19 June 2007

Saint Jude Thaddeus

Apostle and Martyr
Feast - June 19

Prayer - Lord, you chose your twelve apostles and granted them the Holy Spirit. You gave them the power to cure the sick, guide the peoples, and teach the nations. Grant that we may follow the example of all your apostles, especially Saint Jude Thaddeus, whose feast we celebrate today. Fill us with their apostolic zeal, and make us participants in their heavenly joy, and we will glorify you, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Readings - Morning Prayer: Jude 1-16
Divine Liturgy: Jude 17-23 and Mark 3: 13-19
Evening Prayer: Jude 24-25

Biography - Saint Jude, one of the twelve apostles of Christ, is descended from King David and Solomon, and is traditionally considered the son of Saint Joseph by his first wife.

Saint John writes in his Gospel, "... neither did his brethren believe in Him" (John. 7:5). St Theophylact, Archbishop of Bulgaria, explains this passage. He says that at the beginning of the Lord Jesus Christ's earthly ministry, Joseph's sons, Jude among them, did not believe in His divine nature. Tradition says that when St Joseph returned from Egypt, he began to divide his possessions among his sons. He wanted to allot a share to Christ the Savior, born miraculously and incorruptibly from the Blessed Virgin Mary. The brothers were opposed to this because Jesus was born of another mother. Only James, later called "The Brother of God," offered to share his portion with Him. Jude came to believe in Christ the Savior as the awaited Messiah, and he followed Him and was chosen as one of the twelve Apostles. Mindful of his sin, the Apostle Jude considered himself unworthy to be called the Lord's brother, and in his Epistle he calls himself merely the brother of James.

Saint Jude also had other names: the Saint Matthew terms him "Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddeus" (Mt. 10:3). Saint Mark also calls him Thaddeus (Mark 3:18), and in the Acts of the Holy Apostles he is called Barsabas (Acts 15: 22). This was customary at that time.

After the Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, Saint Jude traveled about preaching the Gospel. He propagated the faith in Christ at first in Judea, Galilee, Samaria and Idumaia, and later in the lands of Arabia, Syria and Mesopotamia. Finally, he went to the city of Edessa. Here he finished the work that was not completed by his predecessor-in-mission, Saint Addai (Thaddeus, see note below).

There is a tradition that Saint Jude went to Persia, where he wrote his Epistle. In the Epistle much profound truth was expressed in a few words. Saint Jude's Epistle speaks about the Holy Trinity, about the Incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ, about the good and bad angels, and about the dread Last Judgment. The apostle urges believers to guard themselves against fleshly impurity, to be diligent in prayer, faith and love, to convert the lost to the path of salvation, and to guard themselves from the teachings of heretics. He also says that it is not enough just to be converted to Christianity, but faith must be demonstrated by good works. He cites the rebellious angels and men punished by God (verses 6 ff.) to support this. Saint Jude died as a martyr around the year 80 near Mt. Ararat in Armenia, where he was crucified and pierced by arrows.

Note: Saint Jude Thaddeus is not to be confused with Saint Addai (often called Thaddeus) who, according to Eusebius healed the suffering of King Abgar. (Ecclesiastical History 1:13)


All original material (C) 2007-2010 by Father Robert Lyons.

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