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|In the New Testament|
Quo vadis? is a Latin phrase meaning "Where are you going?" or "Whither goest thou?"
The modern usage of the phrase refers to a Christian tradition regarding Saint Peter. According to the apocryphal Acts of Peter (Vercelli Acts XXXV), Peter is fleeing from likely crucifixion in Rome at the hands of the government, and along the road outside the city he meets a risen Jesus. Peter asks Jesus "Quo vadis?" (pronounced [kʷoː wadiːs]), to which he replies, "Romam vado iterum crucifigi" ("I am going to Rome to be crucified again"). Peter thereby gains the courage to continue his ministry and returns to the city, to eventually be martyred by being crucified upside-down.
The phrase also occurs a few times in the Vulgate translation of the Bible, notably in John 13:36 when Peter asks Jesus the same question, to which he responds, "Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me."
The Church of Domine Quo Vadis in Rome is built where, according to legend, the meeting between Peter and Jesus took place.
Domine, quo vadis? (1602) by Annibale Carracci
The Polish writer Henryk Sienkiewicz authored the well-known novel Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero in 1895, which in turn has been made into motion pictures several times, most notably a 1951 version that was nominated for eight Academy Awards.
- The Acts of Peter, by M. R. James
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