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Simon of Cyrene Died on the Cross


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Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turn back, strengthen your brothers. “But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you even to prison and to death.” (Gospel according to Luke 22:31-33)

A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. They brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get. It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the Jews. They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. (Gospel according to Mark 15:21-27)

As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then “‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us! For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Gospel according to Luke 23: 26-34)

As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). There they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is Jesus, the king of the Jews. (Gospel according to Matthew 27: 32-37)

Following Simon’s crucifixion alongside 2 criminals, a sign is placed over him saying “this is Jesus’ and succeeded by 3 hours of utter darkness. However, It is not until we reach the gospel according to John do we see the synoptic 1st century view of Jesus Christ begin to change into the superhuman Christological divinity. The anonymous author in Johns’s gospel takes aim to emphasize Jesus carrying his own cross  in contradiction to the 3 synoptic accounts seen above.

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews. (Gospel according to John 19:17-18)

Elements removed from John’s narrative:

_Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ.

-Simon Cyrene

-The Trasnfiguration

-Mockery of crowd by religious leaders

-Eli Eli lama sabathani

-6-9th or 3 hours of darkness


-Mary’s name missing referred to as ‘woman’

-“Woman, behold, your son,” and tells apostles, “Behold, your mother.” 

The 4th cent writer Epiphanius of Salamis mentions:

This second mimologue mounts another dramatic piece for us in his account of the cross of Christ; for he claims that not Jesus, but Simon of Cyrene, has suffered. For when the Lord was marched out of Jerusalem, as the Gospel passage says, one Simon of Cyrene was compelled to bear the cross. From this he finds his trickeries opportunity for composing his dramatic piece and says: Jesus changed Simon into his own form while he was bearing the cross, and changed himself into Simon, and delivered Simon to crucifixion in his place. During Simon’s crucifixion Jesus stood opposite him unseen, laughing at the persons who were crucifying Simon. But he himself flew off to the heavenly realms after delivering Simon to crucifixion, and returned to heaven without suffering. It was Simon himself who was crucified, not Jesus. Jesus, Basilides says, passed through all the powers on his flight to heaven, till he was restored to his own Father. 

(Panarion of Epiphanius: Against Basilides Part 24: 3.2-3.4)

 But the father without birth and without name, perceiving that they would be destroyed, sent his own first-begotten Nous to bestow deliverance on them that believe in him, from the power of those who made the world. He appeared, then, on earth as a man, to the nations of these powers, and wrought miracles. Wherefore he did not himself suffer death, but Simon, a certain man of Cyrene, being compelled, bore the cross in his stead; so that this latter being transfigured by him, that he might be thought to be Jesus, was crucified, through ignorance and error, while Jesus himself received the form of Simon, and, standing by, laughed at them. For since he was an incorporeal power, and the Nous (mind) of the unborn father, he transfigured himself as he pleased, and thus ascended to him who had sent him, deriding them, inasmuch as he could not be laid hold of, and was invisible to all. Those, then, who know these things have been freed from the principalities who formed the world; so that it is not incumbent on us to confess him who was crucified, but him who came in the form of a man, and was thought to be crucified, and was called Jesus, and was sent by the father, that by this dispensation he might destroy the works of the makers of the world. If any one, therefore, he declares, confesses the crucified, that man is still a slave, and under the power of those who formed our bodies; but he who denies him has been freed from these beings, and is acquainted with the dispensation of the unborn father. (Irenaeus of Lyons: Against Heresies, Book 1 Ch 24: 4)

I did not succumb to them as they had planned. But I was not afflicted at all. Those who were there punished me. And I did not die in reality but in appearance, lest I be put to shame by them because these are my kinsfolk. I removed the shame from me and I did notbecome fainthearted in the face of what happened to me at their hands. I was about to succumb to fear, and I <suffered> according totheir sight and thought, in order that they may never find any word to speak about them. For my death, which they think happened,(happened) to them in their error and blindness, since they nailed their man unto their death. For their Ennoias did not see me, for they were deaf and blind. But in doing these things, they condemn themselves. Yes, they saw me; they punished me. It was another, their father, who drank the gall and the vinegar; it was not I. They struck me with the reed; it was another, Simon, who bore the cross on his shoulder. I was another upon Whom they placed the crown of thorns. But I was rejoicing in the height over all the wealth of the archons and the offspring of their error, of their empty glory. And I was laughing at their ignorance. (2nd Treatise of Great Seth: 9)

“For I resolved to know nothing while I was among you except Jesus Christ, AND HIM CRUCIFIED!” (1 Corinthians 2:2)

“For I chose not to know anything except Isu Chrestos, “AND THIS ONE CRUCIFIED!” (Marcion Apostolikon Letter to 1 Corinth 2:2)

The second-century leader Marcion of Sinope, and the early sects after him used the name “Isu”, as reported by Latin Fathers. The Greek rendering possible “Iso”, and alternatively later Assyrian “Iso/Isho” as Marcion was the first and earliest account of Letter’s by Paul.

…Excerpts from “The Criss Cross of Simon…”

When he said this, I saw him apparently arrested by them. I said,” What do I see, Lord? Is it really you they are seizing, and are you holding on to me? And who is the one smiling and laughing above the cross? Is it someone else whose feet and hands they are hammering?” The Savior said to me,” The one you see smiling and laughing above the cross is the living Jesus. The one into whose hands and feet they are driving nails is his fleshly part, the substitute for him. They are putting to shame the one who came into being in the likeness of the living Jesus. Look at him and look at me.” When I looked, I said,” Lord, no one sees you. Let’s get out of here.” He answered me,” I told you they are blind. Forget about them. Look at how they do not know what they are saying. For they have put to shame the son of their own glory instead of the one who serves me.” (Apocalypse of Peter: 81,3-82)

Then I saw someone about to approach us who looked like the one laughing above the cross, but this one was intertwined with holy spirit, and he was the Savior. And there was an unspeakably bright light surrounding them and a multitude of ineffable and invisible angels praising them. When the one who glorifies was revealed, I myself saw him. He said to me,” Be strong, for these mysteries have been given to you so that you might know clearly that the one they crucified is the firstborn, the abode of demons, the stone vessel in which they live, the man of Elohim, the man of the cross, who is under the law. But the one who is standing near him is the living Savior, who was in him at first and was arrested but was set free. He is standing and observing with pleasure that those who did evil to him are divided among themselves. And he is laughing at their lack of perception, knowing that they were born blind. The one capable of suffering must remain, since the body is the substitute, but what was set free was my bodiless body. I am the spirit of thought filled with radiant light. The one you saw approaching me is our fullness of thought, which unites the perfect light with my holy spirit. (Apocalypse of Peter: 82,3-83,15)

And having thus spoken, he showed me a cross of light fixed (set up), and about the cross a great multitude, not having one form: and in it (the cross) was one form and one likeness. And the Lord himself I beheld above the cross, not having any shape, but only a voice: and a voice not such as was familiar to us, but one sweet and kind and truly of God, saying unto me: John, it is needful that one should hear these things from me, for I have need of one that will hear. This cross of light is sometimes called the (or a) word by me for your sakes, sometimes mind, sometimes Jesus, sometimes Christ, sometimes door, sometimes a way, sometimes bread, sometimes seed, sometimes resurrection, sometimes Son, sometimes Father, sometimes Spirit, sometimes life, sometimes truth, sometimes faith, sometimes grace. And by these names it is called as toward men: but that which it is in truth, as conceived of in itself and as spoken of unto you (MS. us), it is the marking-off of all things, and the firm uplifting of things fixed out of things unstable, and the harmony of wisdom, and indeed wisdom in harmony. There are [places] of the right hand and the left, powers also, authorities, lordships and demons, workings, threatening’s, wraths, devils, Satan, and the lower root whence the nature of the things that come into being proceeded. (Acts of John 98)

This cross, then, is that which fixed all things apart by a word, and separate off the things that are from those that are below, and then also, being one, streamed forth into all things. But this is not the cross of wood which thou wilt see when thou goes down hence: neither am I he that is on the cross, whom now thou sees not, but only heareth his a voice. I was reckoned to be that which I am not, not being what I was unto many others: but they will say of me something else which is vile and not worthy of me. As, then, the place of rest is neither seen nor spoken of, much more shall I, the Lord thereof, be neither seen nor of spoken. (Acts of John 99)


Nothing, therefore, of the things which they will say of me have I suffered: nay, that suffering also which I showed unto thee and the rest in the dance, I will that it be called a mystery. For what thou art, thou seest, for I showed it thee; but what I am I alone know, and no man else. Suffer me then to keep that which is mine, and that which is thine behold thou through me, and behold me in truth, that I am, not what I said, but what thou art able to know, because thou art akin thereto. Thou hearest that I suffered, yet did I not suffer; that I suffered not, yet did I suffer; that I was pierced, yet I was not smitten; hanged, and I was not hanged; that blood flowed from me, and it flowed not; and, in a word, what they say of me, that befell me not, but what they say not, that did I suffer. (Acts of John 101)

And when I went down I laughed them all to scorn, inasmuch as he had told me the things which they have said concerning him; holding fast this one thing in myself, that the Lord contrived all things symbolically and by a dispensation toward men, for their conversion and salvation. (Acts of John 102)

The Lord said, “James, do not be concerned for me or for this people. I am he who was within me. Never have I suffered in any way, nor have I been distressed. And this people has done me no harm. (First Apocalypse of James P.18)

And Peter opened his mouth, he said to his fellow disciples, “Did our Lord Jesus, when he was in the body, show us everything? For he came down. My brothers, listen to my voice.” And he was filled with a holy spirit. He spoke thus: “Our illuminator, Jesus, came down and was crucified. And he bore a crown of thorns. And he put on a purple garment. And he was crucified on a tree and he was buried in a tomb. And he rose from the dead. My brothers, Jesus is a stranger to this suffering.” (Letter of Peter to Phillip: 18)

And their saying, “Indeed, we have slew the Messiah, Issa, the son of Maryam, the messenger of Allah .” And they did not slay him, nordid they crucify him; but it only appeared to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt. They have no knowledge of it except conjecture. And they did not  slay him, for certain. (The Holiest Elucidation 4:157)


1 Comment

  1. Is Simon of Cyrene a double for Simon Peter? Jesus says that whoever would follow him must first deny himself; Peter instead denies Jesus. Has the writer of Mark piled up irony here, showing a Simon denying himself to take up his cross, even as another Simon denies Jesus? Has he injected a historical figure into the passage? Or did these events occur as written? There’s no way to know. One connection between 8:34 and 15:21 is that the mention of “cross” in 15:21 is the first time in the Gospel since 8:34. Jesus has managed to make 3 Passion predictions without mentioning the term even once.


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