Trees of Christianity in Africa
Trees of Judas Iscariot Trees of Christianity in Africa
Fig Tree ▪ Judas Tree ▪ Carob Tree
Trees of Christianity in Africa
Christianity first arrived in Northern Africa around the 1st century AD and these Christian communities were among the earliest in the world. Who introduced Christianity into Africa is an ambiguous story at best however; it is commonly believed Christianity was brought from Jerusalem to Alexandria on the Egyptian coast by Mark, one of the four evangelists, in 60 AD.
There are a vast number of different religious practices on the African continent today, too many to count however, they all share some common characteristics: a belief in one God, a belief in ancestral spirits, the idea of sacrifice, and rites of passage.
The Trees of Judas
The list of events after the Crucifixion of Jesus many trees borne the name of the traitor Judas, the disciple who, after he had sold out Jesus, in sheer remorse and despair went and hanged himself on a tree. The Fig tree, Judas Tree, and the Carob tree have each in their turn been mentioned as the tree on which the suicide of Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve original disciples of Jesus Christ was committed.
Figs are one of the world’s oldest trees and were held in such high regard by the Greeks that laws were once created to prevent their export. Fig trees grow from South Africa to Senegal and Egypt, Madagascar and the Union of Comoros. Ficus sycomorus or fig tree goes by many names Mukuyu in the Shona language, Vyeboom in Afrikaans, Umkhiwa in Ndebele, شجرة التين in Arabic, and figueria in Portuguese.
As regards the Fig tree, the popular belief is that it was the tree Judas had hung himself. The Fig tree never again bore fruit and that the Fig was the identical Fig tree cursed by God; and that all the wild Fig trees sprang from this accursed tree. Interestedly, according to a Southern Italy tradition, Judas did not hang himself on a Fig but on a Tamarisk-tree called Vruca or Tamarix Africana. Vruca is now only a shrub, although formerly it was a noble tree; at the time of Judas’ suicide, it was cursed by God, and thereafter became a shrub that is ugly, misshapen, and useless.
The Cercis Siliquastrum, or Judas Tree, is believed to be haunted by enchanters, who assemble around the tree on which the traitorous disciple Judas Iscariot is said to have hung himself and death becomes anyone who is unfortunate enough to fall into the tree. The Judas tree grows in Southern Africa to about twenty feet high, has pale green foliage and purple flowers that resemble a butterfly which appear in the Spring in large clusters: they are succeeded by long flat pods, containing a row of seeds .
Judas Tree also is deciduous shrubs or small trees with heart-shaped leaves and clusters of bright pink pea-flowers opening before or with the leaves, followed by flattened, deep purple pods.
Cercis Siliquastrum or the Judas Tree is said to be the tree used in the suicide of the traitor Judas Iscariot.
However, the carob tree is native to Northern Africa is another species of tree that the traitor Judas Iscariot hung himself. Ceratonia siliqua, commonly known as the carob tree grows up to 50 feet tall and is widely cultivated for its edible pods, and as an ornamental tree in gardens. The ripe, dried pod is often ground to carob powder, which is used to replace cocoa powder.
Did you know?
Christian growth on the African continent is strong, by 2025 there will be 633 million Christians in Africa. Currently in Ghana, 62 percent of the population is of the Christian faith, 22 percent are Evangelical Christians.