Thursday, March 22, 2012

Who are the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ?


The Last Supper


“ Lent” is the time when most of us Catholics take time to recall and commemorate the sacrifices our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us.  This is our way of thanking Him for the ultimate love of God for men.

We also remember, during this time, the men who were with Him.  “The Apostles of Christ” are also most visible in the presentations of every parish and Catholic organization all over the world.

I became interested to know them further and took time to research. Who are these men? What kind of life did they lead before meeting Christ and decided to follow Him? Where did they go after Christ’s death and resurrection? Why was St. Peter chosen to be the first pope? What happened to Judas Iscariot? 

 The twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ



1. Simon Peter - Renamed by Jesus to Peter (meaning rock), his original name was Simon bar Jonah. He  was a fisherman from Bethsaida "of Galilee. Also known as Simon bar Jochanan (Aram.), Cephas (Aram.).
2.    Andrew - The brother of Simon/Peter, a Bethsaida fisherman, and a former disciple of John the Baptist.
3.    James - son of Zebedee: The brother of John.
4.    John -The brother of James. Jesus named both of them Bo-aner'ges, which means "sons of thunder”.
5.    Philip - From the Bethsaida of Galilee.
6.    Bartholomew - Son of Talemai and usually identified with the name Nathanael,
7.    Matthew - The tax collector. There are indications that Matthew was also known as Levi.
8.    Thomas - Judas Thomas Didymus - Aramaic T'oma' meaning twin, and Greek “Didymos” also meaning twin.
9.    James, son of Alphaeus - Generally identified with "James the Less", and also identified by Roman Catholics with "James the Just"
10. Thaddeus - in some manuscripts of Matthew, he was referred to as  "Lebbaeus". Thaddeus is traditionally identified with Jude;
11. Simon the Zealot – Also identified him with Simeon of Jerusalem.
12. Judas Iscariot: The disciple who later betrayed Jesus. The name Iscariot may refer to the Judaean towns of Kerioth or to thesicarii (Jewish nationalist insurrectionists), or to Issachar. Also referred to as "Judas, the son of Simon".






  Simon Peter

Simon Peter was an early Christian leader who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles and who is venerated as a saint. The son of John or of Jonah, he was from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee. His brother Andrew was also an apostle

Peter's life story relies on the four Canonical Gospels, The Book of Acts, New Testament Letters, Non-Canonical Gospels such as the Gospel According to the Hebrews and other Early Church accounts of his life and death. In the New Testament, he is among the first of the disciples called   during Jesus' ministry. It was during his first meeting with Jesus that Jesus named him Peter. Peter was to become the first Apostle ordained by Jesus in the early church.

Peter ran a fishing business in Bethsaida. He was named Simon, son of Jonah or John. The synoptic gospels all recount how Peter's mother-in-law was healed by Jesus at their home in Capernaum which, clearly depict Peter as married or a widower.

In the Synoptic Gospels, Peter (then Simon) was a fisherman along with his brother Andrew and the sons of Zebedee, James and John. The Gospel of John also depicts Peter fishing, even after the resurrection of Jesus, in the story of the Catch of 153 fish.
In Matthew and Mark, Jesus called Simon and his brother Andrew to be "fishers of men

In a dialogue between Jesus and his disciples, Jesus asks, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” The disciples give various answers. When he asks, "Who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answers, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." In turn, Jesus declares Peter to be "blessed" for having recognized Jesus' true identity and attributes this recognition to a divine revelation. Then Jesus addresses Simon by what seems to have been the nickname "Peter" (Cephas in Aramaic, Petros (rock) in Greek) and says, "On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it
Peter is always mentioned first in the lists of the Twelve Apostles given in the canonical gospels and 
in the Book of Acts. He is also frequently mentioned in the Gospels as forming with James the Elder and John a special group within the Twelve Apostles, present at incidents at which the others were not present, such as at the Transfiguration of Jesus. He often confesses his faith in Jesus as the Messiah.

Peter is often depicted in the Gospels as spokesman of all the Apostles. Catholics refer to him as chief of the Apostles, as do the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox. In Coptic Orthodox Church Liturgy, he is once referred to as “Prominent” or "head" among the Apostles. 

On the other hand, interpretation of Peter suggests that He was an unlikely symbol of stability. While 
 he was one of the first disciples called and served as the spokesman for the group, Peter is also the exemplar of "little faith”, will soon have Jesus say to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" and will eventually deny Jesus three times. In light of the Easter event, then, Peter became an exemplar of the forgiven sinner. A great variance of opinions exists as to the interpretation of this passage with respect to what authority and responsibility, if any, Jesus was giving to Peter.

The Acts of the Apostles portrays Peter as an extremely important figure within the early Christian community, with Peter delivering a significant open-air sermon during Pentecost. According to the same book, Peter took the lead in selecting a replacement for Judas Iscariot. He was twice arraigned, with John, before the Sanhedrin and directly defied them. He undertook a missionary journey to Lydda, Joppa and Caesarea becoming instrumental in the decision to evangelize the Gentiles.

Peter is venerated in multiple churches and is regarded as the first Pope by the Catholic Church. After working to establish the church of Antioch, presiding for seven years as the city's bishop, he preached to scattered communities of believers (Jews, Hebrew Christians and the gentiles), in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia Minor and Bithynia. He then went to Rome, where in the second year of Claudius, it is claimed, he overthrew Simon Magus and held the Sacerdotal Chair for 25 years. Peter wrote two Catholic epistles. The Gospel of Mark is also ascribed to him (as Mark was his disciple and interpreter). On the other hand, several books bearing his name—the Acts of Peter, Gospel of Peter, Preaching of Peter, Revelation of Peter, and Judgment of Peter—are rejected by the Catholic Church as Apocryphal. 
Peter is said to have been crucified under Emperor Nero, the cross being upside down at his own request since he saw himself unworthy to be crucified in the same way as Jesus Christ. Catholic tradition holds that Saint Peter's mortal bones and remains are contained in the underground Altar of the St. Peter's Basilica, a site where Pope Paul VI announced the excavation discovery of a First-century A.D. Roman cemetery in 1968. Since 1969, a life-size statue of Saint Peter is crowned every year in St. Peter's Basilica with a Papal Tiara, Ring of the Fisherman, and papal vestments every June 29th, commemorating the Holy Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

According to Catholic belief, Peter was the first Bishop of Rome and chief pastor of the whole Catholic Church—the Vicar of Christ upon Earth. Although Peter never bore the title of "Pope", or "Vicar of Christ", the Catholic Church believes him to be the first Pope. Therefore, they consider every pope to be Peter's successor and the rightful superior of all other bishops.

The Catholic Church's recognition of Peter as head of its church on Earth (with Christ being its heavenly head) is based on its interpretation of two passages from the Canonical Gospels of the New Testament; as well as Sacred Tradition. The first passage is John 21:15-17 which is: "Feed my lambs, feed my lambs, feed my sheep" (within the Greek it is to feed and rule as a Shepherd) which is seen by Catholics as Christ promising the spiritual supremacy to Peter. The Catholic Encyclopedia sees in this passage Jesus "charging Peter with the superintendence of all his sheep, without exception; and consequently of his whole flock, that is, of his own church”. The second passage is Matthew 16:17-20: “I say that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven".

In reference to Peter's occupation before becoming an Apostle, the popes wear the Fisherman's Ring, which bears an image of the saint casting his nets from a fishing boat. The keys used as a symbol of the pope's authority refer to the "keys of the kingdom of Heaven" promised to Peter. Peter is often depicted in both Western and Eastern Christian art holding a key or a set of keys.










Saint Andrew (Greek: Ἀνδρέας, Andreas; from the early 1st century—mid to late 1st century AD), called in the Orthodox tradition Prōtoklētos, or the First-called, is a Christian Apostle and the brother of Saint Peter. The name "Andrew" (Greek: manly, brave, from ἀνδρεία, Andreia, "manhood, valour"), like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews, Christians, and other Hellenized peoples of the region. No Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him. He is considered the founder and the first bishop of the Church of Byzantium and is consequently the patron saint of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter, son of John, or Jonah. He was born in Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. Both he and his brother Peter were fishermen by trade, hence the tradition that Jesus called them to be his disciples by saying that he will make them "fishers of men". At the beginning of Jesus' public life, they were said to have occupied the same house at Capernaum.

The Gospel of John states that Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist, whose testimony first led him and John the Evangelist to follow Jesus. Andrew at once recognized Jesus as the Messiah, and hastened to introduce him to his brother. On a subsequent occasion, prior to the final call to the Apostolate, they were called to a closer companionship, and then they left all things to follow Jesus.

In the gospels Andrew is referred to as being present on some important occasions as one of the disciples more closely attached to Jesus.

Eusebius quotes Origen as saying Andrew preached along the Black Sea as far as the Volga, Kiev and Novgorod. Hence he became a patron saint of Ukraine, Romania and Russia. According to tradition, he founded the See of Byzantium (Constantinople) in AD 38, installing Stachys as bishop. According to Hippolytus of Rome, he preached in Thrace, and his presence in Byzantium is also mentioned in the apocryphal Acts of Andrew, written in the 2nd century; Basil of Seleucia also knew of Apostle Andrew's mission in Thrace, as well as Scythia and Achaia. This diocese would later develop into the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Andrew is recognized as its patron saint.

Andrew is said to have been martyred by crucifixion at the city of Patras (Patræ) in Achaea, on the northern coast of the Peloponnese. Early texts, such as the Acts of Andrew known to Gregory of Tours, describe Andrew as bound, not nailed, to a Latin cross of the kind on which Jesus is said to have been crucified; yet a tradition developed that Andrew had been crucified on a cross of the form called Crux decussata (X-shaped cross, or "saltire"), now commonly known as a "Saint Andrew's Cross"

Relics of the Apostle Andrew are kept at the Basilica of St Andrew in Patras, Greece; the Duomo di Sant'Andrea, Amalfi, Italy; St Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland; and the Church of St Andrew and St Albert, Warsaw, Poland. There are also numerous smaller reliquaries throughout the world.

St Jerome wrote that the relics of St Andrew were taken from Patras to Constantinople by order of the Roman emperor Constantius II around 357 and deposited in the Church of the Holy Apostles. The head of Andrew was given by the Byzantine despot Thomas Palaeologus to Pope Pius II in 1461. It was enshrined in one of the four central piers of St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. In September 1964, Pope Paul VI, as a gesture of goodwill toward the Greek Orthodox Church, ordered that all of the relics of St Andrew that were in Vatican City be sent back to Patras. The relics, which consist of the small finger, part of the top of the cranium of Andrew, and small portions of the cross on which he was martyred, have since that time been kept in the Church of St Andrew at Patras in a special shrine and are revered in a special ceremony every November 30, his feast day.





St. James, son of Zebedee

(Aramaic Yaʕqov, Greek Ιάκωβος, died 44 AD) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was a son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of John the Apostle. He is also called James the Greater to distinguish him from James, son of Alphaeus, who is also known as James the Lesser.

James is described as one of the first disciples to join Jesus. The Synoptic Gospels state that James and John were with their father by the seashore when Jesus called them to follow him. James was one of only three apostles whom Jesus selected to bear witness to his Transfiguration. James and his brother wanted to call down fire on a Samaritan town, but were rebuked by Jesus. The Acts of the Apostles 12:1 records that Herod had James executed by sword. He is the only apostle whose martyrdom is recorded in the New Testament. He is, thus, traditionally believed to be the first of the 12 apostles martyred for his faith. It suggests that this may have been caused by James' fiery temper, for which he and his brother earned the nickname Boanerges or "Sons of Thunder’

Saint James is the Patron Saint of Spain and according to legend, his remains are held in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia (Spain). The traditional pilgrimage to the grave of the saint, known as the "Way of St. James", has been the most popular pilgrimage for Western European Catholics from the early Middle Ages onwards. 125,141 pilgrims registered in 2008 as having completed the final 100 km walk (200 km by bicycle) to Santiago to qualify for a Compostela. When 25 July falls on a Sunday, it is a ″Jubilee″ year, and a special east door is opened for entrance into the Santiago Cathedral.

The feast day of St James is celebrated on 25 July on the liturgical calendars of the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and certain Protestant churches. He is commemorated on 29 April in the Orthodox Christian liturgical calendar (for those churches which follow the traditional Julian Calendar, 30 April currently falls on 13 May of the modern Gregorian Calendar






St. John the Apostle (Aramaic Yoħanna) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome and brother of James, son of Zebedee, another of the Twelve Apostles. Christian tradition holds that he outlived the remaining apostles--all of whom suffered martyrdom--and ultimately died of natural causes "in great old age near Ephesus". The Church Fathers consider him the same person as John the Evangelist, John of Patmos, and the Beloved Disciple.

The Church Fathers generally identify him as the author of five books in the New Testament: the Gospel of John, three Epistles of John, and the Book of Revelation.

Zebedee and his sons fished in the Lake of Genesareth. James and John first were disciples of Saint John the Baptist. Jesus then called Saint Andrew, Saint Peter, and these two sons of Zebedee to follow Him. James and John did so and thus rank high among the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. John and James both held prominent positions among the Apostles. Jesus referred to the pair collectively as "Boanerges" (translated "sons of thunder")

Peter, James and John were the only witnesses of the raising of Daughter of Jairus John and his brother James wanted to call down fire on a Samaritan town, but Jesus rebuked them.

Peter, James, and John also witnessed the Transfiguration.

Jesus sent only John and Peter into the city to make the preparation for the final Passover meal (the Last Supper). At the meal itself, the "disciple whom Jesus loved" sat next to Jesus and leaned onto His chest. Tradition identifies this disciple as Saint John.

Peter, James, and John also witnessed the Agony in Gethsemane more closely than the other Apostles did. After the arrest of Jesus, Peter and the "other disciple" (according to Sacred Tradition, John) followed Him into the palace of the high-priest. John, alone among the Apostles, remained near Jesus at the foot of the cross on Calvary alongside myrrh bearers and numerous other women; following the instruction of Jesus from the Cross, John took Mary, the mother of Jesus, into his care as the last legacy of Jesus.

After Jesus’ Ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, John, together with Peter, took a prominent part in the founding and guidance of the church. He is with Peter at the healing of the lame man in the Temple. With Peter he is also thrown into prison. He is also with Peter visiting the newly converted in Samaria.

John survived his contemporary apostles including James by more than half a century after James became the first Apostle to die a martyr's death. It is traditionally believed that John lived to an extreme old age, dying naturally at Ephesus in about AD 100. John's traditional tomb is thought to be located at Selçuk, a small town in the vicinity of Ephesus.

John as the presumed author of the Gospel is often depicted with an eagle, which symbolizes the height he rose to in the first chapter of his gospel. In Orthodox icons, he is often depicted looking up into heaven and dictating his Gospel (or the Book of Revelation) to his disciple, traditionally named Prochorus.

He is venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion who commemorate him as "John, Apostle and Evangelist" on December 27.






Philip the Apostle (Greek: Φίλιππος, Philippos) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. Later Christian traditions describe Philip as the apostle who preached in Greece, Syria, and Phrygia.

In the Roman Catholic Church, the feast day of Philip, along with that of James the Just, was traditionally observed on 1 May, the anniversary of the dedication of the church dedicated to them in Rome (now called the Church of the Twelve Apostles). The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Philip's feast day on 14 November.

The Gospel of John describes Philip's calling as a disciple of Jesus. Philip is described as a disciple from the city of Bethsaida, and connects him to Andrew and Peter, who were from the same town. It further connects him to Nathanael (sometimes identified with Bartholomew) whom Philip first introduces to Jesus. The authors of the Synoptic Gospels also describe Philip as a disciple of Jesus. Of the four Gospels, Philip figures most prominently in the Gospel of John. His two most notable appearances in the narrative are as a link to the Greek community. Philip bore a Greek name (see Philip II of Macedon) and we may infer from the context that Philip spoke Greek.

Philip introduces members of this community to Jesus. During the Last Supper,  when Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father, he provides Jesus the opportunity to teach his disciples about the unity of the Father and the Son. Philip is always listed fifth among the apostles

Christian stories about St Philip's life and ministry can be found more often in the extra-canonical writings of later Christians than in the New Testament.

Stories about Saint Philip's life can be found in the anonymous Acts of Philip. This non-canonical book recounts the preaching and miracles of Philip. Following the resurrection of Jesus, Philip was sent with his sister Mariamne and Bartholomew to preach in Greece, Phrygia, and Syria.  This an account of Philip's martyrdom in the city of Hierapolis. According to this account, through a miraculous healing and his preaching Philip converted the wife of the proconsul of the city. This enraged the proconsul, and he had Philip, Bartholomew, and Mariamne all tortured. Philip and Bartholomew were then crucified upside-down, and Philip preached from his cross. As a result of Philip's preaching the crowd released Bartholomew from his cross, but Philip insisted that they not release him, and Philip died on the cross. Another story is that he was martyred by beheading in the city of Hierapolis. Philip is commonly associated with the symbol of the Latin cross. Other symbols assigned to Philip include: the cross with the two loaves, a basket filled with bread, a spear with the patriarchal cross, and a cross with a carpenter's square


On Wednesday, 27 July 2011 the Turkish news agency Anadolu reported that archeologists had unearthed the Tomb of Saint Philip during excavations in Hierapolis close to the Turkish city of Denizli. The Italian professor Francesco D'Andria stated that scientists had discovered the tomb, within a newly revealed church. He stated that the design of the Tomb, and writings on its walls, definitively prove it belonged to the martyred Apostle of Jesus.







St. Bartholomew was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, and is usually identified as Nathaniel(alternate spelling: Nathanael) (mentioned in the first chapter of John's Gospel). He was introduced to Christ through St. Philip, another of the twelve apostles as per (John 1:43-51), where the name Nathaniel first appears. He is also mentioned as “Nathaniel of Cana in Galilee” in (John 21:2). Interestingly, the account of the calling of Nathaniel of Cana occurs at the end of John 1, immediately followed by the account of Jesus' miracle at the Marriage at Cana in John 2. The name Nathaniel is the one used for him in St. John’s Gospel. The relationship between St. Philip and Nathaniel is noted as per John 1:43-51. Bartholomew (Greek: Βαρθολομαίος, transliterated "Bartholomaios") comes from the Aramaic bar-Tôlmay (תולמי‎‎‎‎‎-בר‎‎), meaning son of Tolmay (Ptolemy) or son of the furrows (perhaps a ploughman).

According to the Synaxarium of the Coptic Orthodox Church [The Church of Alexandria, the ancient Church of Egypt, one of the Oldest in Christianity], his martyrdom is commemorated on the 1st day of the Coptic Calendar (1st day of the month of "Thout"), which currently falls on September 11 [this corresponds to August 29 in the Gregorian Calendar, due to the current 13 day offset between the Julian and Gregorian Calendars].

Though Bartholomew was listed among the Twelve Apostles of Christ in the three Synoptic gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and also appears as one of the witnesses of the Ascension each time named in the company of Philip. Nor are there any early acta, the earliest being written by a pseude pigraphical writer who assumed the identity of Abdias of Babylon and is called "the pseudo-Abdias"

In the East, where Bartholomew's evangelical labours were expended, he was identified as Nathanael, in works by Abdisho bar Berika (often known as Ebedjesu in the West), the 14th century Nestorian metropolitan of Soba, and Elias, the bishop of Damascus. Nathanael is mentioned only in the Gospel according to John. In the Synoptic gospels, Philip and Bartholomew are always mentioned together, while Nathanael is never mentioned; in John's gospel, on the other hand, Philip and Nathanael are similarly mentioned together. Giuseppe Simone Assemani specifically remarks, "the Chaldeans confound Bartholomew with Nathaniel".

In the Gospel of John, Nathanael is introduced as a friend of Philip. He is described as initially being skeptical about the Messiah coming from Nazareth, saying: "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?", but nonetheless, follows Philip's invitation. Jesus immediately characterizes him as "Here is a man in whom there is no deception." Some scholars hold that Jesus' quote "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you", is based on a Jewish figure of speech referring to studying the Torah. Nathanael recognizes Jesus as "the Son of God" and "the King of Israel". Nathanael reappears at the end of John's gospel as one of the disciples to whom Jesus appeared at the Sea of Galilee after the Resurrection.

Two ancient testimonies exist about the mission of Saint Bartholomew in India. These are of Eusebius of Caesarea (early 4th century) and of Saint Jerome (late 4th century). Both these refer to this tradition while speaking of the reported visit of Pantaenus to India in the 2nd century

The studies of Fr A.C Perumalil SJ and Moraes hold that the Bombay region on the Konkan coast, a region which may have been known as the ancient city Kalyan, was the field of Saint Bartholomew's missionary activities.

Eusebius of Caesarea's Ecclesiastical History states that after the Ascension, Bartholomew went on a missionary tour to India, where he left behind a copy of the Gospel of Matthew. Other traditions record him as serving as a missionary in Ethiopia, Mesopotamia,Parthia, and Lycaonia.

Along with his fellow apostle Jude, Bartholomew is reputed to have brought Christianity to Caucasian Armenia in the 1st century. Thus both saints are considered the patron saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

The 6th-century writer in Constantinople, Theodorus Lector, averred that in about 507 Emperor Anastasius gave the body of Bartholomew to the city of Dura-Europos, which he had recently re-founded. The existence of relics at Lipari, a small island off the coast of Sicily, in the part of Italy controlled from Constantinople, was explained by Gregory of Tours by his body having miraculously washed up there: a large piece of his skin and many bones that were kept in the Cathedral of St Bartholomew the Apostle, Lipari, were translated to Beneventum in 803, and to Rome in 983 by Holy Roman Emperor Otto II, conserved at the basilica of San Bartolomeo all'Isola. In time, the church there inherited an old pagan medical centre. This association with medicine in course of time caused

Bartholomew's name to become associated with medicine and hospitals. Some of Bartholomew's skull was transferred to the Frankfurt Cathedral, while an arm is venerated in Canterbury Cathedral today.

Of the many miracles performed by Bartholomew before and after his death, two very popular ones are known by the townsfolk of the small island of Lipari.

The people of Lipari celebrated his feast day annually. The tradition of the people was to take the solid silver and gold statue from inside the Cathedral of St Bartholomew and carry it through the town. On one occasion, when taking the statue down the hill towards the town, it suddenly got very heavy and had to be set down. When the men carrying the statue regained their strength they lifted it a second time. After another few seconds, it got even heavier. They set it down and attempted once more to pick it up. They managed to lift it but had to put it down one last time. Within seconds, walls further downhill collapsed. If the statue had been able to be lifted, all the towns people would have been killed.

During World War II, the Fascist regime (German/Italian) looked for ways to finance their activities. The order was given to take the silver statue of St Bartholomew and melt it down. The statue was weighed, and it was found to be only a few grams. It was returned to its place in the Cathedral of Lipari. In reality, the statue is made from many kilograms of silver and it is considered a miracle that it was not melted down.

St Bartholomew is credited with many other miracles having to do with the weight of objects.

Christian tradition has three stories about Bartholomew's death: "One speaks of his being kidnapped, beaten unconscious, and cast into the sea to drown. Another account states that he was crucified upside down. Another says that he was skinned alive and beheaded in Albac or Albanopolis", near Bashkale, Turkey.

The account of Bartholomew being skinned alive is the most represented in works of art, and consequently Bartholomew is often shown with a large knife, holding his own skin (as in Michelangelo's Last Judgment), or both. Bartholomew is also the patron saint of tanners.

Bartholomew plays a part in Francis Bacon's Utopiantale New Atlantis, about a mythical isolated land Bensalem populated by a people dedicated to reason and natural philosophy. Some twenty years after the ascension of Christ the people of Bensalem found an ark floating off their shore. The ark contained a letter as well as the books of the Old and New Testaments. The letter was from Bartholomew the Apostle and declared that an angel told him to set the ark and its contents afloat. Thus the scientists of Bensalem received the revelation of the Word of God.








St. Matthew the Evangelist ("Gift of Yahweh", Standard Hebrew and Septuagint Greek: Ματθαος Matthaios) was among the early followers and apostles of Jesus and one of the four Evangelists.

Matthew is a former tax collector from Capernaum, who was called into the circle of the Twelve by Jesus. He is also named among the number of the Twelve, but without identification of his background. He is often equated with the figure of Levi, son of Alpheus, also a tax collector.  

 Matthew was a first century Galilean (presumably born in Galilee, which was not part of Judea or the Roman Iudaea province) and the son of Alpheus.  During the Roman occupation (which began in 63 BC with the conquest of Pompey), Matthew collected taxes from the Hebrew people for Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee. His tax office was located in Capernaum. Jews who became rich in such a fashion were despised and considered outcasts. However, as a tax collector he would have been literate in Aramaic and Greek.

After his call, Matthew invited Jesus home for a feast. On seeing this, the Scribes and the Pharisees criticized Jesus for eating with tax collectors and sinners. This prompted Jesus to answer, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners”

When Matthew is mentioned in the New Testament, he is sometimes found paired with Thomas. The New Testament records that as a disciple, he followed Jesus, and was one of the witnesses of the Resurrection and the Ascension. Afterwards, the disciples withdrew to an upper room, (traditionally the Cenacle) in Jerusalem. The disciples remained in and about Jerusalem and proclaimed that Jesus was the promised Messiah.

Matthew, for 15 years, preached the Gospel in Hebrew to the Jewish community in Judea. Later in his ministry, he would travel to Gentile nations following Jesus' Great Commission and spread the Gospel to the Ethiopians, Macedonians, Persians, and Parthians. The Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church each hold the tradition that Matthew died as a martyr.

Although the first of the Synoptic Gospels is technically anonymous,]traditionally the Gospel of Matthew was held to be written by the apostle. As a government official in Capernaum, in "Galilee of the Gentiles", a tax-collector would probably have been literate in both Greek and Aramaic. Greek was the language used in the market-place. Some early church fathers recorded that Matthew originally wrote in "Hebrew", but still regarded the Greek text as canonical.

Matthew is recognized as a saint in the Roman Catholic,Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran and Anglican Churches,. His feast day is celebrated on 21 September in the West and 16 November in the East. (For those churches which follow the traditional Julian Calendar, 16 November currently falls on 29 November of the modern Gregorian Calendar). He is also commemorated by the Orthodox, together with the other Apostles, on 30 June (13 July), the Synaxis of the Holy Apostles. His relics are said to be preserved in the Salerno Cathedral in Italy.

Like the other evangelists, Matthew is often depicted in Christian art with one of the four living creatures of Revelation 4:7. The one that accompanies him is in the form of a winged man. The three paintings of Matthew by Caravaggio in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome, where he is depicted as called by Christ from his profession as gatherer, are among the landmarks of Western art.





St. Thomas the Apostlealso called Doubting Thomas or Didymus (meaning "Twin") was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is best known for questioning Jesus' resurrection when first told of it, then proclaiming "My Lord and my God" on seeing Jesus’ wounds. He was perhaps the only Apostle who went outside the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel. He is also believed to have crossed the largest area, which includes the Parthian Empire and India

Thomas speaks in the Gospel of John. (John 11:16) when Lazarus has just died, the apostles don't want to go back to Judea, where Jesus' fellow Jews had attempted to stone him to death. Thomas says bravely: "Let us also go. that we may die with him"

In Thomas' best known appearance in the New Testament, he doubts the resurrection of Jesus and demands to touch Jesus' wounds before being convinced. Caravaggio's painting, “The Incredulity of Saint Thomas” depicts this scene. This story is the origin of the term Doubting Thomas. After seeing Jesus alive, Thomas exclaimed, "My Lord and my God!"

When the feast of Saint Thomas was inserted in the Roman calendar in the 9th century, it was assigned to 21 December, although the Martyrology of St Jerome had a mention of the Apostle on 3 July, the date to which the Roman celebration was transferred in 1969, so that it would no longer interfere with the major ferial days of Advent. 3 July was the day on which his relics were translated from Mylapore, a place along the coast of the Marina Beach, Chennai in India to the city of Edessa in Mesopotamia. Roman Catholics who follow a pre-1970 calendar and many Anglicans (including members of the Episcopal Church as well as members of the Church of England who worship according to the 1662 edition of the Book of Common Prayer still celebrate his feast day on 21 December.

The Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic churches celebrate his feast day on October 6 (for those churches which follow the traditional Julian Calendar, October 6 currently falls on October 19 of the modern Gregorian Calendar). In addition the next Sunday of the Easter (Pascha) is celebrated as Sunday of Thomas, in commemoration of Thomas' question to Jesus which led him to proclaim, according to Orthodox teaching, two natures of Jesus, both human and divine. Thomas is also commemorated in common with all of the other apostles on June 30 (July 13), in a feast called the Synaxis of the Holy Apostles

According to The Passing of Mary, a text attributed to Joseph of Arimathaea. Thomas was the only witness of the Assumption of Mary into heaven. The other apostles were miraculously transported to Jerusalem to witness her death. Thomas was left in India, but after her first burial he was transported to her tomb, where he witnessed her bodily assumption into heaven, from which she dropped her girdle. In an inversion of the story of Thomas' doubts, the other apostles are skeptical of Thomas' story until they see the empty tomb and the girdle. Thomas' receipt of the girdle is commonly depicted in medieval and pre-Tridentine Renaissance art,

"Judas, who is also called Thomas" has a role in the legend of king Abgar ofEdessa (Urfa), for having sent Thaddaeus to preach in Edessa after the Ascension (Eusebius, Historia ecclesiae 1.13; III.1; Ephrem the Syrian also recounts this legend.) In the 4th century the martyrium erected over his burial place brought pilgrims to Edessa. In the 380s, Egeria described her visit in a letter she sent to her community of nuns at home (Itineraria Egeriae):

According to legend, St. Thomas attained martyrdom at St. Thomas Mount in Chennai and is buried on the site of San Thome Cathedral.

In 232 the relics of the Apostle Thomas are said to have been returned by an Indian king and brought back from India to the city of Edessa, Mesopotamia, on which occasion his Syriac Acts were written. The Indian king is named as "Mazdai" in Syriac sources, "Misdeos" and "Misdeus" in Greek and Latin sources respectively, which has been connected to the "Bazdeo" on the Kushan coinage of Vasudeva I, After a short stay in the Greek island of Chios, on September 6, 1258, the relics were transported to the West, and now rest in Ortona, Italy.



Saint James, son of Alphaeus(Ἰάκωβος, Iakōbos in Greek) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. He is often identified with James the Less and commonly known by that name in church tradition.

James, the son of Alphaeus, is rarely mentioned in the New Testament, but he is sometimes identified with James the Just, an important leader in the New Testament church. He is clearly distinguished from James, son of Zebedee, another one of the Twelve Apostles.

James, son of Alphaeus, appears only four times in the New Testament, each time in a list of the twelve apostles.

James, son of Alphaeus is often identified with James the Less, who is only mentioned three times in the Bible, each time in connection with his mother. Mark 15:40 refers to "Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses", while Mark 16:1 and Matthew 27:56 refer to "Mary the mother of James". James, son of Alphaeus may also be identified as James the Just.

Since there was already another James (James, son of Zebedee) among the twelve apostles, equating James son of Alphaeus with James the Less made sense. (James son of Zebedee was called "James the Greater")

A tradition holds that Saint James, though strongly clinging to Jewish law, was sentenced to death for having violated the Torah. He was arrested along with an unspecified number of Christians and was subsequently beheaded by Herod in persecution of the church. In Christian art he is depicted holding a fuller's club because he was martyred when beaten to death with a fuller's club at Ostrakine in Lower Egypt, where he was preaching the Gospel






St. Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is generally identified with Thaddeus, and is also variously called Jude of James, Jude Thaddaeus, Judas Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus. He is sometimes identified with Jude, "brother of Jesus", but is clearly distinguished from Judas Iscariot, another disciple, the betrayer of Jesus.

The Armenian Apostolic Church honors Thaddeus along with Saint Bartholomew as its patron saints. In the Roman Catholic Church he is the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes.

Saint Jude'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. Another common attribute is Jude holding an image of Jesus Christ, in the image of Edessa. In some instances he may be shown with a scroll or a book (the Epistle of Jude) or holding a carpenter's rule.

Jude is clearly distinguished from Judas Iscariot, another disciple and later the betrayer of Jesus. Both "Jude" and "Judas" are translations of the name Ιούδας in the Greek original New Testament, which in turn is a Greek variant of Judah, a name which was common among Jews at the time. In most bibles in languages other than English and French, Jude and Judas are referred to by the same name.

"Jude of James" is only mentioned twice in the New Testament: in the lists of apostles in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13.

The name by which Luke calls the Apostle, "Jude of James" is ambiguous as to the relationship of Jude to this James. Though such a construction sometimes connote a relationship of father and son, it has been traditionally interpreted as "Jude, brother of James or (for instance, the New International Version translation) usually identify him as "Jude son of James".

Tradition holds that Saint Jude preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Syria, Mesapotamia and Libya. He is also said to have visited Beirut and Edessa, though the emissary of latter mission is also identified as Thaddeus of Edessa, one of the Seventy. The 14th-century writer Nicephorus Callistus makes Jude the bridegroom at the wedding at Cana.

The legend reports that St. Jude was born into a Jewish family in Paneas, a town in Galilee 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 wife Mary, a sister of the Virgin Mary. Tradition has it that Jude's father, Clopas, was murdered because of his forthright and outspoken devotion to the risen Christ. After Mary's death, miracles were attributed to her intercession.

Although Saint Gregory the Illuminator is credited as the "Apostle to the Armenians", when he baptized King Tiridates III of Armenia in 301, converting the Armenians, the Apostles Jude and Bartholomew are traditionally believed to have been the first to bring Christianity to Armenia, and are therefore venerated as the patron saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Linked to this tradition is the Saint Thaddeus Monastery (now in northern Iran) and Saint Bartholomew Monastery (now in southeastern Turkey) which were both constructed in what was then Armenia.

According to the Armenian tradition, Saint Jude suffered martyrdom about 65 AD in Beirut, in the Roman province of Syria, together with the apostle Simon the Zealot, 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.

Sometime after his death, Saint Jude's body was brought from Beirut to Rome and placed in a crypt in St. Peter's Basilica which is visited by many devotees. According to popular tradition, the remains of St. Jude were preserved in an Armenian monastery on an island in the northern part ofIssyk-Kul Lake in Kyrgyzstan at least until the mid-15th century. Later legends either deny that the remains are preserved there or claim that they were moved to a yet more desolate stronghold in the Pamir Mountains. Recent discovery of the ruins of what could be that monastery may put an end to the dispute.

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 Abgar. King Abgar of Edessa (now Şanlıurfa in southeast Turkey) sent a letter to Jesus seeking a cure for an illness afflicting him. With the letter he sent his envoy Hannan, the keeper of the archives, offering his own home city to Jesus as a safe dwelling place. The envoy painted a likeness of Jesus with choice paints (or alternatively, impressed with Abgar's faith, Jesus pressed his face into a cloth and gave it to Hannan) to take to Abgar with his answer. Upon seeing Jesus' image, the king placed it with great honor in one of his palatial houses. After Christ's execution, Thomas the Apostle sent Jude to King Abgar and the king was cured. Astonished, he converted to Christianity, along with many of the people under his rule. Additionally, St. Jude is often depicted with a flame above his head, representing his presence at Pentecost, when he was said to have received the Holy Spirit with the other apostles.

Saint Jude is the patron saint of the Chicago Police Department and of Clube de Regatas do Flamengo (a soccer team in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). His other patronages include desperate situations and hospitals. One of his namesakes is St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, which has helped many children with terminal illnesses and their families since its founding in 1962. His feast day is October 28 (Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion and Lutheran Church) and June 19 (Eastern Orthodox Church).







St. Simon Zelotes – 

Apostles called him Simon the Zealot, and Simon Kananaios or Simon Cananeus ("Simon" signifying שמעון "hearkening; listening", Standard Hebrew Šimʿon, Tiberian Hebrew Šimʿôn), was one of the most obscure among the apostles of Jesus. Little is recorded of him aside from his name. A few pseudepigraphical writings were connected to him, and Jerome does not include him in De viris illustribus.

The name of Simon occurs in all of the synoptic gospels and Acts that give a list of apostles, without further details: Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas ["the son" is interpolated] of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

To distinguish him from Simon Peter, he is called Kananaios, or Kananites, the "Zealot". Both titles derive from the Hebrew word qana, meaning The Zealous, though Jerome and others mistook the word to signify the apostle was from the town of Cana, in which case his epithet would have been "Kanaios" or even from the region of Canaan. The translation of the word "the Cananite" or "the Canaanite" is traditional and without contemporary extra-canonic parallel.

Another tradition holds that this is the Simeon of Jerusalem who became the second bishop of Jerusalem, although he was born in Galilee.

St. Isidore of Seville drew together the accumulated anecdotes of St. Simon in De Vita et Morte; the fully developed aura of legend is presented in the Legenda Aurea.

In later tradition, Simon is often associated with St. Judeas an evangelizing team; they share their feast day on 28 October. The most widespread tradition is that after evangelizing in Egypt, Simon joined Jude in Persia and Armenia or Beirut, Lebanon, where both were martyred in 65 AD. This version is the one found in the Golden Legend. He may have suffered crucifixion as the Bishop of Jerusalem.

One tradition states that he traveled in the Middle East and Africa. Christian Ethiopians claim that he was crucified in Samaria, while Justus Lipsius writes that he was sawn in half at Suanir, Persia. However, Moses of Chorene writes that he was martyred at Weriosphora in Caucasian Iberia. Tradition also claims he died peacefully at Edessa. Another tradition says he visited Britain -- possibly Glastonbury -- and was martyred in Caistor, modern-day Lincolnshire. Another, doubtless inspired by his title "the Zealot", states that he was involved in a Jewish revolt against the Romans, which was brutally suppressed.

In art, Simon has the identifying attribute of a saw because according to legend, he was put to death by a saw.

St. Simon, like the other Apostles, is regarded as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Eastern Catholic Churches, the Anglican Church and the Lutheran Church.






Judas Iscariot (Hebrew: Yehuda), according to the New Testament, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is best known for his betrayal of Jesus to the hands of the chief priests for 30 pieces of silver. He was the first of the apostles to die.

In the Greek New Testament, Judas is called. "Judas" (spelled "Ioudas" in ancient Greek and "Iudas" in Latin, pronounced yudas in both) is the Greek form of the common name Judah, Hebrew for "God is praised"). The Greek spelling underlies other names in the New Testament that are traditionally rendered differently in English: Judah and Jude.

The significance of "Iscariot" is uncertain. There are several major theories on etymology:

One popular explanation derives Iscariot from a Hebrew meaning "man of Kerioth". The Gospel of John refers to Judas as "son of Simon Iscariot" (although the biblical text only refers to him as "the son of Simon". Some speculate that Kerioth refers to a region in Judea, but it is also the name of two known Judean towns.

A second theory is that "Iscariot" identifies Judas as a member of the sicarii. These were a cadre of assassins among Jewish rebels intent on driving the Romans out of Judea. However, some historians maintain the sicarii arose in the 40s or 50s of the 1st century, in which case Judas could not have been a member.

Judas is mentioned in the synoptic gospels, the Gospel of John and at the beginning of Acts of the Apostles.

Mark states that the chief priests were looking for a sly way to arrest Jesus. They decided not to do so during the feast since they were afraid that people would riot; instead, they chose the night before the feast to arrest him. In the Gospel of Luke, Satan enters Judas at this time.

According to the account in the Gospel of John, Judas carried the disciples' money bag. He betrayed Jesus for a bribe of "thirty pieces of silver" by identifying him with a kiss — "the kiss of Judas" — to arresting soldiers of the High Priest Caiaphas, who then turned Jesus over to Pontius Pilate's soldiers.

There are a few descriptions of the death of Judas, two of which are included in the modern Biblical canon:

Matthew 27:3-10 says that Judas returned the money to the priests and committed suicide by hanging himself. They used it to buy the potter's field. The Gospel account presents this as a fulfillment of prophecy

The Acts of the Apostles says that Judas used the money to buy a field, but fell headfirst, and burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. This field is called Akeldama or Field of Blood.








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