Jude the Apostle

Saint Jude the Apostle (Jude-Thaddaeus, Jude of James, Jude the Brother of James the lesser (shorter or younger) and Jude the Brother of Matthew the tax collector):

Icon of The Apostle Jude (Thaddaeus) shown holding a copy of the Letter of Jude

Saint Jude was one of the twelve apostles chosen and invested (ordained, see Mark 3:14) by Jesus (but he was NOT Judas Iscariot !!). The Apostle Jude is the author of the canonical Letter of Jude (written sometime between A.D. 68 and A.D. 70). Note: that Thaddaeus was an Aramaic nick name for Jude.

Oral tradition (legend) reports that St. Jude was born into a Jewish family in the town of Paneas, in Galilee. Paneas was later rebuilt by the Romans and renamed Caesarea Philippi. In all probability he spoke both Greek and Aramaic, like almost all of his contemporaries in that area, and was a farmer by trade. According to the legend, St. Jude was a son of Clopas and his mother Mary, was a cousin of the Virgin Mary. Tradition also has it that Jude’s father, Clopas, was martyred because of his forthright and outspoken devotion to the risen Christ. Jude’s side of the family are describes as having been very zealous for keeping the Law of Moses, and in supporting Jesus Christ as being the promised messiah (this should not be understood as a reference to the anti-Roman rule Jewish sect referred to as the Zealots).

It was Jude who, after Jesus completed the Last Supper and announced his manifestation to his disciples, asks, Jesus “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?”

Oral tradition also reports that after the resurrection of Christ, Saint Jude initially preached the gospel in Judea, Samaria (as far north as modern-day Beirut) and Idumaea (the land of Edom, the southeastern desert region between Israel and the Sinai Peninsula, i.e. Saint Jude preached in the greater Palestine area). After the persecution of the Christians in Jerusalem by Herod Agrippa, around A.D. 44 Jude’s travels widened to include Syria (including the city of Edessa, where he was known as “Thaddaeus of Edessa, one of the seventy disciples of Christ”), Mesopotamia, and Libya.

Jude is understood to have written of his Epistle of Jude sometime between A.D. 68 and A.D. 70

Saint Jude was reported to have suffered martyrdom about A.D. 70 in Beirut, in the Roman province of Syria, together with the apostle Simon the Zealot, with whom he is usually connected. The axe that he is often shown holding in illustrations of him symbolizes the way in which he was killed. Their acts and martyrdom were recorded in the non-canonical Acts of Simon and Jude that was among the collection of passions and legends associated with Abdias, who was one of the seventy disciples of Christ (Luke 10:1-20) and was consecrated as the 1st Bishop of Babylon (Mesopotamia) by Saint Simon and Jude.

According to Eusebius, he returned to Jerusalem in A.D. 62, and assisted at the election of his brother, St. Simeon, as Bishop of Jerusalem.

In the Roman Catholic Church Saint Jude is the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes.