Fact: Apollonius of Tyana was born circa 4 BCE
to a very wealthy family. He received a
Pythagorean education, adopted the
Pythagorean lifestyle, and traveled extensively
throughout the Roman Empire, teaching and
establishing congregations wherever he went.
He made several trips to Alexandria, Egypt,
where he described the Therapeuts, now
believed to be a group of Essenes living near
Lake Mareotis. He lived and taught his
philosophy until circa 96 ACE.
Fact: From about 30 until about 50 ACE, a gap
appears in the stories of Apollonius' travels.
Biographers assume he was somewhere
teaching the Pythagorean philosophy that made
him famous and popular, but exactly where he
was is unknown.
Fact: Philo of Alexandria's date of birth is
uncertain. Estimates are based on the things
about which he wrote and when he ceased
writing. His writing began circa 30 and ceased,
circa 50 ACE; therefore, his estimated date of
birth ranges from 2 to 30 BCE. Little is known
about him other than what he, himself, reported.
He, too, wrote about the group of Therapeuts
that resided at Lake Mareotis, near Alexandria.
Fact: Thanks to Josephus, more is known about
Philo's brother, Alexander, but what is known
about him should also apply to Philo in some
ways. According to Josephus, Alexander was a
wealthy and prominent Roman government
official, a customs agent responsible for
collecting dues on all goods imported into Egypt
from the East. Two of Alexander's sons, Marcus
and Tiberius Julius, were involved in Roman
affairs. Marcus, Philo's nephew, married
Bernice, the daughter of Herod Agrippa I. This
same Bernice is mentioned in The Acts of the
Apostles: 25:13; 25:23; 26:30. However, Marcus
died when still relatively young, and her father
then gave Bernice in marriage to her uncle,
Herod. Philo, it seems, was also quite wealthy.
Fact: Philo taught a blend of the Torah with
Pythagorean-Platonic philosophy. Clement of
Alexandria called him "The Pythagorean." One of
his greatest contributions is said to be his
essays on the allegorical interpretation of
biblical and mythological texts.
Fact: Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, Plutarch, was
born circa 45 ACE in the little Greek town of
Chaeronea, in the province of Boeotia, where
he also died circa 120 ACE. Plutarch was from a
very wealthy family and traveled extensively
throughout the Roman Empire. He made several
trips to Rome and several trips to Alexandria,
Fact: Plutarch wrote extensively about historical
and mythological characters. He taught a blend
of Pythagorean and Platonic philosophy mixed
with some Stoicism. He wrote stories about
hundreds of characters, both historical and
mythological, placing them in hundreds of
locations. The same character and location
names, or names virtually identical, appear
throughout The Acts of the Apostles, said to
have been written about the same time Plutarch
was writing his stories. "Church tradition" going
back to the second century reports that Luke
lived in the province of Boeotia during the time
he wrote Luke-Acts. Many scholars have
questioned why a prolific writer such as
Plutarch, who lived in the midst of early
Christianity both in time and in geographic
location, wrote absolutely nothing about it.
Fact: Although no one has ever connected
Apollonius and Philo, considering that both were
in Alexandria at the same time writing about the
same group of Therapeuts, whom many believe
were Essenes, it seems far more likely that
there is a connection than not.
Fiction based on Fact: This story is about the
likelihood of a connection between these three
Pythagorean philosophers, Philo of Alexandria,
Apollonius of Tyana, and Plutarch of Chaenorea,
and what that connection might have been. It is
fiction, but it's fiction based on biblical texts and
historical and biographical reports written
during their lives and after.
The Reunion, circa 80 A.C.E.
The sun had just reached its apex when a soft knock, expected and
anxiously anticipated, broke the silence that surrounded Lucius Mestrius
Plutarchus. He smiled, envisioning the eyes that would peer into his from
the other side of the door.
Riders on horseback had been reporting on the location of this small group
of white-robed monks for several days as they moved on foot at a steady
pace across the countryside. The description of the group left no question
in his mind. This visitor was quite special, and this visit must therefore be of
Still, Lucius was unprepared for the brightness of the light that shone fourth
from his visitor as he threw open the door. The eyes were brighter and
bluer than he remembered; the smile broader, the stature taller – his gaze
"Mestrius, my son!" They embraced, and Lucius found himself fighting back
tears of joy. Only his father and Apollonius called him "Mestrius." He had
chosen to be called by the first of his adopted names, Lucius, and his books
and essays carried just his surname, Plutarchus. But to his father and
Apollonius, he would always be "Mestrius."
He closed the door behind them. "Welcome, Apollos. I have been anxiously
awaiting your arrival." He guided the older man toward a seat prepared for
him by a south window. "Sit. I'll get you some water and bread. I'm sure
you're ready for some rest and nourishment."
"Yes, Mestrius, it has been a long journey. Bread and water would be most
He had barely finished the sentence when a soft knock sounded at the door.
Two young students entered carrying trays of assorted breads, fruit, and a
pitcher of water. The younger of the two, a girl, poured the water into two
cups and bowed as she presented them to Lucius and his guest.
Apollonius stood and bowed his respect and gratitude to the students.
"Could we have two more cups, Mestrius, so that these who serve may also
be honored for their kindness?"
Lucius smiled and nodded. "Sophia, Michael, meet Apollonius." They smiled
and bowed again. "Now bring two more cups and join us in our meal." The
startled students hesitated momentarily then rushed out to get their cups.
Apollonius sat down again. They waited for Sophia and Michael to return;
they all bowed their heads over the food and silently offered thanks. It was
the Way of the Nazoreans to offer thanks in silence in the privacy of their
own minds and hearts.
They also ate in silence, savoring each bite and honoring the source of all
good. The sounds of the village provided the only accompaniment,
accentuated with the occasional song of a bird and the laughter of a small
After the meal Sophia and Michael asked to be excused. Apollonius smiled
at each of them. "Thank you for your kindness, Sophia," Apollonius said.
"And you, Michael, also. Thank you both for your kindness."
"Thank you, Sir, for sharing your meal with us." Sophia was the first to
"Thank you, Sir," Michael echoed.
Lucius refilled their cups and took a seat across from Apollonius. "I
understand we have work to do," he said solemnly.
"Yes. There is much to do. You've seen what's coming from Jerusalem.
You've also seen the letters that have gone to the various churches we'd
established throughout the Roman Empire and beyond."
"Indeed, Apollos. All our work is being subverted by the disciples of this
Pharisee named Saul who assumed a shortened version of your name and
who claimed you as one of his co-workers."
"Such a brilliant plan," the old man replied, shaking his head slowly. "One
must acknowledge the brilliance of their plan. They obviously took a great
lesson from Homer's legend of the Trojan horse. They have infiltrated our
brotherhood and are slowly changing all that we've been teaching. And they
have the monetary support from the government and the temple to fund
"But we have the Truth, Apollos. We cannot forget that we possess the
Truth and the Way and knowledge of the source of the Light."
"Yes, Mestrius, that we do, but we must use our knowledge and all our
resources to respond to what they've set out to do. I've received
instructions from our Angelic Friends that both concerns and uplifts me. I'm
told that they will have a large degree of success and that the true
Nazoreans will be forced underground for centuries to come as they take
control of the hearts and minds of the trusting souls that we've tried to
"I had hoped my Messengers were wrong," Lucius replied. "I received the
same information when I visited the oracle at Delphi."
"We can't stop what's happening now, but we can produce the guidebook
for those who follow when the time arrives for a new awakening."
Apollonius smiled and his eyes twinkled. "I have a plan and I need your help.
That's why I've come all the way from Alexandria, through Ephesus and
finally here to you."
"I've been told the interim time – the period of darkness and death – is to be
two thousand years." Lucius found it difficult to smile back just yet.
"That is true. But we must remember that time means nothing in the
heavenly realm, Mestrius. Time exists only in the minds of those who wait
for some future event."
"Of course." Lucius dropped his head then looked into the face of his
Master. He smiled. "I am honored beyond words that you have come to me
to assist you."
"We must be very careful, Mestrius. If word gets out about what we're doing,
our lives could be ended before our work is done." He walked to the
window and peered at the distant horizon. "There were three men who
seemed to turn up wherever we were all along the route. They were
noticeable in their desire that I not see their faces. I'm certain they were
assigned to follow me. There are some who have let it be known that they
suspect who I am. We were able to lose them under cover of darkness
about a week ago. But in spite of our small group and the unusual route we
traveled, we would not be hard to identify if someone should be looking for
"We'll be safe in Boeotia. The school provides us the perfect environment.
Whatever it is that we must do, this is the perfect place to do it."
"That's why I'm here, Mestrius. It's the perfect place and you're the perfect
person to help me get it done."
"You'll be pleased to know we'll also have help from Anna. She's the only
other person I've confided in – except of course Timoxena – my lovely wife.
Anna's gifts will be of great assistance to us."
"Wonderful, Mestrius." His eyes brightened. "I was so hoping to be able to
see Anna again in this lifetime. We are both nearing the final years of this
experience. And we've done so much together over the years."
"She returned to the Oracle at Delphi just last year. I now feel certain it was
because of this task we're about to undertake. She will be of tremendous
value. However, she won't be able to join us until tomorrow, so I was
wondering – would you like to tour the village before we begin? It's a
beautiful and peaceful place and has given me a wonderful opportunity to
serve our cause. We can spend the rest of this day catching up on news and
begin our work after morning communion tomorrow."
"I agree. I would love to see the village first. And we should all begin
together, as well." He stood upright without pause, even though he had
already passed his eightieth birthday. He strode easily toward the door and
stepped into the sunlight shining between two small but dark clouds. He
looked upward and acknowledged the sign given to him. "The sun always
shines, Mestrius. Even when clouds completely cover it, the sun is always
there, shining, giving of its light and life."
Lucius looked up just in time to see the clouds merge, leaving a dark
shadow over them.
As all practicing Nazoreans did, Lucius, Apollonius, Anna, and the students
greeted the rising sun at the edge of the village on their knees. With heads
bent in silent contemplation, they focused their thoughts on the power of
the sun and gave thanks to the angelic realm for manifesting life and Light
on Earth. It was the third day of the Nazorean week, so the morning
invocation of gratitude addressed the Angel of Joy. Each person was given
total control over the amount of time they spent in silent appreciation.
Apollonius was the first to rise and start back toward the school. He was
seated on a small bench in front of the library where Lucius joined him.
"Would you like to work in the library, Apollos? Or would you prefer my
"I don't want to interfere with the students. I'm certain they'll need the use
of the library for their studies. We can retrieve any texts we might need for
our purpose. I would prefer your private study."
"It's already set up for the three of us to work together. I rearranged the
furniture a bit so we can either face each other or sit side by side. I
anticipated we'll need to be able to do both. And there are extra tables for
any texts we might need to use."
"Of course," Apollonius smiled. "Always the organizer, Mestrius. Your father
was so proud of your ability to organize and accomplish much more work
"My Father taught me everything I know," Lucius replied.
As they entered the study Apollonius noted that several texts had already
been placed on the table. The first he recognized as the gospel attributed to
Mark; the second was the gospel they attributed to Matthew, the
adversaries' revision of Mark's work which was nothing more than an
attempt to subvert the truth. In addition to all that Mark had written, it also
contained portions of the story recorded by Judas.
All the letters Saul had written to the various Nazorean churches seemed to
be laid out in chronological order on a separate table; there were portions
of Josephus' history which pertained to the Nazoreans. A copy of the Torah
stood on a pedestal near the altar at the front of the room.
A soft tap at the door signaled Anna's arrival. She stepped quietly inside,
smiling. Anna was a small woman; her eyes were youthful, even with the
lines of age that surrounded them. She stood upright, in spite of her years,
and her hands were those of a woman half her age. White hair stood high on
her head, braided and wrapped neatly into a perfect little replica of a bird's
"Lucius went to work early," she said, smiling at Apollonius and pointing to
the manuscripts carefully placed on the table.
Apollonius smiled. "This will get us started. As always, you've anticipated
what our assignment is."
"We're working with the same Angelic Guides," Lucius replied. "They just
speak to us in different ways. To you and Anna they speak directly; to me
they speak through the Oracle and through dreams and visions."
"They've given me a general idea of the goal, but as always, we must put
forth the work to accomplish the task on Earth."
"So, it's for us to find the way to leave the truth for the future generations of
seekers," Anna said.
"That is precisely what we must do. And at the same time we leave the truth
for future generations of seekers, we must hide it from those who would
"Quite an assignment," Anna said.
"Mestrius," Apollonius smiled. "This is the very thing you do so well!"
"I've had the best teachers," he said, looking at his two mentors with open
"Briefly, here's the plan as I see it." Apollonius sat down on the sturdy
bench next to the table. "I've left a list of guidelines for the allegorical
interpretation of scripture in the Serapeum in Alexandria and throughout
the various academies and libraries around the Great Sea. We'll write the
story of Jesus and place clues that will awaken curious minds to the need to
work out the allegorical interpretation of the story. They'll have access to
the guidelines to help them figure out the hidden meanings."
"Sounds easy enough," said Lucius. "It's the same thing done in the original
Torah that Moses composed for the Children of Israel. And it's the same
thing done throughout Egypt and Greece in the telling of their myths of
gods and goddesses."
"Exactly!" Anna said. "Apollos and I have been teaching it for most of our
eighty-plus years! We just have to find a way to scatter the information about
in such a way that it can be pulled together by the Nazoreans of the future
just before the end of this current Great Cycle."
Lucius paced the floor in deep thought. Then he spoke. "All we have to do is
write stories that contain words that can be associated with other texts
which we'll place in libraries in various locations. We can use Homer,
Euripides, Aratus, the Torah – whatever sources we can reasonably trust will
be passed on through future generations. Two thousand years is a long
Apollonius said, "The gospel John Mark and I wrote will be of great help to
us – we've already begun the process there, and it's obvious this new
version of the gospel called Matthew copied much from our work. They just
inserted some detours and created some barriers to block the
understanding of the coded message. And then they tried to sell it as more
valid than John Mark's work because their Matthew was 'actually with Jesus,
and John Mark was not' – which of course is a lie."
Anna said, "They are trying very hard to destroy all of Mark's work. When
they deliver the manuscripts to the churches, they demand that all copies of
Mark's gospel be given to them. 'Obsolete,' they tell them. Very few of the
churches have any of Mark's work remaining."
"So we use what we can of Mark and try to dispel what misleads in Matthew."
"That's my plan, Lucius. I hope to be able to include enough of Matthew that
it will eventually be considered obsolete and simply discarded." He
motioned for Anna to sit next to him then reached for the gospel that he and
John Mark had written together. "Let's start with an introduction that will
catch the attention of the curious and explain exactly why we've been
forced to use such tactics."
Lucius said, "I'm just finishing up a work I'm calling 'Isis and Osiris.' We can
duplicate the introduction and also associate some wording with some of
the information in it." He pulled a parchment from a shelf. "Here's the
introduction so far. We can modify it to more closely resemble our
introduction for this new gospel."
Lucius spent the next hour working on the introduction to "Isis and Osiris."
He finally looked up and handed the parchment to Apollonius. "I'll embellish
it some more later, but how does this sound for a start?"
Apollonius took it and read it aloud: "All good things, my dear Clea, sensible
men must ask . . . for we believe that there is nothing more important . . . or
more ennobling for God of His grace to grant, than the truth.
"But you must understand, Clea, that whenever you hear the stories about
the gods, their wanderings, dismemberments, deaths and resurrections,
and many experiences of this sort, you must remember what has been
already said, and you must not think that any of these tales actually
happened in the manner in which they are related.
"Nor, again, do they believe that the sun rises as a newborn babe from the
lotus, but they portray the rising of the sun in this manner to indicate
allegorically the enkindling of the sun from the waters."
"Pythagoras, it seems, was greatly admired, and he also greatly admired the
Egyptian priests, and, copying their symbolism and secret teachings,
incorporated his doctrines in enigmas. As a matter of fact most of the
Pythagorean precepts do not at all fall short of the writings that are called
"If, then, you listen to the stories about the gods in this way, accepting them
from those who interpret the story allegorically and philosophically, and if
you always perform and observe the established rites of worship, and
believe that no sacrifice that you can offer, no deed that you may do, will be
more likely to find favor with the gods than your understanding of their true
nature, you may avoid superstition which is no less an evil than atheism."
Apollonius smiled. "Great start, my son. That is perfect. We'll add more
information about our friend, Pythagoras, and it will be a perfect means of
Lucius was ready for the next phase of the project. "Now, to whom shall we
address this gospel of Truth?"
"That one I've already chosen," Apollonius said. "We must signal those who
are seeking religious truths that the gospel was written for them. We shall
address it to Theophilus."
"That is truly brilliant, Apollos, Greek words that mean "things religious" and
"those who love." Anna was clearly pleased with the choice of name.
"And perhaps the connection with Philo of Alexandria will be drawn, as
well," Apollonius said.
"Perhaps," Lucius said. They smiled at the secret they shared.
Lucius busied himself writing the introduction to their gospel while
Apollonius studied the Torah and Anna thumbed through some of the
classics. After about an hour, Lucius presented his first draft, reading it
"Just as many before have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things
which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us
by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the
word, it seemed wise to me also, having followed all things closely for some
time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,
that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been
"Good, good." Apollonius was pleased. "We'll keep it brief. We've addressed
our future Nazoreans, we've informed them that an eyewitness and minister
of Jesus is involved, and we've promised our stories will reveal the truth."
"Do you think they'll understand that 'the Word' refers to Jesus?" Anna
Apollonius answered, "We'll have to do our best to make certain that's
understood and passed on through time. Perhaps another gospel after we
finish this one . . . ?"
"Perhaps." Lucius smiled at the old man's energy.