Thursday, December 3, 2020
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Fun Facts About the Saints of the Hour, Jude and Simon

On their shared feast day, we recall the life and times of these evangelizing partners.

Saints Simon and Jude have more in common than the shared feast day of October 28. Both were not only among the 12 Apostles of Jesus, they were actually related to Him.

Simon was the son St. Joseph’s brother Cleophas, while his mother was the sister of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This made him the first cousin of Jesus. Meanwhile, Jude’s mother and Jesus’ mother were said to be cousins, though if we were to believe Matthew 13:55, then Jude is the brother of Jesus! (Read: A Feast Day Prayer to Saints Cosmas and Damian)

Both saints were also martyred around 65 AD, and the objects attributed to them are the ones that were used in their untimely deaths: an axe for St. Jude, a saw for St. Simon. Fittingly, both their remains were laid to rest in the same tomb in St. Peter’s Basilica.

But aside from these shared stories, Saints Jude and Simon forged their own paths, too. Which is why, on their common feast day, My Pope recalls their life and times in five fun facts each.

5 Facts About St. Jude the Apostle

Photo from

  1. He goes by other names. Jude is also known as Jude Thaddeus, Jude of James, and Lebbaeus. He is not, as some people tend to mistake him for, Judas Iscariot, the Apostle who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
  2. He has one spoken line in the Bible. And he said it during the Last Supper (John 14:22): “Lord, why is it that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” To which Jesus answered, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.”
  3. He has a number of attributes. According to, the flame on his head refers to his presence at Pentecost, where he and his fellow Apostles accepted the Holy Spirit. He is also associated with a carpenter’s ruler, and a scroll or book, alluding to the Epistle of Jude. Meanwhile, A portrait of St. Jude holding an image of Christ recalls the Image of Edessa—a piece of fabric that had the image of Jesus used to miraculously heal King Agbar of Edessa. (Read: 5 Saints to Call on for Health-Related Problems)
  4. He’s the patron saint of the impossible. The traditional reason behind his reputation stems from his near-namesake, says “When one hears the name Judas or even Jude, one immediately thinks of Judas Iscariot. Therefore, a person had to be desperate to invoke his name.”
  5. He has many devotees. Among those who swear by his intercession are St. Bridget and St. Bernard, who supposedly had visions of God asking them to recognize St. Jude as the Patron Saint of the Impossible. American comedian Danny Thomas is another believer. His St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which has been treating childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases since the 1960s, is a result of the actor’s years of devotion to the saint.

5 Facts About St. Simon the Apostle

(Left) St. Simon, by Peter Paul Rubens (c. 1611), from his Twelve Apostles series at the Museo del Prado, Madrid (Right) Statue of St. Simon in the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran by Francesco Moratti. (Photos from Wikipedia)

  1. He’s a Zealot.  Scholars are divided about the meaning of the term that is affixed to his name. Some say Simon belonged to the radical party known as the Zealots, while others believe it describes his religious zeal. Simon also goes by the names Simon the Cananaean and Simon the Canaanite.
  2. He’s one of several Simons in the Bible. Besides his namesake, fellow Apostle Simon Peter, there’s Simon of Cyrene, who helped Jesus carry His cross; Simon the Leper, who invited Jesus to his home for dinner; and Simon the Pharisee, who also had Jesus over for supper in his home.
  3. He’s the patron saint of couriers, tanners, and sawyers. The third group of people may have to do with the item that was used in his martyrdom.
  4. He traveled a lot. The job of spreading the Word of Jesus took him (and his evangelizing partner St. Jude) to Egypt, Persia, Armenia, and Beirut, among other places. (Read: ‘Techie Saint’ to Be Beatified This Week)
  5. He is mentioned four times in the New Testament. He appears in Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6: 13-16, and Acts 12-13—passages that identify all 12 Apostles.

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