Extract from the Acts of the Holy Apostle Thaddeus
This is an extract from the Acts of the Holy Apostle Thaddeus [or Thaddæus]:*
In those times there was a governor of the city of Edessa, Abgarus by name. And there having gone abroad the fame of Christ, of the wonders which He did, and of His teaching, Abgarus having heard of it, was astonished, and desired to see Christ, and could not leave his city and government. And about the days of the Passion and the plots of the Jews, Abgarus, being seized by an incurable disease, sent a letter to Christ by Ananias the courier [or literally translated 'the swift runner], to the following effect:
To Jesus called Christ, Abgarus the governor of the country of the Edessenes, an unworthy slave. The multitude of the wonders done by thee has been heard of by me, that thou healest the blind, the lame, and the paralytic, and curest all the demoniacs; and on this account I entreat thy goodness to come even to us, and escape from the plottings of the wicked Jews, which through envy they set in motion against thee. My city is small, but large enough for both.
Abgarus enjoined Ananias to take accurate account of Christ, of what appearance He was, and His stature, and His hair, and in a word everything.
And Ananias, having gone and given the letter, was carefully looking at Christ, but was unable to fix Him in his mind. And He knew as knowing the heart, and asked to wash Himself; and a towel [a tetradiplon, literally a cloth doubled in four] was given Him; and when He had washed Himself, He wiped His face with it. And His image having been imprinted upon the linen, He gave it to Ananias, saying:
Give this, and take back this message, to him that sent thee: Peace to thee and thy city! For because of this I am come, to suffer for the world, and to rise again, and to raise up the forefathers. And after I have been taken up into the heavens I shall send thee my disciple Thaddæus, who shall enlighten thee, and guide thee into all the truth, both thee and thy city.
And having received Ananias, and fallen down and adored the likeness, Abgarus was cured of his disease before Thaddæus came.
And after the passion, and the resurrection, and the ascension, Thaddæus went to Abgarus; and having found him in health, he gave him an account of the incarnation of Christ, and baptized him, with all his house. And having instructed great multitudes, both of Hebrews and Greeks, Syrians and Armenians, he baptized them in the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit, having anointed them with the holy perfume; and he communicated to them of the undefiled mysteries of the sacred body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ . . .
*Note that the fulll title in different manuscripts refers to Thaddeus as "One of the Twelve" and in others as "One of the Seventy," as Eusebius and other writer refer to him.