Acts of the Apostles



  • A group of French miracle plays written between 1452 and 1478by Simon Gréban, probably with his brother Arnoul. The storiesof the travels, teachings, and martyrdom of Christ's apostles werecollected in a manuscript containing 61,968 lines.

    For over 70 years the plays were presented by the Confrériede la Passion, an association of amateur actors, at a site justoutside the walls of Paris. In 1541, however, the Confrériewas charged with adding apocryphal material along with farces andpantomimes. The Church authorities protested that the performancesencouraged "neglect of divine service, indifference in almsgivingand charity, adultery and incessant fornication, scandals, mockeryand scorn". Even priests were said to hurry through servicesin order to see the plays. These attacks had little effect on theplays' popularity; in 1545 the Acts of the Apostles was playedevery Sunday for seven straight months. Three years later, however,when the Confrérie moved to a new permanent home at the Hôtelde Bourgogne they were prohibited from performing religious works.