St. Jude Thaddeus — Martyred in Persia with St. Simon

“Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him, ‘Master, [then] what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.’” (John 14:22–23)

Georges de la Tour, “Saint Jude Thaddeus,” ca. 1620
Georges de la Tour, “Saint Jude Thaddeus,” ca. 1620 (photo: Public Domain)

Jesus selected two apostles with the name of Judas. The English version of the name ― Jude ― is often used for the Judas who is also known as Thaddeus. This Jude is not mentioned much in the Bible and has only one quote attributed to him, found in John 14:22. This single line was spoken during the Last Supper, a Passover meal Jesus shared with his apostles shortly before his Passion. Evidently, Jude was curious as to why Jesus would not manifest himself to the entire world. Jesus’ reply highlighted the importance of love for him and God the Father — that the practice of this love and reverence would create a special dwelling.

Jude Thaddeus has become a very popular saint, probably due to his patronage of hopeless cases. This patronage may stem from an experience Jude allegedly had in the city of Edessa (a city now known as Sanilurfa in modern Turkey), according to the ancient Church historian Eusebius. Supposedly, while Jesus was still alive, the ruler Abgar V of Edessa was stricken with an incurable, painful disease. Abgar had heard of the miracles of Jesus and wrote him a letter requesting a visit. Jesus responded with a promise that, in time, he would send one of his disciples. After Jesus’ ascension (most likely at some point following Pentecost), Jude went to evangelize in the region near Edessa and ultimately visited Abgar. While there, Jude laid his hands upon the anguished monarch, who was then instantaneously healed.

The Letter of Jude may have been written by this in-the-background apostle. This letter was written by someone with the name or pseudonym of Jude and gives strong warning for believers to be cautious of false teachers.

Jude is often linked with the apostle Simon. In the lists of apostles in the New Testament, their names are listed side by side. Some legends hold that the two spent some time preaching together in Persia and that they were both martyred there, Jude by bludgeon (or axe, or spear), and Simon by saw.


A Biblical Novena to St. Jude Thaddeus

St. Jude Thaddeus shares Oct. 28 as a feast day with an apostle he was purportedly martyred with — St. Simon. Below is a nine-day devotional to help you delve into the life of St. Jude a little better, to contemplate his role in Christianity and to pray about his holy influence. Consider spending this novena of days with your Bible, a notebook and pen. Jot down meaningful verses and thoughts each day — see what new insights St. Jude brings to your attention during your study.

  • Day 1) Matthew 10:1–15
  • Day 2) Mark 3:13–19
  • Day 3) Luke 6:12–16
  • Day 4) Luke 9:1–6, 10–17
  • Day 5) John 6:48–52, 66–71
  • Day 6) John 14:22–23
  • Day 7) Mark 16:14–20
  • Day 8) Acts 1:6–14
  • Day 9) Acts 5:12–16