Faith and inspiration: Encyclopedia of saints for today

Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles (First Century). Feast Day: 28Oct.

According to the Jerome Martyrology, these two apostles are honored on the same feast day. Neither appears after Pentecost, so there is nothing but tradition and legend on which to base any account of their later lives, and these vary. We do not have many biographical details for these two apostles; however, two themes do emerge: the missionary apostolate and the promise by Jesus of the indwelling of the Trinity in the souls of the just.

Jude, known also as Jude Thaddeus, is the reputed author of the Epistle of St. Jude in which he warns the Christian converts against false teaching and immorality. According to custom, he is considered the brother of St. James the Less and had the same name as Judas Iscariot. Evidently because of the disgrace of that name, it was shortened to “Jude” in English. St. Jude, the “patron of impossible cases,” holds great power of his intercession that has been acknowledged by countless persons who are devoted to him.

In the Gospel, John calls him “Judas (not Iscariot)” (14:22) in his account of Jesus’ discourse after the Last Supper. Jude asks Jesus, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” to which Jesus replies, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”

Simon is mentioned on all four lists of the apostles and was one of the first disciples of Jesus. He is also referred to as “Simon the less,” to distinguish him from Simon Peter. On two of the lists he is called “the Zealot” because of his hard adherence to Jewish law. The Zealots were a Jewish sect that represented an extreme of Jewish nationalism. For them, the messianic promise of the Old Testament meant that the Jews were to be a free and independent nation. God alone was their king, and any payment of taxes to the Romans—the very domination of the Romans—was a blasphemy against God.

In the East, Simon is said to have died a peaceful death at Edessa; in the West he is supposed to have preached in Egypt, then gone with Jude, who had been working in Mesopotamia, to Persia, where they were both martyred together. Their relics are claimed by several places: Rome, Toulouse, and Reims. Simon’s emblem contains a fish, and Jude’s a boat, and artistic representations often show both with a fish, this reflecting the assumption that they were fishermen in Galilee when Jesus called them to follow him.

The significance of Saints Simon and Jude can be gleaned from the First Reading for the Mass: “You are strangers and aliens no longer. No, you are fellow citizens of the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).

Saints Simon and Jude, pray for us!


Bunson, Matthew and Margaret Bunson. “Encyclopedia of Saints-Second Edition.” Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, 2014.

Burns, Paul. “Butler’s Saint for the Day.” Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2007.

Foley, Leonard, O.F.M., and Pat McCloskey, O.F.M. “Saint of the Day-Updated and Expanded.” Cincinnati: Franciscan Media, 2013.

Lodi, Enzo. “Saints of the Roman Calendar-Updated and Revised Edition.” New York: Alba House, 2012.

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