The Bible says Jesus named a dozen of his most devoted disciples Apostles, or messengers, choosing a number that paid homage to the 12 tribes of Israel. The 12 Jews preached their new faith across thousands of miles in the first century A.D., changing history.

Several early converts—including Matthias, Mary Magdalene, Mark, and Luke—also became apostles. A vision transformed Saul, a persecutor of the early Christians, into Paul. His missionary journeys helped spread Christianity throughout the Mediterranean.

Tradition holds that 11 of the Twelve Apostles were martyred:

John—the last survivor of the Twelve—likely died peaceably, possibly in Ephesus, around the year 100.

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