The Conversion of two of Jesus’ executioners from the visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich

Detached Account of Longinus


    On the 15th of March 1821, Sister Emmerich gave the following detached account of parts of a vision which she had had the previous night concerning St. Longinus, whose festival happened to fall upon that very day, although she did not know it.
    ‘Longinus, who had, I think, another name, held an office, partly civil and partly military, in the household of Pilate, who intrusted him with the duty of superintending all that passed, and making a report of it to him. He was trustworthy and ready to do a service, but previous to his conversion was greatly wanting in firmness and strength of character. He was excessively impetuous in all that he did, and anxious to be thought a person of great importance, and as he squinted and had weak eyes, he was often jeered at and made the laughing-stock of his companions. I have seen him frequently during the course of this night, and in connection with him I have at the same time seen all the Passion, I do not know in what manner; I only remember that it was in connection with him.
    ‘Longinus was only in a subordinate position, and had to give an account to Pilate of all that he saw. On the night that Jesus was led before the tribunal of Caiphas he was in the outer court among the soldiers, and unceasingly going backwards and forwards. When Peter was alarmed at the words of the maid-servant standing near the fire, it was he who said once: “Art thou not also one of this man’s disciples?”


    ‘When Jesus was being led to Calvary, Longinus, by Pilate’s orders, followed him closely, and our Divine Lord gave him a look which touched his heart. Afterwards I saw him on Golgotha with the soldiers. He was on horseback, and carried a lance; I saw him at Pilate’s house, after the death of our Lord, saying that the legs of Jesus ought not to be broken. He returned at once to Calvary. His lance was made of several pieces which fitted one into the other, so that by drawing them out, the lance could be made three times its original length. He had just done this when he came to the sudden determination of piercing the side of our Saviour. He was converted upon Mount Calvary, and a short time afterwards expressed to Pilate his conviction that Jesus was the Son of God. Nicodemus prevailed upon Pilate to let him have Longinus’s lance, and I have seen many things concerning the subsequent history of this lance. Longinus, after his conversion, left the army, and joined the disciples. He and two other soldiers, who were converted at the foot of the Cross, were among the first baptised after Pentecost.
 

    ‘I saw Longinus and these two men, clothed in long white garments, return to their native land. They lived there in the country, in a barren and marshy locality. Here it was that the forty martyrs died. Longinus was not a priest, but a deacon, and travelled here and there in that capacity, preaching the name of Christ, and giving, as an eye-witness, a history of his Passion and Resurrection. He converted a large number of persons, and cured many of the sick, by allowing them to touch a piece of the sacred lance which he carried with him. The Jews were much enraged at him and his two companions because they made known in all parts the truth of the Resurrection of Jesus, and the cruelty and deceits of his enemies. At their instigation, some Roman soldiers were dispatched to Longinus’s country to take and judge him on the plea of his having left the army without leave, and being a disturber of public peace. He was engaged in cultivating his field when they arrived, and he took them to his house, and offered them hospitality. They did not know him, and when they had acquainted him with the object of their journey, he quietly called his two companions who were living in a sort of hermitage at no great distance off, and told the soldiers that they and himself were the men for whom they were seeking. The same thing happened to the holy gardener, Phocas. The soldiers were really distressed, for they had conceived a great friendship for him. I saw him led with his two companions to a small neighbouring town, where they were questioned. They were not put in prison, but permitted to go whither they pleased, as prisoners on their word, and only made to wear a distinctive mark on the shoulder. Later, they were all three beheaded on a hill, situated between the little town and Longinus’s house, and there buried. The soldiers put the head of Longinus at the end of a spear, and carried it to Jerusalem, as a proof that they had fulfilled their commission. I think I remember that this took place a very few years after the death of our Lord.
    ‘Afterwards I had a vision of things happening at a later period. A blind countrywoman of St, Longinus went with her son on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, in hopes of recovering her sight in the holy city where the eyes of Longinus had been cured. She was guided by her child, but he died, and she was left alone and disconsolate. Then St. Longinus appeared to her, and told her that she would recover her sight when she had drawn his head out of a sink into which the Jews had thrown it. This sink was a deep well, with the sides bricked, and all the filth and refuse of the town flowed into it through several drains. I saw some persons lead the poor woman to the spot; she descended into the well up to her neck, and drew out the sacred head, whereupon she recovered her sight. She returned to her native land, and her companions preserved the head. I remember no more upon this subject,’
 


Detached Account of Abenadar



    ON the 1st of April 1823, Sister Emmerich said that that day was the Feast of St. Ctésiphon, the centurion who had assisted at the Crucifixion, and that she had seen during the night various particulars concerning his life. But she had also suffered greatly, which, combined with exterior distractions, had caused her to forget the greatest part of what she had seen. She related what follows:
    ‘Abenadar, afterwards called Ctésiphon, was born in a country situated between Babylon and Egypt in Arabia Felix, to the right of the spot where Job dwelt during the latter half of his life. A certain number of square houses, with flat roofs, were built there on a slight ascent. There were many small trees growing on this spot, and incense and balm were gathered there. I have been in Abenadar’s house, which was large and spacious, as might be expected of a rich man’s house, but it was also very low. All these houses were built in this manner, perhaps on account of the wind, because they were much exposed. Abenadar had joined the garrison of the fortress Antonia, at Jerusalem, as a volunteer. He had entered the Roman service for the purpose of enjoying more facilities in his study of the fine arts, for he was a learned man. His character was firm, his figure short and thick-set, and his complexion dark.
    ‘Abenadar was early convinced, by the doctrine which he heard Jesus preach, and by a miracle which he saw him work, that salvation was to be found among the Jews, and he had submitted to the law of Moses. Although not yet a disciple of our Lord, he bore him no ill-will, and held his person in secret veneration. He was naturally grave and composed, and when he came to Golgotha to relieve guard, he kept order on all sides, and forced everybody to behave at least with common decency, down to the moment when truth triumphed over him, and he rendered public testimony to the Divinity of Jesus. Being a rich man, and a volunteer, he had no difficulty in resigning his post at once. He assisted at the descent from the Cross and the burial of our Lord, which put him into familiar connection with the friends of Jesus, and after the day of Pentecost he was one of the first to receive baptism in the Pool of Bethsaida, when he took the name of Ctésiphon. He had a brother living in Arabia, to whom he related the miracles he had beheld, and who was thus called to the path of salvation, came to Jerusalem, was baptised by the name of Cecilius, and was charged, together with Ctésiphon, to assist the deacons in the newly-formed Christian community.
 

    ‘Ctésiphon accompanied the Apostle St. James the Greater into Spain, and also returned with him. After a time, he was again sent into Spain by the Apostles, and carried there the body of St. James, who had been martyred at Jerusalem. He was made a bishop, and resided chiefly in a sort of island or peninsula at no great distance from France, which he also visited, and where he made some disciples. The name of the place where he lived was rather like Vergui, and it was afterwards laid waste by an inundation. I do not remember that Ctésiphon was ever martyred. He wrote several books containing details concerning the Passion of Christ; but there have been some books falsely attributed to him, and others, which were really from his pen, ascribed to different writers. Rome has since rejected these books, the greatest part of which were apocryphal, but which nevertheless did contain some few things really from his pen. One of the guards of our Lord’s sepulchre, who would not let himself be bribed by the Jews, was his fellow countryman and friend. His name was something like Sulei or Suleii. After being detained some time in prison, he retired into a cavern of Mount Sinai, where he lived seven years. God bestowed many special graces upon this man, and he wrote some very learned books in the style of Denis the Areopagite. Another writer made use of his works, and in this manner some extracts from them have come down to us. Everything concerning these facts was made known to me, as well as the name of the book, but I have forgotten it. This countryman of Ctésiphon afterwards followed him into Spain. Among the companions of Ctésiphon in that country were his brother Cecilius, and some other men, whose names were Intalecius, Hesicius, and Euphrasius. Another Arab, called Sulima, was converted in the very early days of the Church, and a fellow countryman of Ctésiphon, with a name like Sulensis, became a Christian later, in the time of the deacons.’

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