The Fates of the Apostles is a Christian poem written in Anglo-Saxon England. Its artful runic signature at the end decodes into the name of Cynewulf, its likely auctor. The poet endows the epilogue of The Fates of the Apostles with his own fear of death. The Twelve are praised because of their heroic deeds and they are also invoked to guide the poet to God’s presence. The Apostles become the poet’s comfort in such a challenging time of his mortal existence. The poem can be read as Cynewulf’s final prayer before his transitus into the eternities. If one places The Fates of the Apostles into a funerary-liturgical perspective, it might provide a new and compelling reading of the poem as Cynewulf’s literary commendatio animae and cry of finit before his journey back to God.
Gabriele Cocco received his PhD degree from the University of Padua, where he is an affiliated reader. He has recently published a critical edition of the Old English gnomic poems Maxims I and Maxims II. His research focuses on Christian literature with specific attention on its relationship to liturgy, monastic poetics, and the influence of the thought of the Church Fathers in Anglo-Saxon England. He has also worked on the Old English Historia Apollonii regis Tyri and the elegies of the Exeter Book.ok.