Saint Jude

From Academic Kids

Missing image
St. Jude Thaddeus, by Georges de La Tour. c. 1615-1620.

Saint Jude is a Christian saint and one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. His other names are Jude Thaddaeus and Jude Lebbeus. He is also known as Saint Thaddeus (Greek Thaddaios), alternatively spelled "Thaddus" or "Thaddaeus" in different versions of the Bible. He should not be confused with Judas Iscariot, yet another apostle, who betrayed Jesus and later committed suicide.

Saint Jude was a brother of St. James the Less, and a relative of Jesus. Mark 6:3 states about Jesus: "Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?" (New International Version). In the Acts of Thomas, one of the New Testament apocrypha, written in Syria in the early 3rd century, he was identified with Jude Thomas, which is the full name of the apostle Thomas according to Syrian tradition.

Jude, as Saint Juda is credited in the Armenian Apostolic Church with bringing Christianity to Armenia.

Saint Juda's attribute is a club. He is also often shown in icons with a flame around his head. This represents his presence at Pentecost, when he received the Holy Spirit with the other apostles. Occasionally he is represented holding an axe or halberd, as he was brought to death by one of these weapons. In some instances he may be shown with a scroll or a book (his epistle) or holding a carpenter's rule.


Jude in the New Testament

Jude was the one who asked Jesus at the Last Supper why he would not manifest himself to the whole world after his resurrection. Jude is referred to by several names: Jude is so named twice in Luke(6:16) and also in Acts (1:13) among lists of the Apostles. This indicates that Thaddeus might be a family name. In Matthew he is "Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus" (Matthew 10:3), which led to speculations that he may be one of the seventy Jesus sent out after His Ascension rather than one of the Twelve. In the Catholic tradition, however, he is considered Saint Thaddeus and Saint Jude are considered synonymous. In Mark (3:18) he is "Thaddaeus ".

The multiplicity of names is not interpreted by mainstream Christian writers as a method of blurring Jude Thomas' identity, but attributed to embarassment:

"Even in the Gospels the evangelists were embarrassed to mention the name of Judas. Their prejudice is quite apparent. In the one passage in which St John spoke of Thaddeus, he hurried over the name, and was quick to add, "Judas, not the Iscariot..." Even more striking is the fact that both Matthew and Mark never mentioned the full name of this apostle, Jude Thaddeus, but merely called him by his surname, Thaddeus. One can correctly assume that the evangelists wanted to reestablish a good name for this apostle among his companions and especially among the people. By using only his surname, they could remove any stigma his name might have given him" —Otto Hophan, The Apostle ch. X [1] (

The Epistle of Jude bears his name: it is additionally self-identified as written by "Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James". It is directed to the Churches of the East, particularly the Jewish converts, to counter the heresies of the Simonians, Nicolaites and Gnostics.

Jude in traditions among the Church Fathers

More information was required by early Christians, and was forthcoming. Nicephorus Callistus made him the bridegroom at the wedding at Cana, an assertion quoted by Eusebius, according to whom Jude returned to Jerusalem in the year 62, and assisted at the election of his brother, Simeon, as Bishop of Jerusalem. Other traditions claim that he preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia and Libya. Legend claims that he visited Beirut and Edessa and was possibly martyred with Saint Simon in Persia. Sometime after his death, Saint Jude's body was brought to Rome and placed in a crypt in St. Peter's Basilica which is visited by many devotees.

The fully-developed legend

Legends have been constructed about Jude which give him an identity separate from Jude Thomas, the Apostle Thomas. Legend that does not give him a separate parentage is at pains to separate him from Jesus:

"Tradition indicates that when the righteous Joseph the Betrothed, on having returned from Egypt, began to divide the land belonging to him among his sons, he desired to allot a part also to Christ the Saviour, Who was born supernaturally and incorruptibly of the Most Pure Virgin Mary. The brethren opposed this, and only the eldest of them, James, accepted Jesus Christ in the joint ownership of his share and for this was called the Brother of the Lord. Later, Jude believed in Christ the Saviour as the awaited Messiah, turned to Him with his whole heart and was chosen by Him to be one of His closest twelve disciples. But the Apostle Jude, remembering his sin, considered himself unworthy to be called the brother of God and in his catholic epistle names himself only the brother of James." -Parish Life, June 1996 [2] (

The fully-developed legends, unsupported by canonic gospels nor by early apocrypha, have it that Jude was born into a Jewish family in Paneas, a town in the Galilee portion of ancient Palestine, the same region that Jesus grew up in. He probably spoke Greek and Aramaic, like many of his contemporaries in that area, and he was a farmer (as many of his family were) by trade.

According to the legend tradition, Jude was son of Cleophas and Mary Cleophas, a cousin of the Virgin Mary. Tradition has it that Jude's father, Cleophas, was murdered because of his forthright and outspoken devotion to the risen Christ. After Mary Cleophas's death, miracles were attributed to her intercession. Jude had several brothers, including James, one of the original Apostles. His own first name, Jude, means giver of joy, while Thaddeus, another name he was called, means generous and kind. He was later married, had at least one child, and there are references to his grandchildren living as late as 95 A.D.

Saint Juda in Armenia

Though Saint Gregory the Illuminator is credited as the "Apostle to the Armenians", when he baptised King Tiridates IV in 301, converting the Armenians, Saints Juda and Bartholomew first brought Christianity to Armenia,which was a client kingdom of Persia in the first century. Thus the Armenian Apostolic Church is called the Armenian "Apostolic" Church, as both saints are considered to be the patron saints of the Church and so are under the protection and patronage of both apostolic saints. According to the Armenian tradition, around 65 AD Saint Juda suffered martyrdom there together with the apostle Simon the Canaanite, with whom he is usually connected.

Their acts and martyrdom were recorded in an Acts of Simon and Jude that was among the collection of passions and legends traditionally associated with the legendary Abdias, bishop of Babylon, and said to have been translated into Latin by his disciple Tropaeus Africanus, according to the Golden Legend account of the saints [3] (, [4] ( Saints Simon and Jude are venerated together in the Roman Catholic Church on October 28.

Iconography of Saint Jude

Jude is traditionally depicted carrying the image of Jesus in his hand or close to his chest, betokening the legend of the Image of Edessa, recorded in apocryphal correspondence between Jesus and Abgarus which is reproduced in Eusebius' History. According to it, King Abgar of Edessa (a city located in what is now southeast Turkey) sent a letter to Jesus to cure him of leprosy and sent an artist to bring him a drawing of Jesus. Impressed with Abgar's great faith, Jesus pressed his face into a cloth and gave it to Jude to take to Abgar. Upon seeing Jesus' image, the King was cured and he converted to Christianity along with most of the people under his rule.

Missing image
World's tallest bronze oil lamp, with 1001 oil wick lights, in St.Jude's Shrine, Koothattukulam, Kerala, India


Jude Thaddeus 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 and his feast day is October 28 (Roman Church) and June 19 (Eastern Orthodox Church).

Many Christians, especially in the past, reckoned him as Judas Iscariot and avoided prayers on behalf of him. Therefore he was also called "Forgotten Saint". Devotion to Saint Jude began again in earnest in the 1800s, starting in Italy and Spain, spreading to South America, and finally to the U.S. (originally in the Chicago area) in the 1920s. Saint Jude is patron saint of Chicago Police Force. Novena prayers to Jude helped people, especially newly-arrived immigrants from Europe, deal with the pressures caused by the Great Depression, World War II, and the changing workplace and family life.

See also

External links

fr:Thadde (aptre) nl:Judas Taddes ru:Фаддей (апостол) sv:Aposteln Judas Taddeus


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