Saints Jude Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot: Apostles and martyrs

Seemingly, the togetherness of Saints Simon the Zealot and Jude Thaddeus had been destined. Both apostles preached the words of God in Persia.

They, too, must have listened to the teachings of Jesus, side by side, so in the listing of apostles in the New Testament, their names always followed each other.

In Matthew 10:3 and Mark 3:18 Jude Thaddeus was listed as the 10th apostle and Simon the Zealot was 11th.  However, in Luke 6:15 and Acts 1:13, Simon the Patriot was 10th and Jude, called James, son of Alphaeus, is 11th.

Both were honored by the Eastern Church and Western Christianity and were martyred in Persia. Not even death separated them; their remains were both in Saint Peter’s Basilica under the main altar of Saint Joseph.


Saint Jude: Saint of impossible cases

Jude (Yehodhad), whose name means “God be praised,” is the son of Alphaeus and Clopas, the cousin of the Blessed Mother.

Saint James, the Less, another apostle of Jesus, is his brother. His original name was Judas, but it was changed to Jude by the early writers who translated the New Testament from Greek to English to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot. Matthew and Mark preferred to call him Thaddeus, which means courageous in Aramaic.

Jude preached in Syria, Libya, Judea, Samaria and also evangelized in Egypt and Mauritania.

The image of Jesus on a cloth carried by Jude on his hand was alleged to have been given by Jesus to him after the Savior has pressed his face on the cloth.

King Abagar of Edessa, desiring to be cured of his leprosy, sent an artist to draw Jesus for him with the hope that the portrait can make him well. Cured he was, and this was one of Saint Jude’s miracles to spread God’s word.

Jesus, likewise, inspired devotion to Saint Jude when He appeared in a vision to Saint Bridget of Sweden and said: “His surname, Thaddeus, means ‘amiable’ or ‘loving,’ He will show himself most willing to give help.” The web site also cited how Saint Bernard had visions from God to accept Jude as Saint of Impossible.

Jude Thaddeus wrote a letter to the universal church against “false teachers who claim to be believers and…cause divisions” among the people of God.

Bearer of Turin shroud

Malcolm Day in Treasury of Saints attributed, but with uncertainty, the discovery of the Shroud of Turin to Saint Jude, who took it from the empty tomb and brought it to Edessa, whose modern name is Urfa, in Turkey.

The founder of the church in Edessa, he was beaten to death while preaching to a pagan priest while other Christian literatures state he was crucified.

The shroud bearing the image of Christ called Mandylion was discovered in the sixth century and brought to Constantinople. After the crusaders ravaged the city in 1204, the Mandylion was lost and believed to have been smuggled to France, guarded and later enshrined in Turin cathedral.

Simon the Zealot

Simon was born in Cana, Galilee. Saint Luke refered to him as the Cananean Zealot. Simon belongs to a secret religious and political group that deplored Roman occupation in Judea.

In their desire for a free and independent Jewish state, Zealots refused to pay taxes. They also exerted violence against fellow Jews who collaborated with foreign rulers in the administration of government. Thus, Luke called Simon the Patriot.

Fr. Paul O’Donnell, MCCJ, in his book, The Lord’s Dreamteam, commented that Simon was honored to be called Zealot, for it “meant God’s special possession, an instrument of his vengeance.”

But after Simon heard Jesus’ preach in Galilee, his attitudes changed. He was won over to Jesus side by His “calmness, poise, inexplicable composure and assurance.”

Simon preached the Gospel in Egypt and later joined Jude Thaddeus in Persia, where he was crucified. Simon is the patron saint of couriers, tanners and sawyers.


Santiago is a former regional director of the Department of Education-National Capital Region. She is currently a faculty member of Mater Redemptoris Collegium in Calauan, Laguna, and of Mater Redemptoris College in San Jose City, Nueva Ecija.

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Turning Points 2018