LETTERS OF HEROD AND PILATE
CONNECTING ROMAN HISTORY
with THE Death OF CHRIST
[ These letters occur in a Syriac MS., of the sixth or seventh century,
in the British Maseum. Dr. Tischendorf states in his Apoca1ypses Apocryphae
(Prolegg. p. 56) that he has a copy of the same in Greek from a Paris MS.,
of which he says
"scriptura satis differt, non item argumentum." The letters are followed
by a few extracts which seem to have been added by some copyist, although
they are followed by the subscription to Pilate's letter. We suppose that
we are to understand Justus of Tiberias of whom Josephus speaks as a
historian of his time. We cannot venture an opinion favorable to the genuineness
of this extract, because Photius says Justus did not mention Christ.
By Theodorus, we understand the Emperor Tiberius. The question and answer
agree in sense with what is read in the "Anaphora," or response of Pilate.
LETTER OF HEROD TO PILATE THE GOVERNOR.
HEROD TO PONTIUS PILATE THE GOVERNOR OF JERUSALEM:
I AM in great anxiety. I write these things unto thee, I AM in
great anxiety. I write these things unto thee, that when thou hast heard
them thou mayest be grieved for me. For as my daughter Herodias, who is
dear to me, was playing upon a pool of water which had ice upon it, it
broke under her, and all her body went down, and her head was cut off and
remained on the surface of the ice.
And behold, her mother is holding her head upon her knees in her lap,
and my whole house is in great sorrow. For I, when I heard of the man Jesus,
wished to come to thee, that I might see him alone, and hear his word,
whether it was like that of the sons of men.
And it is certain that because of the many evil things which were done
by me to John the Baptist, and because I mocked the Christ, behold I receive
the reward of righteousness, for I have shed much blood of others' children
upon the earth. Therefore the judgments of God are righteous; for every
man receives according to his thought.
But since thou wast worthy to see that God-man, therefore it becometh
you to pray for me. My son Azbonius also is in the agony of the hour of
And I too am in affliction and great trial, because I have the dropsy;
and am in great distress, because I persecuted the introducer of baptism
by water, which was John. Therefore, my brother, the judgments of God are
And my wife, again, through all her grief for her daughter, is become
blind in her left eye, because we desired to blind the Eye of righteousness.
There is no peace to the doers of evil, saith the Lord. For already great
affliction cometh upon the priests and upon the writers of the law; because
they delivered unto thee the Just One. For this is the consummation of
the world, that they consented that the Gentiles should become heirs. For
the children of light shall be cast out, for they have not observed the
things which were preached concerning the Lord, and concerning his Son.
Therefore gird up thy loins, and receive righteousness, thou with thy
wife remembering Jesus night and day; and the kingdom shall belong to you
Gentiles, for we the (chosen) people have mocked the Righteous One.
Now if there is place for our request, 0 Pilate, because we were at
one time in power, bury my household carefully; for it is right that we
should be buried by thee, rather than by the priests, whom, after a little
time, as the Scriptures say, at the coming of Jesus Christ, vengeance shall
Fare thee well, with Procla thy wife.
I send thee the earrings of my daughter and my own ring, that they may
be unto thee a memorial of my decease. For already do worms begin to issue
from my body, and lo, I am receiving temporal judgment, and I am afraid
of the judgment to come. For in both we stand before the works of the living
God; but this judgment, which is tempora1, is for a time, while that to
come is judgment for ever.
End of the Letter to Pilate the Governor.
LETTER OF PILATE TO HEROD
PILATE TO HEROD THE TETRARCH: PEACE.
KNOW and see, that in the day when thou didst deliver Jesus unto me,
I took pity on myself, and testified by washing my hands (that I was innocent),
concerning him who rose from the grave after three days, and had performed
thy pleasure in him, for thou didst desire me to be associated with thee
in his crucifixion. But I now learn from the executioners and from the
soldiers who watched his sepulchre that he rose from the dead.
And I have especially confirmed what was told me, that he appeared bodily
in Galilee, in the same form, and with the same voice, and with the same
doctrine, and with the same disciples, not having changed in anything,
but preaching with boldness his resurrection, and an everlasting kingdom.
And behold, heaven and earth rejoice; and behold, Procla my wife is
believing in the visions which appeared unto her, when thou sentest that
I should deliver Jesus to the people of Israel, because of the ill-will
Now when Procla, my wife, heard that Jesus was risen, and had appeared
in Galilee, she took with her Longinus the centurion and twelve soldiers,
the same that had watched at the sepulchre, and went to greet the face
of Christ, as if to a great spectacle, and saw him with his disciples.
Now while they were standing, and wondering, and gazing at him, he looked
at them, and said to them, What is it? Do ye believe in me? Procla, know
that in the covenant which God gave to the fathers, it is said that every
body which had perished should live by means of my death, which ye have
seen. And now, ye see that I live, whom ye crucified. And I suffered many
things, till that I was laid in the sepulchre. But now, hear me, and believe
in my Father - God who is in me. For I loosed the cords of death, and brake
the gates of Sheol; and my coming shall be hereafter.
And when Procla my wife and the Romans heard these things, they came
and told me, weeping; for they also were against him, when they devised
the evils which they had done unto him. So that, I also was on the couch
of my bed in affliction, and put on a garment of mourning, and took unto
me fifty Romans with my wife and went into Galilee.
And when I was going in the way I testified these things; that Herod
did these things by me, that he took counsel with me, and constrained me
to arm my hands against him, and to judge him that judgeth all, and to
scourge the Just One, Lord of the just. And when we drew nigh to him, 0
Herod, a great voice was heard from heaven, and dreadful thunder, and the
earth trembled, and gave forth a sweet smell, like unto which was never
perceived even in the temple of Jerusalem. Now while I stood in the way,
our Lord saw me as he stood and talked with his disciples. But I prayed
in my heart, for I knew that it was he whom ye delivered unto me, that
he was Lord of created things and Creator of all. But we, when we saw him,
all of us fell upon our faces before his feet. And I said with a loud voice,
I have sinned, 0 Lord, in that I sat and judged thee, who avengest all
in truth. And lo, I know that thou art God, the Son of God, and I beheld
thy humanity and not thy divinity. But Herod, with the children of Israel,
constrained me to do evil unto thee. Have pity, therefore, upon me, 0 God
of Israel !
And my wife, in great anguish, said, God of heaven and of earth, God
of Israel, reward me not according to the deeds of Pontius Pilate, nor
according to the will of the children of Israel, nor according to the thought
of the sons of the priests; but remember my husband in thy glory!
Now our Lord drew near and raised up me and my wife, and the Romans;
and I looked at him and saw there were on him the scars of his cross. And
be said, That which all the righteous fathers hoped to receive, and saw
not - in thy time the Lord of Time, the Son of Man, the Son of the Most
High, who is for ever, arose from the dead, and is glorified on high by
all that he created, and established for ever and ever.
1. Justinus, one of the writers that were in the days of Augustus and
Tiberius and Gaius, wrote in his third discourse: Now Mary the Gali1aean,
who bare the Christ that was crucified in Jerusalem, had not been with
a husband. And Joseph did not abandon her; but Joseph continued in sanctity
without a wife, he and his five sons by a former wife; and Mary continued
without a husband.
2. Theodorus wrote to Pilate the Governor: Who was the man, against
whom there was a complaint before thee, that he was crucified by the men
of Palestine? If the many demanded this righteously, why didst thou not
consent to their righteousness? And if they demanded this unrighteously,
how didst thou transgress the law and command what was far from righteousness?
Pilate sent to him: - Because he wrought signs I did not wish to crucify
him: and since his accusers said, He calleth himself a king, I crucified
3. Josephus saith: Agrippa, the king, was clothed in a robe woven with
silver, and saw the spectacle in the theatre of Caesarea. When the people
saw that his raiment flashed, they said to him,
Hitherto we feared thee as a man: henceforth thou art exalted above
the nature of mortals. And he saw an angel standing over him, and he smote
him as unto death.
End of the Letter of Pilate to Herod.
THE EPISTLE OF PONTIUS PILATE
WHICH HE WROTE TO THE ROMAN EMPEROR CONCERNING OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.
Pontius Pilate to Tiberius Caesar the Emperor - Greeting:
UPON Jesus Christ, whom I fully made known to thee in my last, a bitter
punishment hath at length been inflicted by the will of the people although
I was unwilling and apprehensive. In good truth, no age ever had or will
have a man so good and strict.
But the people made a wonderful effort, and all their scribes, chiefs
and elders agreed to crucify this ambassador of truth, their own prophets,
like the Sibyls with us, advising the contrary; and when he was hanged
super- natural signs appeared, and in the judgment of philosophers menaced
the whole world with ruin.
His disciples flourish, not belying their master by their behavior and
continence of life; nay, in his name they are most beneficent. Had I not
feared a sedition might arise among the people, who were almost furious,
perhaps this man would have yet been living with us. Although, being rather
compelled by fidelity to thy dignity, than led by my own inclination, I
did not strive with all my might to prevent the sale and suffering of righteous
blood, guiltless of every accusation, unjustly, indeed,
through the maliciouness of men, and yet, as the Scriptures interpret,
to their own destruction.
Farewell. The 5th of the Calends of April.
THE REPORT OF PILATE THE GOVERNOR
CONCERNING OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST; WHICH WAS SENT To AUGUSTUS CAESAR,
IN those days, when our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified under Pontius
Pilate, the governor of Palestine and Phoenicia, the things here recorded
came to pass in Jerusalem, and were done by the Jews against the Lord.
Pilate therefore sent the same to Caesar in Rome, along with his private
report, writing thus:
To the most potent, august, divine and awful Augustus Caesar, Pilate,
the administrator of the Eastern Province:
I have received information, most excellent one, in consequence of which
I am seized with fear and trembling. For in this province which I administer,
one of whose cities is called Jerusalem, the whole multitude of Jews delivered
unto me a certain man called Jesus, and brought many accusations against
him, which they were unable to establish by consistent evidence. But they
charged him with one heresy in particular, namely,
That Jesus said the Sabbath was not a rest, nor to be observed by them.
For he performed
many cures on that day, and made the blind see, and the lame walk,
raised the dead, cleansed lepers, healed the paralytic who were wholly
unable to move their body or brace their nerves, but could only speak and
discourse, and he gave them power to walk and run, removing their infirmity
by his word alone.
There is another very mighty deed which is strange to the gods we have:
he raised up a man who had been four days dead, summoning him by his word
alone, when the dead man had begun to decay, and his body was corrupted
by the worms which had been bred, and had the stench of a dog; but, seeing
him lying in the tomb be commanded him to run, nor did the dead man at
all delay, but as a bridegroom out of his chamber, so did he go forth from
his tomb, filled with abundant perfume. Moreover, even such as were strangers,
and clearly demoniacs, who had their dwelling in deserts, and devoured
their own flesh, and wandered about like cattle and creeping things, he
turned into inhabiters of cities and by a word rendered them rational,
and prepared them to become wise and powerful, and illustrious, taking
their food with all the enemies of the unclean spirits which were destructive
in them, and which he cast into the depth of the sea.
And, again, there was another who had a withered hand, and not only
the hand but rather the half of the body of the man was like a stone, and
be had neither the shape of a man nor the symmetry of a body: even him
He healed with a word and rendered whole.
And a woman also, who had an issue of blood for a long time, and whose
veins and arteries were exhausted, and who did not bear a human body, being
like one dead, and daily speechless, so that all the physicians of the
district were unable to cure her, for there remained unto her not a hope
of life; but as Jesus passed by she mysteriously received strength by his
shadow falling on her, from behind she touched the hem of his garment,
and immediately, in that very hour, strength filled her exhausted limbs,
and as if she had never suffered anything, she began to run along towards
Capernaum, her own city, so that she reached it in a six days' journey.
And I have made known these things which I have recently been informed
of, and which Jesus did on the Sabbath. And he did other miracles greater
than these, so that I have observed greater works of wonder done by him
than by the gods whom we worship.
But Herod and Archelaus and Philip, Annas and Caiaphas, with all the
people, deivered him to me, making a great tumult against me in order that
I might try him.
Therefore, I commanded him to be crucified, when I had first scourged
him, though I found no cause in him for evil accusations or dealings.
Now when he was crucified, there was darkness over all the world and
the sun was obscured for half a day, and the stars appeared, but no lustre
was seen in them; and the moon lost its brightness, as though tinged with
blood; and the world of the departed was swallowed up;so that the very
sanctuary of the temple, as they call it, did not appear to the Jews themselves
at their fall, but they perceived a chasm in the earth, and the rolling
of successive thunders.
And amid this terror the dead appeared rising again, as the Jews themselves
bore witness, and said that it was Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the
twelve patriarchs, and Moses, and Job, who had died before, as they say,
some three thousand five hundred years.
And there were very many whom I myself saw appearing in the body, and
they made lamentation over the Jews, because of the transgression which
was committed by them, and because of the destruction of the Jews and of
And the terror of the earthquake continued from the sixth hour of the
preparation until the ninth hour; and when it was evening on the first
day of the week, there came a sound from heaven, and the heaven became
seven times more luminous than on all other days.
And at the third hour of the night the sun appeared more luminous than
it had ever shone, lighting up the whole hemisphere. And as lightning -
flashes suddenly come forth in a storm, so there were seen men, lofty in
stature, and surpassing in glory, a countless host, crying out, and their
voice was heard as that of exceedingly loud thunder, Jesus that was crucified
is risen again: come up from Hades ye that were enslaved in the subterraneous
recesses of Hades.
And the chasm in the earth was as if it had no bottom; but it was so
that the very foundations of the eaith appeared, with those that shouted
in heaven, and walked in the body among the dead that were raised. And
He that raised up all the dead and bound Hades said, Say to my disciples,
He goeth before you into Galilee, there shall ye see Him.
And all that night the light ceased not shining. And many of the Jews
died in the chasm of the earth, being swallowed up, so that on the morrow
most of those who had been against Jesus were not to be found. Others saw
the apparition of men rising again whom none of us had ever seen. One synagogue
of the Jews was alone left in Jerusalem itself, for they all disappeared
in that ruin.
Therefore being astounded by that terror, and being possessed with the
most dreadful trembling, I have written what I saw at that time and sent it to thine
excellency; and I have inserted what was done against Jesus by the Jews, and sent it
to thy divinity, my lord.
The REPORT OF PONTIUS PILATE
GOVERNOR OF JUDEA
Which was sent to Tiberius Caesar in Rome.
To the most potent, august, dreadful, and divine Augustus, Pontius Pilate,
administrator of the Eastern Province.
I HAVE undertaken to communicate to thy goodness by this my writing,
though possessed with much fear and trembling, most excellent king, the
present state of affairs, as the result hath shown. For as I administered
this province, my lord, according to the command of thy serenity, which
is one of the eastern cities called Jerusalem, wherein the temple of the
nation of the Jews is erected, all the multitude of the Jews, being assembled,
delivered up to me a certain man called Jesus, bringing many and endless
accusations against him; but they could not convict him in anything.
But they had one heresy against him, that he said the sabbath was not
their proper rest.
Now that man wrought many cures and good works: he caused the blind
to see, he cleansed lepers, he raised the dead, he healed paralytics, who
could not move at all, but had only voice, and all their bones in their
places; and he gave them strength to walk and run, enjoining it by his
And he did another yet more mighty work, which had been strange even
among our gods, he raised from the dead one Lazarus, who had been dead
four days,commanding by a word alone that the dead man should be raised,
when his body was already corrupted by worms which bred in his wounds.
And he commanded the fetid body, which lay in the grave, to run, and as
bridegroom from his chamber so he went forth from his grave, full of sweet
And some that were grievously afflicted by demons, and had their dwellings
in desert places, and devoured the flesh of their own limbs, and went up
and down among creeping things and wild beasts, he caused to dwell in cities
in their own houses, and by a word made them reasonable, and caused to
become wise and honorable those that were vexed by unclean spirits, and
the demons that were in them he sent out into a herd of swine into the
sea and drowned them.
Again, another who had a withered hand, and lived in suffering, and
had not even the half of his body sound, he made whole by a word alone.
And a woman who had an issue of blood for a long time, so that because
of the discharge all the joints of her bones were seen and shone through
like glass, for all the physicians had dismissed her without hope, and
had not cleansed her, for there was in her no hope of health at all; but
once, as Jesus was passing by she touched from behind the hem of his garments,
and in that very hour the strength of her body was restored, and she was
made whole, as if she had no affliction, and began to run fast towards
her own city of Paneas.
And these things happened thus: but the Jews reported that Jesus did
these things on the sabbath. And I saw that greater marvels had been wrought
by him than by the gods whom we worship.
Him then Herod and Archelaus and Philip, and Annas and Caiaphas, with
all the people, delivered up to me, to put him on his trial. And because
many raised a tumult against me, I commanded that he should be crucified.
Now when he was crucified darkness came over all the world; the sun
was altogether hidden, and the sky appeared dark while it was yet day,
so that the stars were seen, though still they had their lustre obscured,
wherefore, I suppose your excellency is not unaware that in all the world
they lighted their lamps from the sixth hour until evening. And the moon,
which was like blood, did not shine all night long, although it was at
the full, and the stars and Orion made lamentation over the Jews, because
of the transgression committed by them.
And on the first day of the week, about the third hour of the night,
the sun appeared as it never shone before, and the whole heaven became
bright. And as lightnings come in a storm, so certain men of lofty stature,
in beautiful array, and of indescribable glory, appeared in the air, and
a countless host of angels, crying out and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will among men:
Come up from Hades, ye who are in bondage in the depths of Hades.
And at their voice all the mountains and hills were moved, and the rocks
were rent, and great chasms were made in the earth, so that the very places
of the abyss were visible.
And amid the terror dead men were seen rising again, so that the Jews
who saw it said, We beheld Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob, and the twelve
patriarchs, who died some two thousand five hundred years before, and we
beheld Noah clearly in the body.
And all the multitude walked about and sang hymns to God with a loud
voice, saying, The Lord our God, who hath risen from the dead, hath made
alive all the dead, and Hades he hath spoiled and slain.
Therefore, my lord king, all that night the light ceased not. But many
of the Jews died, and were sunk and swallowed up in the chasms that night,
so that not even their bodies were to be seen. Now I mean, that those of
the Jews suffered who spake against Jesus. And but one synagogue remained
in Jerusalem, for all the synagogues which had been against Jesus were
overwhelmed. Through that terror, therefore, being amazed and being seized
with great trembling, in that very hour, I ordered what had been done by
them all to be written, and I have sent it to thy mightiness.
THE TRIAL AND CONDEMNATION OF PILATE.
NOW when the letters came to the city of the Romans, and were
read to Caesar with no few standing there, they were all terrified, because,
through the transgression of Pilate, the darkness and the earthquake had
happened to all the world. And Caesar, being filled with anger, sent soldiers
and commanded that Pilate should be brought as a prisoner.
And when he was brought to the city of the Romans, and Caesar heard
that he was come, he sat in the temple of the gods, above all the senate,
and with all the army, and with all the multitude of his power, and commanded
that Pilate should stand in the entrance. And Caesar said to him, Most
impious one, when thou sawest so great signs done by that man, why didst
thou dare to do thus?
By daring to do an evil deed thou hast ruined all the world.
And Pilate said, King and Autocrat, I am not guilty of these things,
but it is the multitude of the Jews who are precipitate and guilty. And
Caesar said, And who are they? Pilate saith, Herod, Archelaus, Philip,
Annas and Caiaphas, and all the multitude of the Jews.
Caesar saith, For what cause didst thou execute their purpose?
And Pilate said, Their nation is seditious and insubordinate, and not
submissive to thy power.
And Caesar said, When they delivered him to thee thou oughtest to have
made him secure and sent him to me, and not consented to them to crucify
such a man, who was just and wrought such great and good miracles, as thou
saidst in thy report. For by such miracles Jesus was manifested to be the
Christ, the King of the Jews.
And when Caesar said this and himself named the name of Christ, all
the multitude of the gods fell down together, and became like dust where
Caesar sat with the senate.
And all the people that stood near Caesar were filled with trembling
because of the utterance of the word and the fall of their gods, and being
seized with fear they all went away, every man to his house, wondering
at what had happened.
And Caesar commanded Pilate to be safely kept, that he might know the
truth about Jesus.
And on the morrow when Caesar sat in the capitol with all the senate,
he undertook to question Pilate again. And Caesar said, Say the truth,
most impious one, for through thy impious deed which thou didst commit
against Jesus, even here the doing of thy evil works were manifested, in
that the gods were brought to ruin.
Say then, who is he that was crucified, for his name hath destroyed
all the gods?
Pilate said, And verily his records are true; for even I myself was
convinced by his works that he was greater than all the gods whom we venerate.
And Caesar said, For what cause then didst thou perpetrate against him
such daring and doing, not being ignorant of him, or assuredly designing
some mischief to my government?
And Pilate said, I did it because of the transgression and sedition
of the lawless and ungodly
And Caesar was filled with anger, and held a council with all his senate
and officers, and ordered a decree to be written against the Jews thus:-
To Licianus who holdeth the first place in the East Country. Greeting:
I have been informed of the audacity perpetrated very recently by the
Jews inhabiting Jerusalem and the cities round about, and their lawless
doing, how they compelled Pilate to crucify a certain god called Jesus,
through which great transgression of theirs the world was darkened and
drawn into ruin. Determine therefore, with a body of soldiers, to go to
them there at once and proclaim their subjection to bondage by this decree.
By obeying and proceeding against them, and scattering them abroad in
all nations, enslave them, and by driving their nation from all Judea as
soon as possible show, wherever this hath not yet appeared, that they are
full of evil.
And when this decree came into the East Country, Licianus obeyed, through
fear of the decree, and laid waste all the nation of the Jews, and caused
those that were left in Judea to go into slavery with them that were scattered
among the Gentiles, that it might be known by Caesar that these things
had been done by Licianus against the Jews in the East Country, and to
And again Caesar resolved to have Pilate questioned, and commanded a
captain, Albius by name, to cut off Pilate's head, saying, As he laid hands
upon the just man, that is called Christ, he also shall fall in like manner,
and find no deliverance.
And when Pilate came to the place he prayed in silence saying, 0 Lord,
destroy not me with the wicked Hebrews, for I should not have laid hands
upon thee, but for the nation of lawless Jews, because they provoked sedition
gainst me: but thou knowest that I did it in ignorance. Destroy me not,
therefore, for this my sin, nor be mindful of the evil that is in me, 0
Lord, and in thy servant Procla who standeth with me in this the hour of
my death, whom thou taughtest to prophecy that thou must be nailed to the
cross. Do not punish her too in my sin, but forgive us, and number us in
the portion of thy just ones.
And behold, when Pilate had finished his prayer, there came a voice
from heaven, saying, All generations and the families of the Gentiles shall
call thee blessed, because under thee were fulfilled all these things that
were spoken by the prophets concerning me;
and thou thyself must appear as my witness at my second coming, when
I shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel, and them that have not confessed
my name. And the Prefect cut off the head of Pilate, and behold an angel
of the Lord received it. And when his wife Procla saw the angel coming
and receiving his head, she also, being filled with joy, forthwith gave
up the ghost, and was buried with her husband.
[ The Synaxaria of the Greeks, under Oct. 28th, intimate the commemoration
of Procla, the wife of Pilate. The AEthiopic calendar inserts 'Pilate and
his wife Procla' under June 25th. The reason for putting these names among
the saints is, that Pilate by washing his hands attested the innocence
of Jesus, while Procla sought to dissuade her hushand from complying with
the Jews. The above story makes of Pilate almost a martyr; and Tertullian
makes him almost a saint in Apol. c. Gentes, cap. 21]
THE DEATH OF PILATE
WHO CONDEMNED JESUS.
NOW whereas Tiberius Caesar emperor of the Romans was suffering from
a grievous sickness, and hearing that there was at Jerusalem a certain
physician, Jesus by name, who healed all diseases by his word alone; not
knowing that the Jews and Pilate had put him to death, he thus bade one
of his attendants, Volusianus by name, saying, Go as quickly as thou canst
across the sea, and tell Pilate, my servant and friend, to send me this
physician to restore me to my original health. And Volusianus, having heard
the order of the emperor, immediately departed, and came to Pilate, as
it was commanded him.
And he told the same Pilate what had been committed to him by Tiberius
Caesar, saying, Tiberius Caesar, emperor of the Romans, thy Lord, having
heard that in this city there is a physician who healeth diseases by his
word alone, earnestly entreateth thee to send him to him to heal his disease.
And Pilate was greatly terrified on hearing this, knowing that through
envy he had caused him to be slain. Pilate answered the messenger, saying
thus, This man was a malefactor, and a man who drew after himself all the
people; so, after counsel taken of the wise men of the city, I caused him
to be crucified. And as the messenger returned to his lodgings he met a
certain woman named Veronica, who had been acquainted with Jesus, and he
said, 0 woman, there was a certain physician in this city, who healed the
sick by his word alone, why have the Jews slain him? And she began to weep,
saying, Ah, me, my lord, it was my God and my Lord whom Pilate through
envy delivered up, condemned, and commanded to be crucified. Then he, grieving
greatly, said, I am exceedingly sorry that I cannot fulfil that for which
my lord hath sent me.
Veronica said to him, When my Lord went about preaching, and I was very
unwillingly deprived of his presence, I desired to have his picture painted
for me, that while I was deprived of his presence, at least the figure
of his likeness might give me consolation. And when I was taking the canvas
to the painter to be painted, my Lord met me and asked whither I was going.
And when I had made known to him the cause of my journey, He asked me for
the canvas, and gave it back to me printed with the likeness of his venerable
face. Therefore, if thy lord will devoutly look upon the sight of this,
he will straightway enjoy the benefit of health.
Is a likeness of this kind to be procured with gold or silver? he asked.
No, said she, but with a pious sentiment of devotion. Therefore, I will
go with thee, and carry the likeness to Caesar to look upon, and will return.
So Volusianus came with Veronica to Rome, and said to Tiberius the emperor,
Jesus, whom thou hast long desired, Pilate and the Jews have surrendered
to an unjust death, and through envy fastened to the wood of the cross.
Therefore, a certain matron hath come with me bringing the likeness of
the same Jesus, and if thou wilt devoutly gaze upon it, thou wilt presently
obtain the benefit of thy health. So Caesar caused the way to be spread
with cloths of silk, and ordered the portrait to be presented to him; and
as soon as he had looked upon it he regained his original health.
Then Pontius Pilate was apprehended by command of Caesar and brought
Caesar, hearing that Pilate had come to Rome, was filled with exceeding
wrath against him, and caused him to be brought to him. Now Pilate brought
with him the seamless coat of Jesus, and wore it when before the emperor.
As soon as the emperor saw him he laid aside all his wrath, and forthwith
rose to him, and was unable to speak harshly to him in anything: and he
who in his absence seemed so terrible and fierce now in his presence is
found comparatively gentle.
And when he had dismissed him, he soon became terribly inflamed against
him, declaring himself wretched, because he had not expressed to him the
anger of his bosom.
And immediately he had him recalled, swearing and protesting that he
was a child of death, and unfitted to live upon earth. And when he saw
him he instantly greeted him, and laid aside all the fury of his mind.
All were astonished, and he was astonished himself, that he was so enraged
against Pilate while absent, and could say nothing to him sharply while
he was present. At length, by Divine suggestion, or perhaps by the persuasion
of some Christian, he had him stripped of the coat, and soon resumed against
him his original fury of mind.
And when the emperor was wondering very much about this, they told him
it had been the coat of the Lord Jesus. Then the emperor commanded him
to be kept in prison till he should take counsel with the wise men
what ought to be done with him.
And after a few days sentence was given against Pilate that he should
be condemned to the most ignominious death. When Pilate heard this he slew
himself with his own dagger, and by such a death put an end to his life.
When Pilate's death was made known Caesar said, Truly he has died a
most ignominious death, whose own hand has not spared him. He was therefore
fastened to a great block of stone and sunk in the river Tiber. But wicked
and unclean spirits, rejoicing in his wicked and unclean body, all moved
about in the water, and caused in the air dreadful lightning and tempests,
thunder and hail, so that all were seized with horrible fear. On which
account the Romans dragged him out of the river Tiber, bore him away in
derision to Vienne, and sunk him in the river Rhone. For Vienne means,
as it were, Way of Gehenna, because it was then a place of cursing. And
evil spirits were there and did the same things.
Those men, therefore, not enduring to be so harassed by demons, removed
the vessel of cursing from them and sent it to be buried in the territory
of Losania. But when they were troubled exceedingly by the aforesaid vexations,
they put it away from them and sunk it in a certain pool surrounded by
mountains, where even yet, according to the account of some, sundry diabolical
contrivances are said to Issue forth.