“The Crucifixion of St Andrew” by Mattia Preti

As they grew older, their powers waned. By 54 CE, when Nero became emperor, none of them could heal the sick. Bartholomew drowned in a public bath. His creditors, whom he had successfully evaded for months, held him down. It took five minutes. Thomas was bitten by his pet asp while showing the creature off to a group of senators. He died in agony. Thaddeus was bludgeoned to death by a mob incensed at his failure to revive their favourite actor. Peter had never been one for signs and wonders. When the miracles dried up he bought new slaves and retired to his villa. He spent the last years of his life dictating letters to distant churches and smoking copious amounts of marijuana. Paul? He travelled, took lovers (all poor, young and unconscious) and finally fell eighty feet and cracked his skull on a rock. John was exiled to Patmos, a tiny island covered with hallucinogenic mushrooms. He got high, wrote the Apocalypse and died happy.

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