Evolution of the Spring Feasts

This is a summary of how the celebration of the Spring feasts has evolved over time (mostly for the worse). The hope is that by understanding it, we can get keep the original intent.


2 Thess 2:15 tells us, "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter". We've got many of their letters, but what were those traditions? Eusebius states in Book 2 Chapter 23 of Eccl Hist that both Jews and Gentiles celebrated Passover in the early days of the faith in Messiah of 63 AD - indicating it was not just a feast for the Jews. Unfortunately, history shows they did not hold fast to this tradition.

Early writings from the first few centuries support the 14th day of Aviv as the time to celebrate Passover. Polycrates (2nd century) writes of this in detail in http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-08/anf08-170.htm. Basically, by Law, the requirement is for the Passover lamb to be killed on the 14th "between the evenings". So I guess one could keep the law as written eating the meal itself on either the 14th or 15th, as long as the lamb was killed sometime "between the evenings", though it's a lot easier to eat the meal on the 15th since it gives more time to prepare the lamb without a deadline to worry about. Maybe after the ritualistic requirements of Passover were no longer considered part of the, they just kept the 14th.

The majority of Jews slaughtered the Paschal lamb on the afternoon of the 14th, and ate the meal that evening as the 14th turned into the 15th. A few sects were an exception to this. Samaritans killed the lamb between sundown and twilight.

Early Christians fasted for some days prior to Passover. I don't know the reason, but I'll speculate here a moment. This may be rooted in a Jewish tradition, where the firstborn son of each family fasts the day before Passover. Y'shua (Jesus) said, "If any man desires to follow me he must pick up his cross...", so maybe this Christian tradition was rooted in the idea that the Jewish tradition of the firstborn fasting would have applied to Y'shua, the firstborn of the dead. So if it was a day for him to fast, we should fast also to share in His sufferings.

The Jewish tradition was only one day but the writings of early believers indicated that it was several days to weeks. Some believers did 3 days, some 3 weeks, some 6 weeks. Gradually this tradition was replaced by Lent, which the Catholic Church chose to coincide with the "40 days of weeping for Tammuz" - a pagan festival that occured during the 40 days leading up to the feast of Ishtar (aka "easter") - a pagan sex orgy that occurs on the first Sunday after the full moon following the equinox.

Now it's not that there weren't already prolonged periods of mourning on the Jewish calendar. There's the Omer period that could have been more easily used and it would make more sense just to add some new traditions on how to keep it. Also, the 40 days in Elul and the days of Awe would seem the most appropriate time for an extended fast of some sort. But Lent was an attempt to reinvent pagan traditions rather than Jewish ones.

Today, many Jews celebrated 2 Passover seders because they're not sure what the right day is and want to be sure they celebrate at least one seder on the correct day. Thus for Pharisaic Jews, if the preceeding month was 30 days, they keep two seders would be the 14th and 15th of Aviv, but if it was 29 days, then they keep the 15th and 16th of Aviv. Other Jewish sects keep only the 15th and 16th regardless. This is done to guarantee them they celebrate it on the right day each year even if the calendar is off, but I guess it also guarantees them that they are celebrating it on the wrong day each year as well.

Jerome (4th century) wrote several things encouraging Christians to celebrate Passover (See his letter to Eustochium and Lives of Illustrious Men). Jerome also criticized the Jewish tradition of discarding the Paschal lamb as a result of not having a temple to sacrifice in, in his letter to Nepotian. Also, the Passover Seder went through some changes during the first century, and one of them is a tradition that was introduced by early followers of Y'shua and still practiced to this day among non-believing Jews: the Matzah tosh.

Passover, Firstfruits, and Pentecost

Now I hate to use the word "easter" myself, but here it's more fitting maybe since the way it was established was a perversion anyway. But a lot of people associate "Easter"/Resurrection Day with the Feast of Firstfruits, since Y'shua rose on a Sunday morning, which fullfilled the type of firstfruits. But the Christian tradition of celebrating "easter" on Sunday is not an attempt to celebrate a Christian version of the Firstfruits, but a different version of Passover. In fact in the Greek Orthodox Church, it's still a tradition to eat lamb on "Easter Sunday". The idea that "Easter" is a Passover celebration, and not a Firstfruits celebration, is made clear by an abundance of early Christian writings. Nowhere is this clearer than in the writings of Anatolius of Alexandria at http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-06/anf06-57.htm, chapter XI, who wrote in support of the idea of celebrating Passover always on the Sunday after the scheduled Passover as given in the Torah on the 14th of Aviv. Passover was celebrated on the 14th of the month by most Christians (Jewish and gentile) among early believers, made clear by Eusebius in Eccl Hist, Book 2, chapter 23, but that gradually changed over the years. Eusebius' account is from about 63 AD when most of the original apostles were still alive.

The following table charts how the change progressed...

70AD+ Temple in Jerusalem destroyed. Roman government levies a huge tax on anyone practicing Judaism, encouraging many gentile believers in the Messiah to distance themselves from Judaism.
90AD+ Jews begin expelling believers in the Messiah from the synagogues. Samuel the Lesser was commisioned to add what came to be called the Birkas haMinim to the Eighteen Benedictions of the Amidah. This was used to find who the "Nazarenes" or believers in Messiah were and expell them from the synagogue.
116-126AD Irenaeus was the first to record that the move to celebrating Passover on the Sunday after the Paschal moon started at about this point. But the believers in Asia and Jerusalem refused to comply and continued celebrating Passover on the 14th of Aviv.
135 AD After final destruction of Jerusalem and Bar Kochba revolt, early records indicate the Bishop of Jerusalem still favored Passover on the 14th of Aviv.

Judaism was outlawed by Roman Emperor Hadrian at this time, encouraging yet more distance between Christianity and Judaism.

150-155 AD Polycarp (from among the believers in Asia) goes to Rome and tries to convince the Pope to follow the true apostolic tradition of celebrating Passover on the 14th of Aviv. (See Eusebius' Eccl. History, Book V, Chapter 24) and used as "proof" by the believers of Asia some years later to resist the move to a "Sunday Passover".
135-190AD Somewhere in this time period it's believed that the first gentile was elected Bishop of Jerusalem and moved the Passover celebration to Sunday after the Paschal moon, in unison with the church in Rome.

It was probably shortly after 135 AD, since Eusebius tells us that Hadrian required that a Gentile bishop be selected for Jerusalem in Ecclesiastical History, Book IV, Chapter 6.

185-190AD The believers in Asia becomes the last region of believers to move to celebrating "Easter" or the Sunday Passover. But not without a fight. They vehemently stated their belief that the 14th was the correct day to celebrate it, but complied only for the sake of unity among believers. Many who objected said there were still people alive at the time who were instructed by the Apostle John, before he died, to keep the Biblical date. Eusebius records this in detail in his Eccl History, Book 5, Chapters 23-25. They were threatened with excommunication from the Roman Church unless they complied.

Now over time, Christians realized that the Resurrection had more in common with Firstfruits than Passover and quit calling "Easter" by the term "Passover".

Now a lot of Christians think that because "Easter" always falls on a Sunday, that Christian tradition supports the idea of a Sunday always Firstfruits and therefore a Sunday always Pentecost. But truth is that Christians tradition was not based on "Easter" being an observance of firstfruits at all, but of Passover, and it's thus a Sunday-always Passover, which does not agree with scriptures or the earliest traditions of the saints. Post-2nd century Gentile Christian tradition places "Pentecost" 50 days after the "Sunday Passover", not 50 days after Firstfruits, and Passover always on a Sunday, ignoring the day of Firstfruits. None of this matches the Torah or the traditions of the faith before 115AD. To conclude that Christian tradition teaches that Firstfruits and Pentecost should always fall on Sunday is to re-interpret why "Easter" and "Pentecost" are celebrated when they are. The current gentile tradition has gotten completely away from using the Torah as any guide to these feasts.

There has been some debate among different sects of Judaism on how to celebrate the timing of Bikkurim (FirstFruits) and Shavuot (Pentecost). The only thing I've been able to find from any early writings directly addressing Firstfruits by it's rightfull place comes from Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria (b 296 AD) who said in his "Letter XIV" at http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/NPNF2-04/Npnf2-04-83.htm#P9480_3425620 encouraged keeping the Jewish tradition of the Firstfruits on the 16th, whatever day of the week that fell on, not the Sunday after Passover, or 2 days after the "Sunday Passover" of current gentile tradition, and counting forward to Pentecost from this date, not from the date of the Sunday Passover ("Easter"), as is done by most of the gentile church today.

(Though to me, this should be modified by the fact that if the 16th fell on a Shabbat, Firstfruits is on the 17th, since it requires work to be done and therefore cannot fall on a Shabbat.)

Now Pharisaic Jews teach Lev 23:16 has been mistranslated in the KJV Bible. The KJV translators based their bias from experience that the Roman Church by tradition, in 1611, counted off 50 days from Passover [when it's really 50 days from Firstfruits]. The corruption of a Sunday always Passover was also why they also mistranslated the word "Passover" as "Easter" in Acts 12:4. But in the original language of the Tanak, the determination of whether to fix Firstfruits/Pentecost after the Festival Shabbat or weekly Shabbat is ambiguous and could be interpretted either way - and was, since the various sects did not agree on how to interpret this.

If Y'shua died on Thursday, Aviv 14, it would mean that the year of His death, either the "Sunday always Firstfruits/Pentecost" method or the current method in use, would have been in agreement since Firstfruits would have fell on Sunday anyway as the natural date. That might sort of cause one to pay special attention to years in which both methods of reckoning agree for prophetic significance.

The following chart gives a brief overview of how the Spring feasts were reckoned by various groups in Israel at the time...

Group/ Sect / Era New Moon Passover Firstfruits Shavuot/ Pentecost
Pharisees (Jewish Majority) New Crescent sighting killed lamb afternoon of 14th, ate meal eve of 15th 16th of Aviv 50 days after Firstfruits (generally fell between Sivan 4 and 8)
Pharisees since 358AD New Month Calculated - sometimes off Lamb not included since 70AD. Meal eaten eve of 15th. 16th of Aviv 50 days after Firstfruits, always Sivan 6 by fixed calendar - a 2 day festival today
Sadducees New crescent same as Pharisees Sunday after Passover 50 days after ???***
Karaites New crescent same as Pharisees Sunday after Passover 50 days after Firstfruits
Essenes Moon not used to establish month. A month was a solar year divided into 13 pieces. Month always started on a Wednesday Killed afternoon of 14th, eaten evening of 14th, with sunrise to sunrise reckoning of a day. Passover always started on Tuesday at sunrise and ended Wednesday at sunrise. Observed on 26th day of first month (that's 26th, not 16th - no it's not a typo!) 50 days after Firstfruits
Christians before 70AD followed local Jewish customs see box at left see box at left see box at left
Christian Majority after 190AD no longer relevant - full moon used as guide Always on first Sunday after Paschal full moon Not observed 50 days after "Sunday Passover", instead of the Biblical count of 50 days after firstfruits
Christian Majority by/after 325AD (Nicean Council) see above Always on first Sunday after Paschal full moon, unless it fell on the 14th, in which case it would be celebrated Sunday the 21st, to insure the "Christian" Sunday Passover NEVER occurred the same time as the Jewish Passover. Anyone who celebrated Passover at same time as the Jews where excommunicated. Anti-Semitism was normal at this point and may have been the root cause of the move to a Sunday Passover in the first place. Not observed 50 days after "Sunday Passover", instead of the Biblical count of 50 days after firstfruits
circa 6th century see above Passover renamed "Easter" after the Pagan feastival name. I guess they figured it was OK to imitate the pagans but not OK to imitate G-d's traditions given to the Jews. Not observed see above
Modern Western Reinterpration   associated with 'Good Friday' Associated with "Easter" 50 days later

The "Modern Western Reinterpretation" is the way most gentile Christians who read the Bible and the account of the Spring Feasts, but have no knowledge of the pagan influences on the evolution of the celebration of these feasts, have re-interpretted the Christian traditions. But this is NOT how the traditions came into being. This "Modern Reinterpration" would not have been possible had the gentile church not renamed "Passover" as "Easter", the name already given to the pagan feastival held at the same time.

In Eastern Europe and Russia, "Easter" is viewed a little different. Remnants of Passover are still present when they celebrate the feast of "Pascha", which is a combined celebration of Resurrection Day and Passover together as one feastival. Many of the same Western customs are observed concerning Resurrection Day, but a meal is also eaten that includes a Passover lamb, bitter herbs, etc., but without the full seder used by Jews and Messianic Believers.

***I've found one source that says the Sadducees counted Shavuot as 50 days after Aviv 16, even though they didn't celebrate Firstfruits on that date. I have another that says the Sadducees celebrated BOTH Firstfruits and Shavuot on Sunday. Anyone have any sources out there on that issue?

The Sadduccees were not taken seriously by the Jewish public (See Josephus in Antiquities 18:1:4) and existed by Roman decree. They disappeared in 70 AD.

Anti-Semitism and a desire to avoid the taxes and other persecution levied against the Jews by the Roman government was at the heart of the evolution of Passover to something completely foreign. After Constantine outlawed all Jewish customs in most of Europe in the 4th century, the use of the term "Passover" was dropped from the "Sunday Passover" celebration and it was renamed. Constantine mandated that all believers in the Messiah renounce anything related to Judaism with the following oath...

"I renounce all customs, rites, legalism, unleavened breads and feast of Lambs of the Hebrews, sacrifices, prayers, aspirations, purifications, sanctifications, and propriations, hymns and chants, observances and synagogues, and the foods and drinks of the Hebrews. In one word, I renounce absolutely everything Jewish, every Law, rite and custom..." (Stefano Assemani, Acta Sanctorum Martyrum Orientalium at Occidentalium, Vol 1 (Rome 1748), page 105.

...causing the both Jewish and Gentile believers to completely lose the Hebrew Heritage they had earlier embraced in the celebration of the Holidays.

A letter of his is recorded which reads:

"The commemoration of the most sacred paschal feast being then debated...It was, in the first place, declared improper to follow the custom of the Jews in the celebration of this holy festival, because, their hands having been stained with crime, the minds of these wretched men are necessarily blinded....Let us, then, have nothing in common with the Jews, who are our adversaries. " (Letter of Constantine recorded in Book I, Chapter IX of the Ecclesiatical History of Theodoret)

These words display a lot of anti-semitism, and attempt to re-state the date God gave in His Torah as something that was of a given group of people whom he has decided to speak evil against. This displays that anti-semitism was indeed part of choosing a date that differed from the Biblical date. Jews, even unbelieving Jews, are not the enemy of the Church.

As Emperor, Constantine tried to make all religions as similar as possible to make it easier to control the public. He had the Church incorporate practices and customs of the pagans and had the pagans incorporate into their worship practices and customs of the Church.

Other Gentile/Pagan Corruptions

Long before the Resurrection of our Savior, since the days of the Tower of Babylon, there was a pagan holiday named "Easter" that was named after the pagan goddess Ishtar who was also known by the following names...

Eastre / Astarte (name in Phoenicia and Syria) / Asherah / Ashtoreth / Aphrodite (Greece) / Ostara / Hera / Diana (Ephesus) / Ianna / Innini (Uruk) / Isis (Egypt) / Semiramus / Venus (Rome) / Electra / Cybele / Demeter / Ceres / Freya (for whome "Friday" is named {Freya's day}) / Mother Nature / Queen of Heaven (normal name used for her in the bible).

She was the wife of Nimrod (who is mentioned in Genesis 10:8-12) of ancient Babylon on earth and deified as the goddess of fertility and springtime after her death. From her name we get the English word "estrogen" (a female hormone). The rabbit was her earthly symbol and eggs were used as a symbol of fertility with egg hunts common on her Spring festival, due to a Tuetonic myth that states Ishtar changed a bird into a rabbit that could still lay eggs after it's transformation. Here's a direct quote from a Pagan, explaining the holiday of "Eastara / Oeaste" and eggs as...

"It [Eastara] is a celebration of the returning of life to the Earth. Rabbits, eggs and children are sacred at this feast and Pagans in need of fertility talismans now color hollow eggs and pass them through the ceremonial fires (quickly)" - Isaac Bonewitz, Satanist, at http://www.neopagan.net/NeoDruidismCalendar.HTML .

Worshippers of Ishtar would sacrifice infants to her and dip eggs in the blood of the sacrificed infants. This is where the practice of coloring "easter eggs" came from.

The original pagan festival of "Easter" was a sex orgy that celebrated the return of life via the fertility of Ishtar's conception of Tammuz. Worshippers of the Babylonian religion celebrated the conception of Tammuz on the first Sunday after the Full Moon that followed the Spring Equinox. They celebrated it by baking cakes to Ishtar, getting drunk, engaging in sex orgies and prostitution in the temple of Ishtar. Women were required to celebrate the conception of Tammuz by lieing down in the temple and having sex with whoever entered. The man was required to leave her money. Babies were sacrificed in the honor of these pagan gods and their blood was consumed by the worshippers.

9 months after "Easter" came the pagan festival of Saturnalia, which always began on December 25th (and lasted 12 days), and was the celebration of the birth of the sun-god supposedly concieved on "Easter". [Though today Saturnalia begins 4 days earlier because of a shift in the winter solstice.] Thus the December 25 celebration of Saturnalia was intricately woven with the festival of "Easter" sex orgies. Many babies would be born around Dec 25 from the sex orgies that began on the feast of Ishtar in the Spring. Many of these babies would be sacrificed the following spring at the next feast of Ishtar. "Christmas" is an attempt by the Roman Church to reinvent Saturnalia in a Christian manner, replacing the birth of Tammuz with the birth of Y'shua. Similar logic is why most Buddhists celebrate the birth of Buddah on December 25th.

When the Roman church tried to keep pagan converts away from pagan festivals by holding "Christian alternatives" to them, these symbols got included in many gentile Christian customs (though it's hard to find a Messianic Jew who engages in any of these practices). The pre-Paschal fast period was named "Lent" and was extended to 40 (46 calendar) days to coincide with the pagan festival of "40 days of weeping for Tammuz", her out-of-wedlock son who was born on December 25th and whom she told the world was the sun-god reincarnated as man. It was also common for pagans to bake cakes to offer to her on the Friday before Easter (ala Jer 7:17-19). 40 days were picked as one day for each year of his life since he died at age 40.

Pagans believed Tammuz died and was reborn annually in cycle with the agricultural seasons and said to resurrect every "Easter", always held on a Sunday for the pagans. This was started many years before Y'shua. Pagans believe Tammuz was killed by a wild boar/pig but rose from the dead.

Chaldeans offered cakes (many societies baked them in the shape of a cross) to Ishtar on the Friday before her Sunday festival. (This is where 'hot cross buns' came from.)

The Roman Church has taught that Y'shua died on a Friday, but the math for this doesn't add up, since the scriptures clearly teach that He rose before Sunday morning, and He spent 3 days and 3 nights in the tomb. While the Bible says He died the day before a Sabbath, they were talking about the annual Passover Sabbath that falls on the 15th of Aviv, no matter what day of hte week the 15th fell on, and not the weekly Sabbath. You can't get 3 days and 3 nights from Friday to Sunday morning. You only have 2 nights and 1 day plus part of another day. So why does the Roman Church erroneously teach Y'shua died on a Friday?

To create "Christian" alternatives for the Pagan festivals of "Easter" celebrations, the Roman church created "Good Friday", though His death was definitely at least one day earlier than on a Friday (probably Thursday, possibly on a Wednesday), and moved the celebration of Passover to coincide with the celebration of the resurrection of Tammuz, which was very close to the time of Passover anyway. The heathen world was taking off work to celebrate these feasts, and holding Christian alternative celebrations on the same date made it easier to take off work, made it easier for pagan converts to accept new Christian customs, and made Christianity itself more socially acceptable. This was probably due to the fact that Passover is a bigger ceremony and celebration than firstfruits, even though firstfruits was the type of the resurrection, while passover the type of His death.

The Sadduccees, {who were considered completely corrupt by the Jewish population (Antiquities 18:1:4)}, may have moved the celebration of Firstfruits to Sunday always in order to coincide with the pagan feastivals as well, since history records that Jews in Israel celebrated it in the Pharisaic manner both before and after the Sadducees were in power. The Torah was written ambiguously enough to support this interpretation, when read in the original Hebrew (The KJV translation of Lev 23:16 may be "week", not "Sabbath", as dicussed earlier, but was probably heavily influenced by the Christian tradition of the time, which was influenced by pagan tradition). Ezekiel chapter 8 talks about how G-d's temple had been overrun by those celebrating these pagan festivals.

There may have been a political motive for the northern tribes celebrating the feasts around different calendar calculations than the Pharisees. It may have been motivated by keeping the tribes of Israel from falling into religious submission to those who dwelt in Jerusalem, something the scriptures discuss in 1 Kings 12:26-33. Though by the first century, the political make up had changed, but this motivation may have still been present.

Now Satan always perverts everything G-d does in an opposite manner. G-d starts His month on a new moon, satan starts his on the full moon. Note some of the similarities / differences in the Spring festivals of G-d and Babylon (Mother of all harlots):

G-d's Feasts Babylonian Religion Feasts
Uncooked grains offered on Firstfruits, the 2nd feastival of the full moon week of Aviv (It was "Roasted in fire", but not to make it more edible.) Completely cooked and prepared grains offered on the Friday or 1st day of the full moon week of Aviv
Large feastival on 1st day of week's festivals centerred around a lamb. Large feastival on 2nd day of week's festivals centerred around ham. (Pigs were sacrificed because it was taught a pig killed Tammuz.)
Passover / Firstfruits always on same day of the month, could be any day of the week. Always on the same day of the week, could be any day of the month.

The influences of both Anti-Semitism and paganism may also have been the root cause for why it was also taught the "Sunday Passover" could not fall before the vernal equinox. Jews used witnessing the barley to be aviv as the main guide until the Diaspora. By teaching that the "Sunday Passover" had to fall after the equinox, it always coincided with the pagan feastivals at the same time. It also helped to ensure create more reasons why the Christian celebration of Passover would not occur at the same time as the Jewish celebration of Passover.


Among the writings that discuss the celebration of Passover during the first century or two after the Resurrection of the Messiah not mentioned elsewhere in this post are...

Polycrates (130-196 AD) Bishop of Ephesus, from his Letter to Victor and the Roman Church Concerning the Day of Keeping the Passover (at http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-08/anf08-170.htm) . Called for obeying G-d's time table, irregardless what the rest of the church did.

Hegesippus.[170 AD]in Fragments from his Five Books of Commentaries on the Acts of the Church at http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-08/anf08-165.htm records the myrterdom of James the Just in 63AD, saying both Jews and gentiles went to temple mount to celebrate Passover.

At http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-05/anf05-12.htm , Hippolytus [170-236 AD] in Refutation of All Heresies, Book VIII, says that Passover was given to the Jews, but then spread to the Gentiles who understand it in more depth today, and was a celebration God intended man to keep for all generations, calling Passover "a new and not antiquated feast, legal, (and) everlasting, a passover of the Lord God kept unto our generations, by those who are able to discern (this mystery), at the commencement of the fourteenth day, which is the beginning of a decade from which, he says, they reckon. " {The Greek word for "Passover" [Pascha] is mis-translated "easter" in part of this,}

Melito [c 150-180 AD], bishop of Sardis in Asia wrote 2 books on celebrating Passover, though none of them are available today. Jerome records that these were written in his work "Lives of Illustrious Men", chapter 24.

Theophilus Bishop of Caesarea at http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-08/anf08-171.htm

Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, [260 to 300-311 AD], talks in the fragments of his writings at http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-06/anf06-102.htm of when to celebrate Passover, saying Jews calculated it correctly until the destruction of the temple, then sometimes celebrated it too early. They were using a calculated calendar at this time, not an observed approach.

Anatolius [230-270-280 AD] talks in his Paschal Canon at http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-06/anf06-57.htm on WHEN to celebrate Passover. From Jerome we learn that Anatolius flourished in the reign of Probus and Carus, that he was a native of Alexandria, and that he became bishop of Laodicea.

Origin [185 to 230-254 AD] , a gentile, in Book VIII of Against Celsus at http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-04/anf04-63.htm , talks about the spiritual meaning of Passover and Pentecost, which he says were kept by early Christians.

Gregory of Nazianzus [325-374 AD] called Passover the "Feast of Feasts" (Oration 45)

http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-08/anf08-78.htm records a celebration of Passover in Jerusalem by an anonymous author in The Descent of Christ into Hell.

At http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-08/anf08-103.htm, in Acts of Thaddeus, talks of Thaddeus, who is called one of the 12, says he observed the Torah and celebrated Passover each year.