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Joseph of Arimathea

Flight from Judea

   Lundy, Isle of Avalon         Gods, Saints and Heroes

Joseph of Arimathea & Nicodemus Joseph of Arimathea in Judea Joseph in the Tin Trade
Joseph's flight from Judea nobilis decurio Joseph of Arimathea In Welsh Legend.
Joseph of Arimathea and the White Isle


Flight from Judea

The route of the earliest Christian missions from Jerusalem followed the path of Phoenician colonization / the tin trade, as described by Didorus Siculus

Initially from the cities and the towns along the Phoenician / Syrian coast to Antioch (1). Then all the main Phoenician settlements Cyprus (2), Crete (3), Sicily (4), Cyrenia (5), Massilia ( Marseilles) (7), Sardinia (6), Spain (8) and ultimately Southwest Britain (9)

*****  'The whole story of the subsequent journey of Joseph and his eleven companions from Palestine to Britain has been convincingly traced out by J. W. Taylor in his 'The Coming of the Saints,' and he shows that driven from Palestine at the time of the persecution which resulted in Stephen's martyrdom, he followed the exact route of the tin trade described by Diodorus Siculus, and at every main stopping place along that route Taylor shows that traditions of his visit still remains.' from Paul in Britain p38

'The Bethany family, St. Joseph of Arimathea, and according to some of the traditions, St. Zaccheus, undertook a longer journey beyond Rome, as far as the neighbourhood of Massilia, (Marseilles). that Salome, the mother of St. James, is said to have accompanied them ..... between 34 AD and 44 AD.'  from St. Paul in Britain.  p.61 Our trained addiction counsellors are on hand 24 hours a day at Rehab South Africa . We are open 7 days a week for your convenience

'Lazarus is asserted to have accompanied Joseph. he only record we possess of him beyond the Scripture narrative (the tradition of the Church of Lyons makes him return with Martha and Mary to Marseilles, of which town he became the first bishop, and there died) is in a very ancient British Triad; ' The Triad of Lazarus, the three councils of Lazarus; Believe in God who made thee; Love God who saved thee; Fear God who will Judge thee.' (Triads of Ancient Britain.) It is difficult to explain how the name and counsel of Lazarus could find their way into these peculiarly British memorials except by his presence and teaching in Britain.' from St. Paul in Britain.

In the 'Coming of the Saints' by J. W Taylor, the author traces the travels of Joseph and his companions from the Holy Land to the White Isle.  He convincingly demonstrates that the route of the flight from the persecution in Judea the party followed the path of the tin trade as described by Didorus Siculus. He quotes from 'The Life of Rabinus', where the author tells us that the Magdalene was set adrift in a boat off the coast of Israel with thirteen other members of Jesus' entourage; Lazarus,  Joseph of Arimathea, Maty, wife of Cleopas, Salome and her maid, Martha and her maid, Trophimus, Maximin, Cleon, Eutropius, Sidonius, Martial and Saturnius.

Mary Magdalen, Lazarus, Martha and others,.... "were seized by the Jews, placed in a boat without sails or oars, and carried safely to the port of Marseilles.....Lazarus became bishop of Marseilles, Maximus of Aix, Mary lived and died on a high mountain of those parts." - Breviary of St Martha's Day quoted in the Coming of the Saints by J.W.Taylor.

Traditions of the passing of Joseph and his companions are to be found at every main stopping point on the route.



 'Joseph and his company, including Lazarus, Mary, Martha, Marcella and Maximin, came at the invitation of certain Druids of high rank ('Negotium habuit cum Druidis quorum primi precipuique doctores erant in Britannia.' -Freculphus, apud God., p.10.) from Marseilles into Britain, circa AD 38-39; were located at Ynys Avalon, the seat of a Druidic cor, which was subsequently made over to them in free gift by Arviragus. Here they built the first church, which became the centre and mother of Christianity in Britain. Joseph died and was interred in 76 AD' from Paul in Britain p73


'And at this time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles', and 'they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the 'word' (Acts 8:1, 4), and 'now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen,' left the Holy Land.

Those whose attachment to Jesus was most public, including those mentioned in the Gospels, would be among the earliest to depart. 

'The chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus to death, because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away and believed on Jesus' (John 12:10,11). 

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, the Bethany family including Mary Magdalene, Martha, her handmaiden Marcella, Maximin and Lazarus are among those named in a Vatican Manuscript -'ad annum 35' quoted in 'Ecclesiastical Annals' by Baronius. Other sources add Joanna and her son; St. Zaccheus; Salome, the mother of St. James; Restitutus, the man born blind whose sight was restored by Jesus; Simon the Cyrene and Philip. All of these would have attracted the suspicion and hatred of the Romans.

1 Many of the earliest missionaries went westward to the Phoenician colonies. Most, if not all, of the Apostles remained for a considerable time in the east and chiefly at Jerusalem.

2 Among these early missionaries of Christ one would certainly expect to find, and one does find to some extent, those who were conspicuous by their attachment to the Saviour in the Gospels.

3 The work done by these missionaries and their successors was primarily among the Jews and Phoenicians of the Mediterranean colonies, and then extended into all parts of the Roman empire, so that St. Paul some years later (circa 64 AD ? ) was able to speak of 'the truth of the gospel which is come to you as it is in all the world' (Col. 1:5,6).

4 St. Peter and St. Paul, who were essentially the chief Apostles of the West, took up and organised much of the work of the first enthusiasts and pioneers, in many cases appointing bishops and establishing settled church order and government, in other cases leaving the natural extension of the church to the future and their successors.

5 The chief port from which these missions started was Caesarea, and the local head or 'organising secretary, from whom the missionaries went and to whom they returned, appears to have been St. Philip the Evangelist, who settled at Caesarea, and evidently helped the early Christians on their journeys. (Caesarea was the chief port of Palestine at this time)

When Joseph of Arimathea came to Lundy he found an important pagan temple. 

Joseph founded what may have been the earliest Christian Church, on Lundy at the Beacon Hill site.

Early Christianity on Lundy is evidenced by the inscribed stones

By accepting that Caractacus (and Bran) were taken to Rome as captives after 52 AD then Bran's accompanying Joseph to Britain is a logical ?.

King Arviragus would be a nephew of Bran, making Joseph's acceptance by the king more credible and if the king who granted Joseph the White Island was a Silurian, at this particular period Glastonbury was inside the Roman sphere of influence, even if it fell within the Silurian realm

Given the war which had been fought, and still was, between the Silurians and the Romans would the writ of Arviragus or any king from outside the Roman controlled area have been honoured by the Romans. 

Also one of the main reasons for Joseph's presence in Britain was to escape from Roman persecution, so would he have set up his mission inside the Roman controlled area?

"...Jesus' cousin Shimeown, who had succeeded Jacob [James] the Righteous as Head Nazirite ... lead his followers out of Jerusalem and into the Decapolis [south of the Sea of Galilee] at the first sign of impending war." - William Harwood, Mythologies Last Gods: Yahweh and Jesus

p.114. 'Great ways or roads passed through Marseilles to the west and to the North. About this time the Emperor Claudius had himself gone through Marseilles on his way to Britain. This was followed by a continuous stream of troops going to and returning from Britain, for the war... was prosecuted with vigour throughout the reigns of Claudius and Nero' Coming of the Saints' by J. W Taylor

'We find his traces at Limoges. The old Aquitaine legends concerning St. Martial, the supposed first missionary apostle of Limoges, which have a definite history reaching, at least, as far back as the tenth c. (Fastes Episcop, vol. ii, p. 104)< mention the name of St. Joseph of Arimathea incidentally. St. Martial, St. Zaccheus (the publican of the gospels) and Joseph - all Hebrews- are represented as arriving at Limoges in the first century.' Coming of the Saints' by J. W Taylor

'We find traces of the disciples or companions of Joseph at Morlaix in Brittany. The local tradition here is that Drennalus, a disciple of Joseph of Arimathea and the first bishop of Treguier, preached the gospel in this district about 72 AD. (north-western France, Augustus Hare).' Coming of the Saints' by J. W Taylor

'We find faint legendary traces of the presence of Joseph of Arimathea in Cornwall. He is represented as coming in a boat, as bringing the infant Jesus with him and as teaching the Cornish miners how to purify their tin.' Coming of the Saints' by J. W Taylor

'Joseph of Arimathea is never represented as coming to Britain alone, but as accompanied by other Hebrews, and notably his son 'Josephes". These companions and relations are said to have intermarried with the families of the British kings or chieftains, and from them, by direct descent, in something like four hundred years, are said to have arisen the greater heroes of King Arthur's court - the Knights of the Round Table.' Coming of the Saints' by J. W Taylor

'About the middle of the first century AD the western country on both sides of the Severn estuary was held by the British in comparative security, being outside the main lines of Roman conquest, and it was purposely to these (as we are told) that St. Joseph and his companions came.

'quoting from Gildas;- 'These islands received the beams of light - that is, the holy precepts of Christ - The True Sun, as we know, at the latter part of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, in whose time this religion was propagated without impediment and death threatened to those who interfered with its professors.'

quoting from Eusebius speaking of events from 37-41 AD;- 'Thus ... the doctrine of the Saviour, like the beams of the sun, soon irradiated the whole world. '

Tiberius died in AD 37. 

'What we do know is that through the reigns of Tiberius, Claudius and the earlier years of Nero there was but little or no hindrance to the spread of the gospel, and that troops were constantly passing between Britain and Rome during all this time.'

'also 'This tin metal is transported out of Britain into Gaul, the merchants carrying it on horseback through the heart of Celtica to Marseilles and the city called Narbo (Narbonne, vol. v, cap. 2 ) (Diodorus Siculus, Booth's trans., vol. i, p. 311).

Before Christ was born, we find the very route exactly described by Diodorus that was afterwards traditionally chosen by Joseph. 'Marseilles > up the Rhone to Arles > Limoges >Morlaix>south west britain

 The legend is that 'Joseph of Arimathea came in a boat to Cornwall and brought the child Jesus with him, who taught him how to extract tin and purge it of its wolfram.' from 'Cornwall', S. Baring-Gould

 'There is a traditional story that Joseph of Arimathea was connected with Marazion when he and other Jews traded with the ancient tin miners of Cornwall.' from 'Guide to Penzance, Land's end and Scilly

'All the best authorities, including the late Prof. Max Muller, accept the identification of St. Michael's Mount with Ictis.

'From the very earliest times it (St. Michael's Mount) was regarded as sacred and as a place of pilgrimage.

Joseph's central role in the introduction of Christianity to Britain circa 63 AD is described in 'The History of the Franks' by Gregory of Tours (544 -595 AD.)

' Maelgwyn of Llandaff, the uncle of St. David. circa AD 450. --'Joseph of Arimathea, the noble decurion, received his everlasting rest with his eleven associates in the Isle of Avalon. He lies in the southern angle of the bifurcated line of the Oratorium of the Adorable Virgin. He has with him the two white vessels of silver which were filled with the blood and the sweat of the great prophet Jesus.' -- 'Joseph ab Arimathea nobilis decurio in insula Avallonia cum xi. Sociis suis somnum cepit perpetuum et jacet in meridiano angulo lineae bifurcate Oratorii Adorandae Virginis. Habit enim secum duovascula argentea alba cruore et sudore magni prophetae Jesu perimpleta.'- Thick vellum Cottonian MS., quoted also by Usher, Melchini Fragmentum.' from Paul in Britain

'We know from Tertullian that Britain was Christian before it was Roman. 'Regions in Britain which have never been penetrated by the Roman arms have received the religion of Christ.' If this statement were correct, after the war between Britain and Rome had raged for a century and a half, from AD 43 to AD 192, it is obvious that the Arimathean mission must have been founded in the heart of independent Britain, outside the pale of the Roman empire. This inference tallies with the rest of the evidence. Joseph died in these 'loca inaccessa Romanis.' His death, therefore, could not be chronicled by Greek or Roman churches.' from Paul in Britain

Lazarus is asserted to have accompanied Joseph. he only record we possess of him beyond the Scripture narrative (the tradition of the Church of Lyons makes him return with Martha and Mary to Marseilles, of which town he became the first bishop, and there died) is in a very ancient British Triad; ' The Triad of Lazarus, the three councils of Lazarus; Believe in God who made thee; Love God who saved thee; Fear God who will Judge thee.' (Triads of Ancient Britain.) It is difficult to explain how the name and counsel of Lazarus could find their way into these peculiarly British memorials except by his presence and teaching in Britain.

'Other eminent converts at this early date in Britain- Beatus, born of noble parents in Britain, was there converted and baptised. He became the founder of the Helvetian church. His death occurred in the cell, still shown, at Underseven, on the Lake of Thun, in AD 96.( Theatre. Magn. Britan., lib. vi. p. 9). Mansuetos, born in Hibernia, converted and baptised in Britain, was sent afterwards from Rome with St. Clement, afterwards the second bishop of Rome, to preach the Gospel in Gaul. He founded the Lotharingian Church., fixing his mission at Toul, where after extending his labours to Illyria, he suffered martyrdom, AD 110.( Pantaleon, De Viris Illus. Germaniae, pars. I; Guliel. Eisengren, cent. 2, p. 5; Petrus Mersaeus, De Sanctis German.; Franciscus Gulliman, Helvetiorum Historia, lib. i. c. 15; Petrus de Natalibus, Episcop. Regal. Tallensis.) Marcellus, a noble Briton, became bishop of Tongres, and afterwards founder bishop of Treves - the diocese which for centuries exercised the chief influence in the Gallic church. The conversion of Linus, the son of Caractacus, is attributed to him.( Marcellus Britannus, Tungrorum episcopus postea Trevirorum Archiepiscopus,' &c.- Mersaeus, De Archiepiscopis Trevirensium.

The next missionary after Joseph was Simon Zelotes the apostle. One Menology assigns the martyrology of Zelotes to Persis in Asia, but others agree in stating he suffered in Britain. Of these the principal authority is Dorotheus, Bishop of Tyre, in the reigns of Diocletian and Constantius (AD 300 ) 'Simon Zelotes traversed all Mauretania, and the regions of the Africans, preaching. He was at last crucified, slain, and buried in Britain.'( Dorotheus, Synod. de Apostol.; Synopsis ad Sim Zelot. ) Crucifixion was a Roman penalty for runaway slaves, deserters and rebels; it was not known to British laws. Simon Zelotes suffered in the east of Britain perhaps, as tradition affirms, in the vicinity of Caistor, under the prefecture of Caius Decius, the officer whose atrocities were the immediate cause of the Boudiccan war.

'The Greek and Roman menologies and Martyrologies commemorate with scrupulous jealousy the obituaries and death-places of all the earlier Christian characters of mark who died within the pale of the Roman Empire. They nowhere record those of Joseph.'

'The Rev. R. W. Morgan writing in the nineteenth century gives the following as all having stated that Joseph of Arimathea was the first to bring the teachings of Christ to Britain ;- The CHRONICON of PSEUDO-DEXTER, the FRAGMENTA of Haleca Archbishop of Saragossa, Freculphus and Forcatulus and also adds 'Cressy, Pitsaeus, Sanders, Alford, the Roman Catholic historians, concur with Gildas in the year, and with the above authorities in holding Joseph of Arimathea to have been the first who preached Christ in Britain'  from St.Paul in Britain.

Freculphus tells how Joseph and his companions including Lazarus, Mary, Martha, Marcella, and Maximin were invited by certain high ranking druids to travel from Marseilles to the seat of a druidic cor at Ynys Avalon, a site which was subsequently made over to them by Arvigarus. It was on this site that they built the first church, the mother of Christianity in Britain. Joseph died and was interred there in 76 AD.

next Nobilis Decurio


Joseph of Arimathea & Nicodemus Joseph of Arimathea in Judea Joseph in the Tin Trade
Joseph's flight from Judea nobilis decurio Joseph of Arimathea In Welsh Legend.
Joseph of Arimathea and the White Isle


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