Simon of Cyrene A True Disciple

Ever since I was a little girl I have been interested in Simon of Cyrene and wondered:

Was he forced into service?

Was he scared?

Had he even heard of Jesus?

Was he humiliated by crossing the cross with Jesus?

What happened to him as he changed after carrying the cross?

How would have reacted if I was forced into helping Jesus carry his cross?

I remember attending the Station of the Cross while in grade school and waiting for Father to get to the Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus to Carry his Cross. I remember even picking a pew to sit in close to the Fifth Station hanging on the wall. When I travel and visit other churches, I always try to find the Fifth Station and take a photo of how different artists portray Simon helping Jesus.

Many years ago, I read just a little bit of a filler in the Catholic Digest, a monthly magazine, maybe five sentences long about Simon of Cyrene. It went on to say according to a German legend, Simon was an egg merchant coming in from the countryside to sell eggs at the festivities taking place in Jerusalem.  He was a bystander until soldiers pulled him out from the crowd and forced him to carry the cross of a man he didn’t know. 

I called the Editor and asked him where he found this information and he just he had read it somewhere and just need a filler to complete the page before sending it off to print.

I thank him and sit down to write a tale about Simon of Cyrene.

While researching Simon of Cyrene, online for my fictional story I learned he was from Cyrene located in northern Africa in eastern Libya. It was a Greek trading outpost on the Mediterranean Sea. A Jewish community of about100,000 Judean Jews lived there after being forced to resettle there and was an early center of Christianity.

Simon may have been key to the start of that early center of Christianity. In the bible, Simon of Cyrene is mentioned by name in only three passages of Scripture. In Matthew, it is said, “they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry the cross.” Mark’s Gospel states, “they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry His cross.” Luke says, “And as they led Him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus.” 

Acts of Simon and Judas state he and his sons all became missionaries. Simon traveled to Egypt and was martyred in 100 A.D. by being cut in half with a saw.  

I believe Simon was a true disciple because he helped another person even when he may have been scared. Afraid of death, afraid of being humiliated, embarrassed, getting wet and dirty with the sweat and grime of another person, so many things to fear and reasons why he didn’t want to reach out and lend a helping hand, but he was moved by compassion. He may have been moved by the love he saw in the eyes of Jesus.

I often think of myself in the shoes of Simon. What would I have done? How would I have reacted? I pray I can have the courage to reach out and touch another. I pray to be brave and courageous like Simon. Check out my book Simon of Cyrene and the Legend of the Easter Egg. Many families have made the reading of Simon of Cyrene and the Legend of the Easter Egg an Easter tradition for their family.

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