St. Jude Thaddeus
Patron of Hopeless and
St. Jude (Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13) or Thaddeus (Matthew and Mark) or Lebbaeus
(John 14:22; Matt. 10:3) is described in the New Testament as a relative (adelphos) of Jesus (Matthew 13:55 and Mark
6:3), and also the brother of James the Less (Epistle of Jude). The greek name for Jude is
Judas, but before and especially after the Death of Christ there would have been a need to
distinguish him from Judas Iscariot. "Thaddaeus" is possibly a variant of
"Theudas," which in turn is perhaps used as a Greek equivalent of
"Judas" (with the Hebrew Name of God replaced by the Greek "theos").
St. Jude may also have been the author of the shortest book in the New Testament, the
letter of Jude which was written by a man passionately concerned both about the purity of
the Christian faith and the good reputation of Christian people and warns against corrupt
influences that have crept in. The writer had, he tells us, planned to write a different
letter, but hearing of the misleading views put out by some false teachers in the
Christian community, he is urgently writing to warn the church not to heed them. It
includes a memorable exhortation to "contend for the faith once delivered to the
saints," and an even more memorable closing:
Ancient writers tell us that he preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Lybia. According to Eusebius, he returned to Jerusalem in the year 62, and assisted at the election of his brother, St. Simeon, as Bishop of Jerusalem. He is an author of an epistle (letter) to the Churches of the East, particularly the Jewish converts, directed against the heresies of the Simonians, Nicolaites, and Gnostics. This Apostle is said to have suffered martyrdom in Armenia, which was then subject to Persia. The final conversion of the Armenian nation to Christianity did not take place until the third century of our era. Jude was the one who asked Jesus at the Last Supper why He chose to reveal Himself only to the disciples and not the world. Jesus said "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:22f) Little else is known of his life. Legend claims that he visited Beirut and Edessa. Western tradition says that after preaching in Egypt, Simon joined Jude, and they went on missions for time in Persia. From the 6th century legends say Simon and Jude were martyred together in Persia at Sufian (Siani). Jude 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.
Prayers to Saint Jude
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