Saint Jude, Apostle

Author: Lives of Saints


Feast: October 28

We have little knowledge of the life of this Apostle, who is known mainly as the author of the Epistle of St. Jude, the book immediately preceding the Apocalypse of St. John in the New Testament. At the outset of this Epistle Jude identifies himself as "the brother of James." This is taken to mean St. James the Less, bishop of Jerusalem, who is known for his authorship of the Epistle bearing his name. Jude, also known by the name of Thaddeus, and James the Less were sons of Cleophas and Mary, the latter, possibly, a cousin of the Blessed Virgin. We find a reference (Matthew xiii, 55) to Judge as one of the brethren of the Lord, but we are mindful of the fact that near relatives were often called brothers in ancient times.

The history of St. Jude after the Ascension continues to be obscure, and indeed is as uncertain as that of St. Simon, whom the Church calendar honors on the same day. There are traditions that Jude preached in Judaea, Samaria, and Mesopotamia; St. Paulinus, writing hundreds of years later, declared that Jude planted the faith in faraway Libya. According to one tradition, he died at Beirut; another tells us that he and St. Simon suffered martyrdom at Suanis, a city of Persia, where they had gone as missionaries. But if concrete facts as to the life and death of St. Jude are wanting, we may at least glean something from his Epistle as to the kind of man he was. This letter was probably written before the fall of Jerusalem, between the years 62 and 65. In it there is evidence that heresies had already arisen, for Jude denounces the evil life of heretics and warns of the judgment to come. He condemns the impious, the lustful, and those "who cultivate people for the sake of gain." He charges Christians to "build up yourself upon your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the law of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto life everlasting." The letter bears a close resemblance in tone and expression to the Second Epistle of St. Peter, and it seems likely that St. Peter was familiar with it.

Saint Jude, Apostle. Scriptural Saint. Celebration of Feast Day is October 28. Taken from "Lives of Saints", Published by John J. Crawley & Co., Inc.