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A member of the early Christian community with his wife, Sapphira. In obedience to the ideal that the community owned everything in common, Ananias sold his property but connived with his wife to turn over to the Apostles only part of the proceeds. Peter rebuked him for his deception: "It is not to men you have lied but to God." Ananias dropped dead. His wife arrived later and, not knowing her husband's fate, repeated the lie. She, too, died on the spot. This incident originated the familiar use of the name Ananias to represent a liar (Acts 5:1-10).
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.