes a lot of sense. Even Judas self-righteousness ("we should sell this perfume to give the money to the poor") and the kind of despair he shows (I messed everything up, I'll kill myself) could be seen as the acts of a troubled young person.

Equally for Peter being the oldest one. He is chosen to speak for all the others, is treated as an elder with special privileges given only to James and John who were relatives of the Lord. His later "prudence" in not denying that he was a follower of Christ also shows a certain experience in life, of people who have learned the hard way to fear the powers that be of the world.

I'd like to see a movie (a trilogy? :) ) or series where the imagery and details of the life of Christ were taken from icons and Orthodox tradition in general, starting with the Conception of the Theotokos and ending with her Dormition.

The iconography of the Twelve is remarkably consistent. All but three are shown as bearded men, some with brown, others with black, a couple with white hair and beards. This means that these nine were mature, adult men. The three beardless ones are Thomas, Philip, and John. Holy Tradition indicates John was the youngest of them all, and likely a teenager when he became a disciple.
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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: How old were the apostles during their ministry?
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2013, 05:36:54 PM »
Maybe it is just me, but it kinda takes something away from my mental image of Christ and the apostles if He was a 30 year old guy running around with a bunch of teenagers.
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