Simon the Zealot and Jude Thaddeus, Apostles
Simon the Zealot and Jude Thaddeus,
Apostles and Martyrs
Feast Day: October 28
Symbol: Saint Simon: a middle-aged man with a saw and a book. An oar or fish.
Saint Jude: always portrayed with a club. occasionally may be shown holding an axe or halberd ; holding a book (which may have "Judas" written on it); with a scroll, his epistle,or holding a carpenter's rule
Saint Simon and Saint Jude were apostles, which means they were followers of Christ. After Christ's Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven, the apostles travelled all over the world, bringing the word of Christ to the people. This is what Christ asked them to do, and he gave them instructions on how they were to travel and what they were to teach.
Saint Simon was called 'the Zealot' to keep his name different from Saint Peter (whose name was really Simon, Jesus called him 'Peter' which means 'rock') and from Saint Simeon, the brother of Saint James the Less. The name 'Zealot' means someone who is very energetic and dedicated to a cause. Saint Simon loved Jesus and His teachings and was very determined to spread the Good News of Christ's teachings. He travelled to Persia and was martyred there.
Saint Jude was the brother of Saint James the Less and Saint Simeon. There were several brothers and cousins among the Apostles - after all, if you had found the Messiah, who would you tell first, your own family or a stranger on the street? Andrew and Simon Peter were brothers, Saint James the Greater and Saint John the Evangelist were brothers, and Saint Jude, Saint James the Less (called that because he was shorter, not less important) and Saint Simeon were brothers.
These two apostles probably did not travel together. Saint Jude preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Syria, and Mesopotamia. When he was quite old, in 62 AD, he returned to Jerusalem to help with the selection of a bishop for Jerusalem. It is interesting to realise that in just 62 years, or maybe even less, the Church that Jesus Christ began by giving his life, and that the Apostles build and spread with their lives, had grown so large that it needed bishops to help the priests and deacons look after and teach the people.
When Saint Simeon, Saint Jude's brother was elected Bishop of Jerusalem, Saint Jude went back to travelling and teaching. He was martyred in Armenia. a country which did not completely convert to Christianity for another 250 years.
Saint Simon and Saint Jude were two of Jesus' original apostles. Very little is known of either, partially because they are not mentioned often in the Gospels, and partially because they travelled far from Jerusalem to teach and preach and were finally martyred in these unhospitable lands.
Simon was (see Matthew 10:4 and Mark 3:18) born in Cana, the site of Jesus' first public miracle. Some tradition accounts say that he was the bridegroom recipient of the miracle. The miracle at Cana of turning water into wine, is significant for two reasons. First, it was Jesus' first public miracle, done out of compassion for the newly weds, but also, secondly done in obedience to the request of His blessed mother. It may have been this miracle that prompted Simon to follow Jesus.
The Gospel of Luke tells us that Simon was a 'Zealot' (Luke 6:15 and Acts 1:13), which either means that he was a member of a party of Jewish patriots of the time, or refers to the fervor with which he pursued Jewish law before his calling by Jesus. Modern scholars say the Simon was more likely to have been a Galilean and that "the Cananaean" and "the Zealot" both mean "the zealous."
Saint Jude seems to have had several names or nicknames. As Jude, he is mentioned in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13 and as Thaddeus in Matthew and Mark and as Lebbaeus in John 14:22; Matt. 10:3. The New Testament tell us that the Saint was a relative (adelphos) of Jesus (see Matthew 13:55 and Mar 6:3), and also the brother of James (Epistle of Jude).
The Epistle of Jude, the shortest book in the New Testament, may have been written by the Apostle Jude, (though verse 17 seems to imply that the apostles of Jesus have already died).
This Epistle is a passionate appeal to preserve the purity of the Christian faith and the good reputation of Christian people. The writer tells the readers that he planned to write a different letter, but hearing of the misleading views put out by some false teachers in the Christian community, he is urgently writing to warn the church not to heed them.
Western tradition, based on the apocryphal (not reliably historically accurate) 'Passion of Simon and Jude', has it that after preaching in Egypt, Simon joined Jude, and they went on missions for time in Persia. Later legends describe the martyrdom of both Simon and Jude in Persia, though the Eastern tradition say that Simon died peacefully at Edessa.
On the various New Testament lists of the Twelve Apostles (Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13), the tenth and eleventh places are occupied by Simon the Zealot and by Judas of James, also called Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus. The latter are nicknames on his size. Judas (often called Jude in English) is variously named, but this could be expected given the co-incidence of names and many sibling pairs among the apostles. Before the Crucifixion, there would have been a need to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot for convenience and clarity, and after the Crucifixion there would be an additional reasons for the distinction.
In His instructions to His Apostles, Christ tells them to 'go out to all the world.' They are to carry nothing with them, but the clothes on their backs, they are to accept the charity and hospitality of those they meet. They are to 'shake the dust from their sandals' if a town is not welcoming, and they are to travel in pairs, so that one may witness to what the other had taught. Some ancient Christian writers say that Simon and Jude went together as missionaries to Persia, and were martyred there. If this is true, it explains, to some extent, our lack of historical information on them and also why they are usually put together.
After the Last Supper it was Jude who asked Our Lord why he chose to reveal Himself only to the disciples. He received the reply: "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:22f)
The ninth name on the lists of Apostles is that of James (the son) of Alphaeus. Although most modern translations render "Judas of James" as "Judas the son of James," there has been a tendency to understand it as "Judas the brother of James" and to assume that these two apostles were brothers. This assumption in turn leads to an identification of the two with the "brothers of the Lord" of the same name.
The New Testament Epistle of Jude was written by "Judas the brother of James," which could refer to either Jude. In any case, we commemorate on this day (1) Simon the Zealot, one of the original Twelve; (2) Judas of James (also called Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus), also one of the original Twelve; and (3) Jude (or Judas) the brother of James and author of the Epistle, without settling the question of whether (2) and (3) are the same person.
The Epistle of Jude is a short letter, addressed to the Church, and warns against corrupt influences that have crept in. It includes a memorable exhortation to "contend for the faith once delivered to the saints," and an even more memorable closing:
"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding great joy, to the only wise God, or Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."
Jude is often, in popular usage, referred to as the patron of desperate causes, the "saint of last resort," the one you ask for help when all else fails. There may be several reasons for this. First, since his name is remiscent of Judas Iscariot, there is a tendency for someone asking a Christian brother now with the Lord for intercessory prayers to try one of the other apostles first. Hence, Jude has come to be called "the saint of last resort," the one whom you ask only when desperate.
Another possible reason is that that Jude travelled long distances and was often far removed from his brother Apostles. In the early days of the Church, when most of the members will still alive, it was common to join in prayer. In fact to ask 'for prayers' is to ask for the other to join you in prayer. Since Jude was often absent, he would not have been asked 'for prayers' often, and hence was approached as a last resort.
Of course, it is also possible that Jude had a reputation for managing difficult or seemingly impossible feats, either of strength, procurement, conversion or spirituality. As such a 'wonder-worker' he would be the logical choice to approach, even after death, with a seemingly insoluble problem.
Prayer to Saint Jude
Most holy apostle, Saint Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes you universally, as the patron of hopeless cases, of things almost despaired of.
Pray for me, I am so helpless and alone. Make use I implore you, of that particular privilege given to you, to bring visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired of.
Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly (here make your request) and that I may praise God with you and all the elect forever.
I promise, O blessed Saint Jude, to be mindful of this great favor, to always honor you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you. Amen.
O Almighty God, who hast built thy Church upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the head corner-stone; Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable unto thee; through the same Jesus Christ Our Lord.
O God, we thank thee for the glorious company of the apostles, and especially on this day for Simon and Jude; and we pray thee that, as they were faithful and zealous in their mission, so we may with ardent devotion make known the love and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
O Almighty God, who have built your Church upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the head corner-stone; Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, we thank you for the glorious company of the apostles, and especially on this day for Simon and Jude; and we pray that, as they were faithful and zealous in their mission, so we may with ardent devotion make known the love and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Further interesting information can be obtained from the Calendar of Christian Historical Biographies
The image at the head of this article is from Saint Jude the Apostle Church