Scythians: Adventures of Andrew and Matthias among the Man-eaters as ethnographic fiction (third-fifth centuries CE)

Citation with stable link: Philip A. Harland, 'Scythians: Adventures of Andrew and Matthias among the Man-eaters as ethnographic fiction (third-fifth centuries CE),' Ethnic Relations and Migration in the Ancient World, last modified April 3, 2023,

Ancient author: Anonymous, Acts of Andrew and Matthias (link; link to Latin and Greek texts).

Comments: Interest in ethnographic discourses about far-off barbarian peoples with their supposedly paradoxical and even dangerous customs comes to play a role not only in the Greek novels (on which see, for instance, the discussion of the Egyptian cowherds at this link) but also in some of the largely fictional apocryphal narratives about apostles. Most prominently here are those narratives that are concerned to most thoroughly endanger the apostle or apostles in question in order to put the miraculous rescue by God or Jesus into relief.

The Acts of Andrew and Matthias (Matthew in some manuscripts), which dates anywhere from the second to the fifth century CE, does so by having poor Matthias assigned by lot to the land of the Anthropophagians, or “Man-eaters.” But don’t worry too much, because Andrew (and Jesus) will come to the rescue, and even the Man-eaters may have a change of heart (or diet). (We need not dive into the quandry of whether this story was originally part of the rest of the Acts of Andrew for our present purposes).

The version of the story (in Greek) presented here does not specify where exactly the land of the Man-eaters was. However, it seems that the story presumes Andrew and Matthias’ activity among Scythian peoples north of the Black Sea. In particular, one Latin recension of the story (the Vatican recension) does specifically refer to the Scythian descent group (gens Scythica) as Andrew prepares to leave after they have changed their ways from man-eating (Blatt 1930, 146-147; folio 158 v, lines 14-21). In that extended version, an otherwise unknown city of Myrmedonia is the scene of the action. Perhaps Myrmekion in Taurian territory was at one point in mind as the setting (on which see Blatt 1930, 6-7).

Other evidence points in a similar direction regarding a Scythian setting for tales about Andrew. Particularly important here is an early third century tradition found in Origen (Commentary on Genesis) that, when all the apostles were alotted territories for their activities, Andrew was assigned Scythia (Eusebius, Church History 3.1; cf. Dvorak 1958). Other traditions place Andrew instead in Achaia in southern Greece which does not seem like a great place for people who consume human flesh. But Gregory of Tours’ sixth century summary of Andrew’s adventures (Book of Saint Andrew’s Miracles) imagines Andrew actively teaching on the southern coast of the Black Sea at one point (at Amaseia in Pontos, Sinope in Paphlagonia, and Nikomedia in Bithynia), not a far cry from Scythians or Taurians on the opposite shore. Certain Byzantine authors tried to combine a variety of traditions, as with the Narratio (eighth century CE) that has Andrew travelling from Nikaia in Bithynia into Thrace before sailing across to Scythia and passing through Sevastopol (Chersonesos in Taurian territory) and encountering “Ethiopians” in the interior of Kolchos (translation in Peterson 1958, 49). This may be bringing Herodotos’ dark-skinned Egyptian Kolchians (link) into the picture and confusing them with Ethiopians (in order to cover legends about Andrew also working among Ethiopians while still keeping northwestern Asia Minor around Byzantion and the Black Sea area central).

As to the ethnographic traditions that echo here in the Acts of Andrew and Matthias, there are of course the widespread claims that Scythians as well as Ethiopians, Indians and others at the edges of the earth regularly engaged in human sacrifice and consumed human flesh (see other entries under category two for peoples in these regions). Herodotos’ early and influential account of Scythian territory places Androphagians (rather than Anthropophagians, but with the same meaning of  “Man-eaters”) north of the Black Sea (link). Also within the broader category of Scythians are the Taurians who especially capture Greek travellers and sacrifice them to the Taurians’ goddess both in Herodotos (same link) and in Euripides’ late fifth century BCE play Iphigeneia among the Taurians.

Added to this are other more particular ethnographic tales about northern peoples who are imagined to even consume their own elderly family members. They did so either by killing and eating them when they were properly aged (as with Strabo’s discussion of the Derbekians in the Kolchos or Caucasus area, east of the Black Sea at this link) or by butchering deceased family members and consuming their bodies in some other way (as claimed by Herodotos regarding Massagetians at this link, as well as Strabo at this link). The tale of the Man-eaters’ selection of their own elders in the Acts of Andrew and Matthias when the supply of foreign meat was cut off (due to the miraculous release of prisoners) may have some affinity or familiarity with such ethnographic imaginings.

Works consulted: F. Blatt, ed., Die lateinischen Bearbeitungen der Acta Andreae et Mattiae apud anthropophagos (Giessen: Töpelmann, 1930) (link); F. Dvornik, The Idea of Apostolicity in Byzantium and the Legend of the Apostle Andrew (Cambridge: HUP, 1958) (link); N.J. Hardy, “Acts of Andrew and Matthias.” e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha. Accessed December 22, 2022 (link); P.M. Peterson, Andrew, Brother of Simon Peter: His History and His Legends (Leiden: Brill, 1958) (link).

Source of translation: A. Walker, Apocryphal Gospels, Acts, and Revelations, Ante-Nicene Christian Library, volume 16 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1870), 348-367, thoroughly re-adapted by Harland based on the Latin in Lipsius and Bonnet.


[Matthias taken and imprisoned by the Man-eaters]

(1) About that time all the apostles had come together to the same place and they shared among themselves the countries, casting lots so that each apostle could go away into the area that had been assigned to him. Matthias [Matthew in some manuscripts] was assigned by lot to go to the country of the Anthropophagians (“Man-eaters”) [note: some Latin manuscripts identify the country as Myrmedonia]. The people of that city were not used to eating bread or drinking wine. Instead, they ate human flesh and drank their blood. So with everyone who came into their city, they grabbed them, gouged out their eyes, and gave them a drug to drink which was prepared using knowledge of drugs and Magian skill. Drinking the drug altered the person’s heart and deranged his mind.

(2) As Matthias entered the gate of their city, the men of that city grabbed him and gouged out his eyes. After gouging them out, they made him drink the drug of their Magian deception and led him away to the prison. They put grass beside him to eat and he did not eat it [i.e. implying that the drug also made a person behave like livestock, as explained below]. For when he had taken their drug, his heart was not altered and his mind was not deranged. Instead, he kept praying to God, weeping, and saying: “Lord Jesus Christ, for whose sake we have given up all things and have followed you, knowing that you are the helper of all who hope in you, pay attention and see what they have done to Matthias your servant, how they have made me like an animal. For you are the one who knows all things. If, therefore, you have determined that the wicked men in this city should devour me, I will not by any means run from your arrangement. Provide me with my sight, Lord, so that I can at least see what the wicked men in this city have planned for me. Do not abandon me, my Lord Jesus Christ, and do not give me up to this bitter death.”

(3) While Matthias was praying like this in the prison, a light shone, and a voice came out from the light saying: “Beloved Matthias, receive your sight.” And immediately he received his sight. And again there came forth a voice saying: “Be of good courage, our Matthias, and do not be dismayed because I will not by any means abandon you. I will deliver you from every danger, and not only you but also all your brothers who are with you, because I am with you everywhere and at all times. But remain here twenty-seven days for the direction of many souls. After that I will send out Andrew to you, and he will lead you out of this prison, and not you only but also everyone who hears.” After saying this, the saviour said again to Matthias, “Peace be to you, our Matthias,” and he went into heaven. After seeing him, Matthias said to the Lord: “Let your favour remain with me, my Lord Jesus. So Matthias then sat down in the prison and sang. And it happened that, when the executioners came into the prison to bring out the men to eat them, Matthias also shut his eyes so that they would not notice that he saw them. After coming to him, the executioners read the ticket in his hand and said among themselves: “In another three days we will bring this one out from the prison and kill him.” Because in the case of every man whom they captured, they noted that day on which they grabbed him and tied a ticket to his right hand. That way they would know when the thirty days had passed.

[Andrew’s task to rescue Matthias, preparations and journey with Jesus incognito]

(4) When the twenty-seven days had passed since Matthias was seized, the Lord appeared in the country where Andrew was teaching and said to him: “Rise up, travel with your disciples to the country of the Anthropophagians (Man-eaters), and rescue Matthias from that place, because in three days the men of the city will bring him out and kill him to eat him. Andrew answered and said: “My Lord, I will not be able to accomplish the journey there before the limited period of the three days. Instead, send your angel quickly so that he can bring Matthias away from there. For you know, Lord, that I also am only human, and will not be able to go there quickly. And the Lord says to Andrew: “Obey the one who made you and who is able to say in a single word that that city will be removed from there and everyone who lives there. For I command the horns of the winds and they drive it from there. But rise up early, and go down to the sea with your disciples, and you will find a boat upon the shore, and you will go aboard with your disciples.” Having said this, the Saviour again said: “Peace to you, Andrew, along with those with you!” And he went into the heavens.

(5) Getting up early, Andrew proceeded to the sea along with his disciples. After coming down to the shore, he saw a little boat and in the boat three men sitting. For the Lord by his own power had prepared a boat and it was the Lord, in human shape, who was piloting the boat. The Lord brought two angels whom he made to appear like men, and they were in the boat sitting. Andrew, therefore, having seen the boat and the three who were in it, rejoiced with exceeding great joy. Having gone to them, he said: “Where are you going, brothers, with this little boat?” And the Lord answered and said to him: “We are going to the country of the Anthropophagians (Man-eaters). Having seen Jesus, Andrew still did not recognise him because Jesus was hiding his divine nature and he appeared to Andrew like a pilot. After hearing Andrew say, “I too am going to the country of the Anthropophagians,” Jesus says to him: “Every man avoids that city and why are you going there?” Andrew answered and said: “We have some small business to do there, and we must get through with it. But if you can, do us this kindness to transport us to the country of the Anthropophagians where you also intend to go. Jesus answered and said to them: “Come on board.”

(6) Andrew said: “I want to give you some explanation, young man, before we come on board your boat.” And Jesus said: “Say what you want to say.” And Andrew said to him: “We have no money to give you for transportation. We don’t even have bread for our nourishment.” And Jesus answered and said to him: “How are you going away without giving us the cost of transportation and without having bread for your nourishment?” And Andrew said to Jesus, “Listen, brother. Do not think that it is through masterfulness that we do not pay for our transportation, but we are disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, the good God. For he chose for himself us twelve, and gave us such a commandment, saying, ‘When you go to preach, do not carry money on the journey, nor bread, nor bag, nor shoes, nor staff, nor two coats.’ If, therefore, you will do us the kindness, brother, tell us right away. If not, let us know, and we will go and look for another boat for ourselves.” Jesus answered and said to Andrew: “If this is the commandment which you received and you keep it, come on board my boat with all joy. For I really want you, the disciples of him who is called Jesus, to come on board my boat, rather than those who give me silver and gold. For I am altogether worthy that the apostle of the Lord should come on board my boat.” And Andrew answered and said: “Permit me, brother, may the Lord grant you glory and honour. And Andrew went on board the boat with his disciples.

(7) After going on board, Andrew sat down by the boat’s sail. And Jesus answered and said to one of the angels: “Rise and go down to the hold of the boat and bring up three loaves so that the men can eat in case they happened to be hungry from having come to us after a long journey.” He rose and went down to the hold of the boat, and brought up three loaves, as the Lord commanded him. He gave them the loaves. Then Jesus said to Andrew: “Rise up, brother, with your friends and eat food so that you may be strong to withstand the tossing of the sea.” And Andrew answered and said to his disciples: “My children, we have found great kindness from this man. Stand up, then, and partake of the nourishment of bread so that you may be strong to bear the tossing of the sea.” And his disciples were not able to answer him a word, for they were in distress because of the sea. Then Jesus forced Andrew to also eat the bread along with his disciples. And Andrew answered and said to Jesus, not knowing that it was Jesus: “Brother, may the Lord give you heavenly bread out of his kingdom. Allow me then brother, because you see that the children are distressed because of the sea.” And Jesus answered and said to Andrew: “Certainly the brothers lack experience with the sea. But ask them whether they want to go to land while you yourself remain until you will finish your business, and again come back to them.” Then Andrew said to his disciples: “My children, do you wish to go to the land, and me to remain here until I finish my business for which I have been sent?” And they answered and said to Andrew: “If we go away from you, may we become strangers to the good things which the Lord has provided for us. Now, therefore, we are with you, wherever you go.”

(8) Jesus answered and said to Andrew: “If you are truly a disciple of him who is called Jesus, tell your disciples the miracles which your teacher did so that their soul may rejoice and they may forget their fear of the sea. Because, look, we are going to take the boat out from the land.” Immediately Jesus said to one of the angels: “Let the boat go,” and he let go the boat out from the land. And Jesus came and sat down beside the rudder, and steered the boat. Then Andrew exhorted and comforted his disciples, saying: “Don’t be afraid, my children who have given up your life for the Lord, because the Lord will never abandon you. For at that time when I was alone with our Lord, we went on board the boat with him, and he lay down to sleep in the boat, testing us. For he was not fast asleep. When a great wind had arisen and the sea was stormy so that the waves came up high under the sail of the boat and when we were in great fear, the Lord stood up and rebuked the winds, and there was a calm in the sea. Everything feared him since they were made by him. Now, therefore, my children, fear not. For the Lord Jesus will not at all abandon us.” And having said this, the holy Andrew prayed in his heart that his disciples might be led to sleep. As Andrew was praying, his disciples fell asleep.

(9) Andrew, turning towards the Lord but not knowing that it was the Lord, said to him: “Tell me, man, and show me the skill of your steering because I have never seen any man steering in the sea the way I see you steering now. For sixteen years have I sailed the sea, and notice this is the seventeenth, and I have not seen such skill. For the boat is truly like it is on land. Show me then, young man, your skill.” Then Jesus answered and said to Andrew: “We also have often sailed the sea, and been in danger. But since you are a disciple of the man called Jesus, the sea has recognised you that you are righteous, and has become calm, and has not lifted its waves against the boat.” Then Andrew cried out with a loud voice, saying: “I thank you, my Lord Jesus Christ, that I have met a man who glorifies your name.”

(10) Jesus answered and said: “Tell me, Andrew, you disciple of the man called Jesus, why did the Judeans not believe in him, saying that he was not God but man. Show me, disciple of the man called Jesus, because I have heard that he showed his divinity to his disciples.” And Andrew answered and said: “Truly, brother, he showed us that he was God. Do not think, then, that he is man. For he made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them.” And Jesus answered and said: “How then did the Judeans not believe him? Perhaps he did not do miracles in their presence?” Andrew said: “Haven’t you heard of the miracles which he did in their presence? He made the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear; he cleansed lepers; and, he changed water into wine. After taking five loaves and two fishes, he made a crowd recline on the grass and, having blessed the food, he gave them to eat. There were five thousand men who ate and were filled. They also gathered what was left over in twelve baskets of pieces. And after all these things they did not believe him.”

And Jesus answered and said to Andrew: “Perhaps he did these miracles in the presence of the people rather than in the presence of the high priests, and because of this they did not believe him.” (11) Andrew answered: “Yes, brother, he did them also before the high priests, not only openly, but also in secret, and they did not believe him.” Jesus answered and said: “What are the miracles which he did in secret? Disclose them to me.” And Andrew answered and said: “O questioning man, why do you put me to the test?” And Jesus answered and said: “I do not put you to the test by saying this, disciple of him called Jesus, but my soul rejoices and exults, and not only mine, but also every soul that hears the wonders of Jesus.”

[Note: the following indented section of chapters 11-15 inclusive involving the sphinx is often considered a later addition to the narrative, usually dated to the fifth century]

[Andrew recounts a time Jesus took his disciples into a temple of the non-Judean peoples]

Andrew answered and said:

“The Lord will fill your soul with all joy and all good, child, as you have persuaded me now to relate to you the miracles which our Lord did in secret. (12) It came to pass as we, the twelve disciples, were going with our Lord into a temple of the peoples (ethnē; or: gentiles) – so that he could show us the ignorance of the Slanderer (diabolos; or: Devil) – that the high priests, having seen us following Jesus, said to us, ‘Miserable people! Why do you walk with him who says, I am the Son of God? Do you mean to say that God has a son? Which of you has ever at any time seen God associating with a woman? Is not this the son of Joseph the carpenter, and his mother is Mary, and his brothers James and Simon?’ And when we heard these words, our hearts were turned into weakness. And Jesus, having known that our hearts were giving way, took us into a desert place, and did great miracles in our presence, and displayed to us all his divinity. And we spoke to the high priests, saying, ‘Come and see. For, observe, he has persuaded us.’”

(13) “Since the high priests had come, they went with us. When we had gone into the temple of the peoples, Jesus showed us the heaven, that we might know whether the things were true or not. And there went in along with us thirty men of the people, and four high priests. And Jesus, having looked on the right hand and on the left of the temple, saw two sculptured sphinxes, one on the right and one on the left. And Jesus having turned to us, said, ‘Observe the sign of the cross because these are like the cherubim and the seraphim which are in heaven.’ Then Jesus, having looked to the right, where the sphinx was, said to it, ‘I say to you, you image of that which is in heaven, which the hands of craftsmen have sculptured, be separated from your place, come down, answer and convict the high priests, and show them whether I am God or man.’”

[Preaching sphinx in the temple]

(14) “Immediately at that very time the sphinx left its place and, after taking on a human voice, said, ‘O foolish sons of Israel! Not only has the blinding of their own hearts not been enough for them, but they also wish others to be blind like themselves, saying that God is man, God who in the beginning fashioned man and put his breath into everyone, God who gave motion to those things which moved not. This is the one who called Abraham, who loved his son Isaac, who brought back his beloved Jacob into his land. He is the judge of living and dead. It is him who prepares great benefits for those who obey him, and prepares punishment for those who believe him not. Do not pay attention to the fact that I am an idol that can be handled. For I say to you that the sacred places of your synagogue are more excellent. For though we are stones, the priests have given us only the name of a god. Those priests who serve the temple purify themselves, being afraid of the demons. For if they have had intercourse with women, they purify themselves seven days because of their fear. The result is that they do not come into the temple because of us, because of the name which they have given us, that we are a “god.” But you, if you have committed fornication, take up the law of God, go into the synagogue of God, purify and read, and do not reverence the glorious words of God. Because of this, I say to you, that the holy things purify your synagogues, so that they also become assemblies of his only begotten Son.’ The sphinx having said this, ceased speaking.”

[Andrew recounts discussion between Jesus and his disciples with Judean high priests]

(15) “And we said to the high priests, ‘Now it is fitting that you should believe, because even the stones have convicted you.’ And the Judeans answered and said, ‘These stones speak by Magian skill, and don’t you think that it is a god? For if you have tested what has been said by the stone, you have ascertained its deception. For where did he find Abraham, or how did he see him? For Abraham died many years before he was born, and how does he know him?’ And Jesus, having again turned to the image, said to it, ‘Because these people don’t believe I have spoken with Abraham, go away into the land of the Canaanites, and go away to the doublecave in the field of Mamre, where the body of Abraham is, and cry outside of the tomb, saying, “Abraham, Abraham, whose body is in the tomb and whose soul is in paradise, thus speaks he who fashioned man, who made you from the beginning his friend. Rise up, you and your son Isaac, and the son of your son Jacob, and come to the temples of the Jebusites, that we may convict the high priests, in order that they may realize that we know one another.”’ And when the sphinx heard these words, immediately she walked around in the presence of us all and set out for the land of the Canaanites to the field of Mamre and cried outside of the tomb, as God had commanded her. And immediately the twelve patriarchs came out of the tomb alive, and answered and said to her, ‘To which of us have you been sent?’ And the sphinx answered and said: ‘I have been sent to the three patriarchs for testimony. But go in and rest until the time of the resurrection.’ And having heard, they went into the tomb and fell asleep. And the three patriarchs set out along with the sphinx to Jesus, and convicted the high priests. And Jesus said to them, ‘Go away to your places,’ and they went away. And he said also to the image, ‘Go up to your place,’ and immediately she went up and stood in her place. And he also did many other miracles, and they did not believe him. If I were to recount such miracles, you would not be able to bear it. And Jesus answered and said to him: ‘I can bear it because I prudently listen to profitable words.’”

[Angels fly Andrew and his disciples to the city of the Man-eaters]

(16) When the boat was about to come near the land, Jesus bent down his head upon one of his angels and was quiet. Andrew stopped speaking. Reclining his head upon one of his disciples, Andrew fell asleep. Jesus said to his angels: “Lift up Andrew with your hands and carry Andrew and his disciples, and go and put them outside of the city of the Anthropophagians (Man-eaters). Having laid them on the ground, return to me.” And the angels did as Jesus commanded them, and the angels returned to Jesus. Jesus went up into the heavens with his angels.

[Andrew’s disciples relate their visions]

(17) When it was morning, Andrew found himself sitting on the ground after waking up and looking around. After he looked, he saw his disciples sleeping on the ground. He woke them up and said to them: “Rise up, my children, and know the great arrangement that has happened to us, and learn that the Lord was with us in the boat, and we did not recognize him, because he transformed himself as if he were a pilot in the boat. He humbled himself and appeared to us as a man, putting us to the test.” And Andrew, recovering himself, said: “Lord, I recognised your excellent words, but you did not manifest yourself to me, and because of this I did not know you.” And his disciples answered and said to him: “Father Andrew, do not think that we knew when you were speaking with him in the boat, for we were weighed down by a most heavy sleep. Eagles came down out of the heavens, and lifted up our souls and took them away into the paradise in heaven, and we saw great wonders. For we saw our Lord Jesus sitting on a throne of glory, and all the angels round about him. We also saw Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the holy ones. David praised him with a song upon his harp. And we saw you, the twelve apostles, standing by in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. Around you were twelve angels with each angel standing behind each of you, and they were like you in appearance. And we heard the Lord saying to the angels, ‘Listen to the apostles in everything they ask you.’ These are the things which we have seen, father Andrew, until you woke us up and angels, who appeared like eagles, brought our souls into our bodies.”

[Jesus appears to Andrew in various forms]

(18) After hearing this, Andrew rejoiced with great joy that his disciples had been considered worthy to see these wonderful things. And Andrew looked up into heaven, and said: “Appear to me, Lord Jesus Christ, because I know that you are not far from your servants. Pardon me, Lord, for what I have done, for I have seen you as a man in the boat and I have conversed with you as if you were a man. Now therefore, Lord, manifest yourself to me in this place.” And when Andrew had said this, Jesus appeared to him in the likeness of a most beautiful little child. And Jesus answered and said: “Greet our Andrew!” And Andrew, having seen him, worshipped him, saying: “Pardon me, Lord Jesus Christ, for I saw you like a man on the sea and conversed with you. In what way have I sinned, my Lord Jesus, that you did not show yourself to me on the sea?”

And Jesus answered and said to Andrew: “You have not sinned, but I did this to you because you said, ‘I will not be able to go to the city of the Anthropophagians (Man-eaters) in three days.’ I have showed you that I am able to do anything, and to appear to every one as I want to. So rise up, go into the city to Matthias, and bring him out out of the prison, and all the strangers that are with him. Look, I show you, Andrew, what you must suffer before going into this city. They will heap upon you tortures and insults, and scatter your flesh in the ways and the streets, and your blood will flow to the ground. However, they are not able to put you to death. But endure, just as you saw me beaten, insulted, and crucified, because there are those who are destined to believe in this city.” And having said this, the Saviour went into the heavens.

[Andrew rescues Matthias from the Man-eaters]

(19) Andrew went into the city along with his disciples, and no one saw him. And when he came to the prison, he saw seven guards standing at the gate guarding. He prayed within himself, and they fell down and died. He marked the gate with the sign of the cross, and it opened on its own. And having gone in with his disciples, he found Matthias sitting and singing. After seeing him, Matthias stood up and they greeted each other with a holy kiss. Andrew said to Matthias: “Brother, how have you been found here? For in three days they will bring you out to be food for them. Where are the great mysteries which you have been taught, and the wonderful things which we have believed?” And Matthias said to him: “Didn’t you hear the Lord saying, ‘I will send you like sheep into the midst of wolves?’ They brought me into the prison right away and I prayed to the Lord. The Lord said to me, ‘Remain here twenty-seven days, and I will send you Andrew, and he will bring you out of the prison.’ And now, behold, it has happened just as the Lord said.”

(20) Looking around, Andrew then saw three imprisoned men eating grass while naked. Andrew beat his breast and said: “Consider, Lord, what the men suffer! How have they made them like the irrational animals?” And Andrew says to Satan: “Woe to you, the Slanderer, the enemy of God, and to your angels, because the strangers here have done nothing to you. How have you brought upon them this punishment? How long do you fight against the humankind? You brought Adam out of paradise, and caused men to be mixed up with the transgression. The Lord was enraged, and brought on the flood so as to sweep man away. And again have you made your appearance in this city too, in order that you may make those who are here eat human flesh,that the end of them also may be in execration and destruction, thinking in yourself that God will sweep away the work of his hands. have you not heard that God said, ‘I will not bring a deluge upon the earth?’ But if there is any punishment prepared, it is for the sake of taking vengeance upon you.”

[Andrew reverses the poison and heals and frees the other 279 men and 49 women prisoners of the Man-eaters]

(21) Then he stood up, and Andrew and Matthias prayed. After the prayer, Andrew laid his hands upon the faces of the blind men who were in the prison and they all received their sight immediately. And again he laid his hand upon their hearts, and their minds were changed into human reason. Then Andrew answered them: “Rise up and go into the lower parts of the city, and you will find in the way a great fig-tree. Sit under the fig-tree, and eat of its fruit until I come to you. But if I delay coming there, you will find abundance of food for yourselves. The fruit of the fig-tree will not fail, but as you eat it will produce more fruit and nourish you, as the Lord has said.” And they answered and said to Andrew: “Go along with us, our master, in case by chance the wicked men of this city again see us, imprison us, and inflict upon us greater and more dreadful tortures than they have inflicted upon us.” And Andrew answered and said to them: “Go! For in truth I say to you that, as you go, not even a dog will bark at you.”

And there were in all two hundred and seventy men and forty-nine women whom Andrew released from the prison. And the men went as the blessed Andrew said to them. He made Matthias go along with his disciples out of the eastern gate of the city. And Andrew commanded a cloud, and the cloud took up Matthias and the disciples of Andrew, and the cloud set them down on the mountain where Peter was teaching and they remained beside him.

[Man-eaters discover meat is missing and find alternative local sources]

(22) After leaving the prison, Andrew walked around the city. Having seen a brazen pillar and a statue standing upon it, he came and sat down behind that pillar until he could see what would happen. And it happened that the executioners went to the prison to bring out the men to eat them as food, according to their custom. They found the doors of the prison opened, and the guards that guarded it lying dead upon the ground. They immediately went and reported to the leaders of the city, saying: “We found the prison opened and, after going inside, we found nobody. Instead we found the guards lying dead upon the ground.”

When the civic leaders heard this, they said among themselves: “What, then, has happened? You do not mean to say that some persons have gone into the prison of the city and have killed the guards and taken away those that were shut up?” And they spoke to the executioners, saying: “Go to the prison and bring the men that are dead so that we can eat them up today. And let us go tomorrow and bring together all the old men of the city, that they may cast lots upon themselves, until the seven lots come, and we slay seven each day. And they will be our food until we choose young men and put them in boats as sailors. These young men will go to surrounding countries, attack them, and bring some men here, so that they may be for food to us.”

The executioners went to the prison and brought the seven men that were dead. There was an oven built in the midst of the city and there lay in the oven a large trough in which they killed the men. Their blood ran down into the trough and they drew out of the blood and drank it. And they brought the men and put them into the trough. When the executioners were lifting their hands against them, Andrew heard a voice, saying: “Behold, Andrew, what is happening in this city.”

Andrew looked and prayed to the Lord, saying: “Lord Jesus Christ, who commanded me to come into this city, do not allow those in this city to do any evil action but let the knives go out of the hands of the wicked ones.” And immediately the knives of the wicked men fell, and their hands were turned into stone.

[Plans to eat the old men and a switch for children]

After seeing what happened, the leaders wept, saying: “Woe to us, for here are those who practice Magian skills. What, then, should we do? Let us go now, and gather together the old men of the city, seeing that we are hungry.” (23) They went and gathered them together, and found two hundred and seventeen old men. They brought them to the leaders and they made them cast lots, and the lot came upon seven old men. And one of those taken by lot answered and said to the officers: “I beg you, I have for myself one son. Take him, and slay him instead of me, and let me go.” And the officers answered and said to him: “We cannot take your son, unless we bring him first to our superiors.” The officers went and told the leaders, and the leaders answered and said to the officers: “If he gives us his son instead of himself, let him go.” The officers went and told the old man. And the old man answered and said to them: “I also have a daughter along with my son. Take them, and kill them, only let me go.” And he gave his children to the officers so that they would kill them. And the children wept with each other, and begged the officers, saying: “We beg you not to kill us since we are so small in size. But let us grow up to a full size and then kill us.” This was because it was a custom in that city not to bury their dead; instead, they ate the dead. And the officers did not listen to the children or take pity on them, but carried them to the trough weeping and begging.

It happened that, as they were leading them away to kill them, Andrew began to cry because he saw what had happened. As he cried he looked up to heaven and said: “Lord Jesus Christ, as you heard me in the case of the dead men, and did not allow them to be eaten up, so also now hear me, that the executioners may not inflict death upon these children, but that the knives may be loosened out of the hands of the executioners.” And immediately the knives were loosened and fell out of the hands of the executioners. When this took place and the executioners saw what had happened, they were exceedingly afraid. Witnessing what had happened, Andrew glorified the Lord because he had listened to him in every work.

[Devil intervenes to engage with Andrew]

(24) And the leaders, having seen what had happened, wept with a great weeping, saying: “Woe to us! What are we to do?” And, look, the Slanderer (diabolos; or: Devil) appeared in the likeness of an old man, and began to say in the midst of everyone: “Woe to you because you are now dying, having no food. What can sheep and oxen do for you? They will not at all be enough for you. But rise up, and make a search here for one who has come to the city, a stranger named Andrew, and kill him. For if you do not, he will not permit you to carry on this practice longer because it was him who let loose the men out of the prison. Certainly the man is in this city, and you have not seen him. Now, therefore, rise and search for him in order that you may be able to collect your food from now on.”

Andrew saw how the Slanderer was talking to the crowds, but the Slanderer did not see the blessed Andrew. Then Andrew answered the Slanderer, and said: “O most fiendish Belial! You are the enemy of every creature, but my Lord Jesus Christ will bring you down to the abyss.” And the Slanderer, having heard this, said: “I do hear your voice and I know your voice, but I don’t know where you are located.” And Andrew answered and said to the Slanderer: “Why, then, has you been called Amael? Isn’t this because you are blind, not seeing all the holy ones?”

When the Slanderer heard this, he said to the citizens: “Look around for the one who is speaking to me, for he is the man.” And the citizens, having run in different directions, shut the gates of the city and searched for the blessed one. They did not see him. Then the Lord showed himself to Andrew, and said to him: “Andrew, rise up and show yourself to them so that they may recognize my power and the powerlessness of the Slanderer working in them.” Then Andrew rose up and said in the presence of everyone: “Look, I am Andrew the one you seek.” And the crowds ran up to him and grabbed him, saying: “We will do to you what you have done to us.”

[Attempts to kill Andrew]

And they reasoned among themselves, saying: “What method should we use to kill him?” They said to each other: “If we cut off his head, his death is not torture. If we burn him, we will not be able to eat him as food.” Then one of them, the Slanderer having entered into him, answered and said to the crowds: “Let’s do to him what he has done to us. Let’s get up, fasten a rope to his neck, and drag him through all the streets and lanes of the city. When he is dead, we will share his body.” And they followed what the Slanderer said. After fastening a rope round his neck, they dragged him through the streets and lanes of the city. The flesh of the blessed Andrew stuck to the ground, and his blood flowed onto the ground like water. And when it was evening they cast him into the prison, having bound his hands behind him, and he was in complete distress. In the morning, they brought him out and, after fastening a rope round his neck, they dragged him around. Again his flesh stuck to the ground, and his blood flowed. And the blessed one wept and prayed, saying: “Do not abandon me, my Lord Jesus Christ because I know that you are not far from your servants.” And as he was praying, the Slanderer walked behind and said to the crowds: “Strike him on the mouth so that he cannot speak.” When it was evening they took him again to the prison, having bound his hands behind him, and left him till the next day.

The Slanderer had taken with himself seven demons whom the blessed one had cast out of nearby countries. After going into the prison, the demons stood before Andrew, wishing to kill him. The demons answered and said to Andrew: “Now you have fallen into our hands. Where is your glory and your triumph, you who raise yourself up against us, dishonour us, reveal our activities to the people in every place and country, and make our workshops and temples desolate so that sacrifices are not brought into them anymore? Because of this, then, we will also kill you like we killed your teacher called Jesus and John whom Herod beheaded.” And they stood before Andrew, wishing to kill him. After seeing the seal upon his forehead which the Lord gave him, they were afraid and did not come near him, but ran away. And the Slanderer said to them: “Why have you run away from him, my children, and not killed him?” And the demons answered and said to the Slanderer: “We cannot kill him, but you should kill him if you are able. For we knew him before he came into the distress of his humiliation.”

Then one of the demons answered and said: “We cannot kill him, but let us mock him in the distress of his humiliation.” And the demons came and stood before him, and scoffed at him. Hearing this, the blessed one cried. And a voice said: “Andrew, why are you crying?” And it was the voice of the Slanderer, but changed. And Andrew answered and said: “I am crying because God commanded me, saying, ‘Be patient toward them.’” And the Slanderer said: “If you can do anything, do it.” Andrew answered and said: “Is it for this, then, that you do these things to me? But forbid it that I should disobey the commandment of my Lord. For if the Lord will make for me a charge in this city, I will punish you as you deserve.” And having heard this, they ran away.

When it was morning they brought him out again, and having fastened a rope about his neck, they dragged him. Again his flesh stuck to the ground and his blood flowed to the ground like water. And the blessed one, as he was being dragged along, cried, saying: “Lord Jesus Christ, do not be displeased with me because you know, Lord, what the fiend has inflicted upon me, along with his demons. These tortures are enough, my Lord. Look, I am dragged about for three days. But do you, Lord, remember that you were on the cross for three hours and did cry out to the Father, ‘My Father, why have you abandoned me?’ Where are your words, Lord, which you spoke to us, confirming us, when we walked about with you, saying to us, ‘You will not lose one hair?’ Consider, then, Lord, what has become of my flesh and the hairs of my head.” Then Jesus said to Andrew: “Andrew, the heaven and the earth will pass away but my words will not pass away. Turn yourself then, Andrew, and behold your flesh that has fallen and your hair, what has become of them.” And Andrew turned, and saw great trees springing up, bearing fruit, and he glorified God.

And when it was evening they took him up again, and threw him into the prison, having bound his hands behind him, and he was exceedingly exhausted. And the men of the city said among themselves: “Perhaps he will die in the night and we will not find him alive the next day,” because he was weak and his flesh was spent. And the Lord appeared in the prison. After stretching out his hand, the Lord said to Andrew: “Give me your hand, and rise up whole.” And Andrew, having seen the Lord Jesus, gave him his hand, and rose up whole. And falling down, he worshipped him, and said: “I thank you, my Lord Jesus Christ, that you have speedily brought help to me.”

[Lord’s punishment of the Man-eaters]

After looking into the middle of the prison, Andrew saw a pillar standing and upon the pillar there stood an alabaster statue. And Andrew, having gone up to the statue, unfolded his hands seven times and said to the pillar and the statue upon it: “Fear the sign of the cross, which the heaven and the earth dread. Let the statue set upon the pillar bring up much water through its mouth, until all who are in this city are punished. And say not, ‘I am stone, and am not worthy to praise the Lord,’ because the Lord fashioned us from the earth. But you are pure, because he gave the tablets of the law from you.” When the blessed Andrew had said this, immediately the stone statue cast out of its mouth water in abundance, as if out of a canal. And the water stood high upon the earth, and it was very acrid, eating into the flesh of men. And when it was morning, the men of the city saw it, and began to flee, saying to themselves: “Woe to us, because we are now dying!” And the water killed their cattle and their children. They began to run out of the city. Then Andrew prayed, saying: “Lord Jesus Christ, in whom I have hoped that this miracle should come upon this city, don’t abandon me. Rather, send Michael your archangel in a cloud of fire, and be a wall around the city so that no one may be able to escape out of the fire.” Immediately a cloud of fire came down and encircled the city like a wall. The water was as high as the neck of those men, and it was eating them up exceedingly. And they wept, saying: “Woe to us! All these things have come upon us because of the stranger who is in the prison. Let us go and release him, in case we die.”

[Repentence of the Man-eaters]

And they went out, crying with a loud voice: “God of the stranger, take this water away from us.” The apostle knew that they were in great affliction, and said to the alabaster statue: “Stop the water, because they have repented. And I say to you that, if the citizens of this city will believe, I will build a church and place you in it, because you have done me this service.” And the statue ceased flowing, and no longer brought out water. And the men of the city, having come out to the doors of the prison, cried out, saying: “Have pity upon us, God of the stranger and do not treat us according to our lack of belief or according to what we have done to this man, but take this water away from us.” And Andrew came out of the prison, and the water ran this way and that from the feet of the blessed Andrew. Then all the crowd seeing him cried out: “Have pity upon us.”

Then the old man who gave up his children so that they would be killed instead of him prayed at the feet of the blessed Andrew, saying: “Have pity upon me.” The holy Andrew answered and said to the old man: “I wonder how you can say, ‘Have pity upon me’ since you had no pity on your children. Instead, you gave them away to be killed instead of you. Therefore I say to you, at the hour when this water goes away, you will go into the abyss with the fourteen executioners who slay the men every day.” And he came to the place of the trough, where they used to kill the men. And the blessed one, having looked up to heaven, prayed before the whole crowd. The earth was opened and swallowed up the water, along with the old man. He was carried down into the abyss, with the executioners. And the men, having seen what had happened, were exceedingly afraid, and began to say: “Woe to us because this man is from God. Now he will kill us because of the afflictions which we have caused him. For, behold, what he said to the executioners and the old man has taken place. Now, therefore, he will command the fire and it will burn us.” When Andrew heard this, he said to them: “Do not be afraid, children, because I will not send them to Hades as well. But these people have gone to Hades so that you may believe in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

[Raising and baptizing of the dead Man-eaters]

Then the holy Andrew ordered all those who had died due to the water to be brought up. They were not able to bring them because a great number of men, women, children, and cattle had died. Then Andrew prayed, and they all came to life. And after these things he drew a plan of a church, and he caused the church to be built. And he baptized them, and gave them the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, saying to them: “Stand by these so that you may know the mysteries of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And they all asked him: “We beg you to stay with us a few days so that we may be filled with your fountain, because we are newly planted.” He did not comply with their request, but said to them: “I will go first to my disciples.” The children followed after, weeping and praying, with the men, and they cast ashes upon their heads. And he did not comply with them, but said: “I will go to my disciples, and after that I will come again to you.” And Andrew went away.

[Appearance of Jesus as a child]

Appearing like a beautiful little child, the Lord Jesus Christ came down and met Andrew, and said: “Andrew, why have you come out and left them without fruit, and have not had compassion upon the children that followed after you, and the men entreating you, ‘Stay with us a few days?’ For the cry of them and the weeping has come up to heaven. Now therefore return, and go into the city, and remain there seven days until I confirm their souls in the faith. Then you will go away into the country of the barbarians, you and your disciples. And after going into this city, you will proclaim my gospel, and bring up the men who are in the abyss. And you will do what I command you.”

Then Andrew turned and went into the city, saying: “I thank you, my Lord Jesus Christ, who wishes to save every soul, that you have not allowed me to go out of this city in my anger.” When he had come into the city, they, seeing him, rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And he stayed there seven days, teaching and confirming them in the Lord Jesus Christ. And the seven days having been fulfilled, it came to pass, while the blessed Andrew was going out, everyone came together to him – from the child to the elder – and sent him on his way, saying: “There is one God, the God of Andrew, and one Lord Jesus Christ, who alone does wonders, to whom be glory and strength for ever! Amen.”

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