On the third day of party consultations with the prime minister in charge Mario Draghi, there is a clash between Luigi Di Maio and Alessandro Di Battista. If from the first arrived – even before the meeting of the M5S delegation with Draghi – an opening message to the prime minister in charge, from the second a decisive closure: “I will never be able to endorse a jumble in the government that could go from Leu to the Lega , I cannot accept such a dangerous “parliamentary gathering”. I can not accept it because the vast majority of political forces who are bowing to the thirteenth apostle it does not represent my ideas ». This is what the expression “thirteenth apostle” means
The most immediate identification of the thirteenth apostle it is the one with Matthias, who in the account of the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles is drawn to take the place of the traitor Judas. The author of the Acts, however, does not indicate it as thirteenth, rather he points out the fact that it was necessary to reconstitute the apostolic college in the number of twelve, evident symbol of the twelve tribes of Israel; We no longer know anything about Matthias from the New Testament, but already in ancient times various legendary traditions flourished about him. Interesting (in Di Battista’s perspective) is the fact that some Gnostic heretics in the Second Century attribute to him a secret and esoteric revelation, which Matthias would have received directly from the risen Jesus and which would have distinguished him from the common apostles.
This unites him to Mary Magdalene, the “apostle of the apostles” for the Orthodox writers, as he would have announced the resurrection first to the twelve, or the “thirteenth apostle” for the Gnostics, also like Matthias the bearer of a secret doctrine learned thanks to his union ( of various kinds according to the different Gnostic writers) with Christ. On the other hand, the idea of Ambrose, who in the Treatise on the patriarchs calls Paul the “thirteenth apostle”, was scarce, probably because the definition of “apostle of the people” and the juxtaposition, even iconographic, with Peter was affirmed.
In short, perhaps also for the number (thirteen!), the apostle in addition has always had an ambiguous connotation, something mysterious and closed to ordinary people, in any case disturbing; and if it is a Jesuit, as in the series of the same name, the legend is tinged even more black. It is easy to imagine that Di Battista, in addition to not recognizing his bow, wishes him to end another unfortunate “biblical number”, the fourth of the Magi, the one that, according to legend, got lost along the way.
* Marco Rizzi is professor of Ancient Christian Literature at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart and general secretary of Aiep – Iaps (Association Internationale d’Études Patristiques – International Association of Patristic Studies).
February 6, 2021 (change February 6, 2021 | 17:46)