∼ Words from the Church Fathers ∼
St Joseph of Arimathea, who buried the crucified Christ
The holy and righteous Joseph of Arimathea was a wealthy member of the Jewish Sanhedrin and a secret follower of Christ (Matt. 27:25; John 19:38). His feast day is July 31. He is also commemorated on the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearers – the second Sunday after Pascha. Along with St. Nicodemus, St. Joseph removed Christ’s body from the Cross, prepared it for burial, and placed it in his own sepulchre. Jewish spies found out about this and told their authorities, who imprisoned St. Joseph. However, the resurrected Christ appeared to St. Joseph in prison and convinced him of his Resurrection. Some time later the Jews released St. Joseph from prison and banished him from Jerusalem. He then travelled throughout the whole world preaching the Gospel, eventually sowing the seeds of salvation in Britain, where he reposed peacefully in the Lord.
Nicodemus the Righteous
The holy and righteous Nicodemus was a Pharisee who came to hear the Lord by night. After the Crucifixion, he acted as one of the Holy Myrrh-bearers. Because of this, he is commemorated on the Sunday of Myrrh-bearing Women, two weeks after Pascha. In the Gospel of John, he appears three times. The first is the aforementioned encounter, where he visits Jesus in the dead of the night (in order to avoid persecution by the Sanhedrin, the Jewish temple leaders, of which he was a member) to listen to his teachings (John 3:1-21). This meeting, a poignant scene in the Gospel, is where Jesus tells Nicodemus that one must be “born again” in order to enter into the Kingdom of God. The second appearance is in John 7:45-51, where he states the law concerning the arrest of Jesus at the Feast of Booths. Finally, his last appearance is after the Crucifixion where he assists the Noble Joseph in recovering Jesus’ body and preparing it for burial (John 19:39-42).
Not much is known outside of John’s Gospel regarding the life of St. Nicodemus after the Resurrection. Church tradition states that he was possibly martyred sometime during the 1st Century AD.