Simon of Cyrene

Simon of Cyrene

Andrew Sholl

The current civil war in Libya brings to mind an important, indeed vital fact of our Faith, especially during the Easter season.

Simon of Cyrene (a town in north-eastern Libya) was made to carry the Cross of Jesus by the Romans (Matthew 27:32). In fact Cyrene, now called in Arabic Shahhat, was such an important town at the time of Jesus that the whole eastern half of Libya was and is still called Cyrenaica. Tripolitania is the western half of the nation, with its chief city of Tripoli which is now the "united" nation's capital.

What to us Christians is significant is that Simon only helped Jesus to carry the Cross: Simon did not die on that Cross, as was claimed by Gnostics in their controversy with Catholics in the early Church.

It is therefore not surprising that Muhammad appears to have adopted the Gnostics' idea in the seventh century AD, since Muslims are explicitly taught in the Koran that Jesus did not die on the cross, but another man stood in as a substitute.

However, Saint Paul tells us that if Jesus had not been crucified and died for us, and then was raised on the third day, we would still be in our sin and our Faith would be worthless.

ANDREW SHOLL
Townsville, Qld

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