Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles: Wednesday the 28th of October

Little is known of these two Apostles, whose names are always linked in the Gospel accounts, St. Simon was surnamed the Zealot for his rigid adherence to the Jewish law and to the Canaanite law. He was one of the original followers of Christ. Western tradition is that he preached in Egypt and then went to Persia with St. Jude, where both suffered martyrdom. Eastern tradition says Simon died peacefully at Edessa.

St. Jude, known as Thaddaeus, was a brother of St. James the Less, and a relative of Our Saviour. St. Jude was one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus.

Ancient writers tell us that he preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Lybia. According to Eusebius, he returned to Jerusalem in the year 62, and assisted at the election of his brother, St. Simeon, as Bishop of Jerusalem.

He is an author of an epistle (letter) to the Churches of the East, particularly the Jewish converts, directed against the heresies of the Simonians, Nicolaites, and Gnostics. This Apostle is said to have suffered martyrdom along with St. Simon in Armenia, which was then subject to Persia.

St Jude is invoked in desperate situations because his New Testament letter stresses that the faithful should persevere in the environment of harsh, difficult circumstances, just as their forefathers had done before them. Therefore, he is the patron saint of desperate cases. (The epithet is also commonly rendered as “patron saint of lost causes”.) However, there is another reckoning to this epithet. Many Christians have unfortunately reckoned him as Judas Iscariot and thus avoided veneration. Therefore he was also called the “Forgotten Saint”. Because veneration was avoided, only people in the most desperate circumstances would call upon him, and Jude, desiring to help, was willing to pray for even the most desperate or lost case. Therefore, goes the logic, Jude became the patron saint of lost causes.

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