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  39 A.D.?:  Pontius Pilate Is Buried?                                                                  

      A Monument in Vienna To Pontius Pilate's Death 

  If you travel to Vienna, France you might come across a strange sight.  (I had posted 'Vienna, Austria' here for a long time, but erroneously.  And I also included some interesting facts, from a Christian perspective, about Austria and Vienna, Austria, as if this story was yet another.  But, this account mentions a monument located in Vienna, France on the Rhone River.  Thank you to F.B. for writing to correct me!  I  extend my apologies to everyone that I misinformed, and of course to Austria, in particular Vienna, Austria!)  But, if you travel to Vienna, France you might come across a quite unexpected monument.  It is shown above, and is called 'the Pyramid', but in their local language of course.  Its purpose might catch some Christians by surprise.  It is said to commemorate the death of Pontius Pilate, who is said to have been buried nearby to there. 

  This is the same Prefect (it was once thought that his title was Procurator, but a stone tablet was found in Caeserea Maritima, Israel in 1961, and it gave Pilate's name and then gave his title as Prefect) that became so well known from the pages of the Bible as the largely reluctant collaborator in the death of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of the Living God. 

  Pilate was apparently born in a small town named Bisenti, in the Abruzzo region of central Italy, so Vienna, France is not actually so very far from there.  It is about 525 miles by today's roads.  Yet how often do we hear that Pilate is connected with Europe at all?  Yet he apparently originated there.     

  The Jewish leadership of Pilate's day wanted Jesus executed.  Pilate balked, not finding Jesus guilty of anything justifying execution.  Pilate did have Him whipped to placate the indignation of the Jews.  But he would have let him go at that point if given his choice.  (And in truth, it was his choice.  He was the only official Roman authority in the area of Jerusalem who could approve of an execution of the type Jesus suffered.)  And Pilate's wife had a frightening dream which caused her to tell Pilate to have nothing to do with Jesus' death because He was a just man.  (Matthew 27:19)  Yet, in the final analysis, Pilate did order Jesus to be crucified, though he then washed his hands of the affair, making it plain he had been essentially forced or politically maneuvered into allowing it by the political wiles of the rulers among the Jews.  (Matthew 27:24)  Yet Pilate also allowed Roman soldiers to torture and mock Jesus before His crucifixion.  You almost have to conclude that Pilate played a very mixed role in the events of that dark day for justice.  Will the Lord hold him guiltless?  If judged guilty, will his sins be forgiven?  Only the Lord can judge these things. 

  Not so much is known about Pilate's life afterwards.  There are several accounts of how he died, but they contradict each other in some important particulars.  Some accounts might seem fantastical, and because they don't agree, some of them certainly are fantastical.  One tradition holds that Pilates body was thrown into the Tiber, but the water became greatly disturbed with storms and demonic activity until it was removed.  So it was then taken to Vienna and thrown in the Rhone River there, but that river also became disturbed with demonic activity.  So, the body was eventually taken to a mountain lake (Lake Lucerne) at Mount Pilatus in nearby Switzerland, and sunken into that.  These accounts exist, they are out there, but I wouldn't consider them to be too authoratative.  They vary a lot from each other, for one thing.   

  But, because there are several varying traditions that say so, and a monument calling itself Pilate's tomb, it appears that Pontius Pilate might well be buried in the vicinity of Vienna after having been banished to there.  He is even said in some traditions to have killed himself while in Vienna.   

  The Ethiopian church has a contradicting tradition that Pilate converted to Christianity, and died a martyr in Rome, beheaded at the command of the Emperor.  His wife, possibly named Claudia Procula, is an actual listed Saint in their wing of the church. 

  Here is an apocryphal account that was posted on a site where people were discussing Pontius Pilate.  It was said to be the account upon which the Ethiopian (and Coptic church according to some in the discussion) base Pilate's martyrdom.  It was excerpted and posted by several different people, but still, definately take it with a grain of salt.  If it interests you, you can easily enough do internet searches or visit the library to find out more.  But be aware that the Western church does not support this account:

The Giving Up of Pontius Pilate.

And again the Cæsar set himself to question Pilate; and he orders a captain named Albius to cut off Pilate’s head, saying: Just as he laid hands upon the just man named Christ, in like manner also shall he fall, and not find safety.

And Pilate, going away to the place, prayed in silence, saying: Lord, do not destroy me along with the wicked Hebrews, because I would not have laid hands upon Thee, except for the nation of the lawless Jews, because they were exciting rebellion against me. But Thou knowest that I did it in ignorance. Do not then destroy me for this my sin; but remember not evil against me, O Lord, and against Thy servant Procla, who is standing with me in this the hour of my death, whom Thou didst appoint to prophesy that Thou shouldest be nailed to the cross. Do not condemn her also in my sin; but pardon us, and make us to be numbered in the portion of Thy righteous.

And, behold, when Pilate had finished his prayer, there came a voice out of the heaven, saying: All the generations and families of the nations shall count thee blessed, because under thee have been fulfilled all those things said about me by the prophets; and thou thyself shall be seen as my witness at my second appearing, when I shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel, and those that have not owned my name. And the prefect struck off the head of Pilate; and, behold, an angel of the Lord received it. And his wife Procla, seeing the angel coming and receiving his head, being filled with joy herself also, immediately gave up the ghost, and was buried along with her husband.
  End excerpt.  Source unknown to me, unfortunately!

  Interestingly, some early Christian church notables have seen the dream that Pilate's wife received as being from the Devil; it is their view that Satan did not wish for Jesus to be crucified, so that Jesus' death could not save the souls of men.   

  Concerning Pilate's death, most traditions have it that he died in Roman disfavor, having earned the wrath of either Emperor Tiberius by some accounts, or Emperor Caligula according to others.  One tradition has it that Pilate committed suicide with his own knife when faced with probable execution by an angry Roman Emperor.

  Whatever the case, Pilate remains an enigmatic figure in Christianity and history.  Reluctant to play his role, he did play it anyway.  Perhaps he politically had no choice, but he could have ignored politics and done the righteous thing.  Reading about Pilate's role in Jesus' death might have helped convince many ancient Romans to believe, partially out of pride that a Roman had tried to intercede for the Lord, and perhaps partially out of guilt that, in the end, Pontius gave in and was an accessory to the crime.  But, which of us would have done better?  None of us can know without having been there that day.  One thing is for sure:  each time we willingly sin, we willingly betray our Lord also.

  There is a writing that I once read called 'The Death of Pontius Pilate, Who Condemned Jesus' which claimed that the word Vienna stems from 'via Gehenna', as in 'way to Gehenna' (Gehenna is a place of fiery smoky punishment in the Hebrew teachings, and also a garbage burning ravine long ago outside of Jerusalem) because that same writing says that Vienna was once 'a place of cursing'.   But, Vienna is a city full of God created people, many who believe on Jesus, and without doubt holds many fine Christians, perhaps more than most cities for all I know.  If it was ever a place of cursing it probably no longer is.        

  It does seem kind of true that Pontius Pilate has had a strange role in history, at least at certain times.  He is seen by many as one of the darkest of sinners.  On the one hand he did publically wash his hands of the blood of the Lord.  On the other hand, he approved it by allowing it. He was not without sin in this matter, but God alone knows the magnitude of Pilate's sin so far as I know.  I truly do not have any discernment about it. 

  In the end, God uses who He wishes as He wishes, yet without ever taking away the privilege of free choice from us.  And no nation lacks a great many sinners from among its populace anyway.  And concerning sinners, here I would do best to contradict the Apostle Paul and insist that rather than him it is in fact 'I that am the chief sinner'.  We're all supposed to think that way, keeping our own sins in mind front and center.  But it is certain to me that I come far before Paul, who worked so hard for the Lord for so many years, in being the chief of sinners.  I do not mean to disparage any city or nation just because interesting things have happened there. 



  My name is Dan Curry and I just wanted to make brief mention of something to you, if you will in spare a minute. 

  I personally believe that realizing how many great deeds of God have actually occurred through out history will lead some people to be saved giving their life to Christ.  If you agree, then please, take the time to be a 'missionary', to love your neighbor enough to care about their soul.  Please mention and recommend visiting the Deeds of God website on any social media sites that you belong to.  Tell a favorite account to your friends or family, and tell them where you read it.  To know God is to stand in awe of Him, but too few people know Him today.  Accounts like these are yet another way to come to know Jesus and the Holy Father, and the Spirit of Truth that helps us understand.  Thank you.  Dan Curry

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