Feast Day : October 28 (in the East, July 1; without Simon, in the East, June 19)
Patronage: desperate situations; forgotten, hopeless, lost and impossible causes; hospital workers; hospitals
Name meaning: sweetness or gentleness of character (Thaddeus)
Also known as: Judas Jaccobi; Jude Thaddeus; Judas Lebbeus; Lebbeus; Thaddeus
Jude was born in Galilee, the son of Alpheus and Mary, and was a fisherman by trade. He was a brother of St. James the Less and a first cousin of Jesus, who called him to be one of his disciples or apostles. Very little more is known about Jude apart from his brief epistle, which is concerned with the purity of the Christian faith and the good reputation and perseverance of the faithful. Although placed after the Second Epistle of Peter, it is believed to have been the major inspiration for that book. The Epistle of Jude probably was written around A.D. 80 for converts in an unknown location. Tradition affirms Jude as the actual author of the epistle. Some historians say that a pseudonymous author probably would have chosen a more prominent pen name. Jude appears again in the apocryphal Passion of Simon and Jude, which serves as the basis for traditions about his later life. According to this source, Jude was a healer and an exorcist who could expel demons from pagan idols, leaving the statues crumbling. With St. Simon, he left Palestine to evangelize Persia. Since the sixth century, there have been legends about their martyrdom there, though the manner of death varies. Some accounts say they were killed with a saw or falchion (a short sickle-shaped sword). Others say they were beaten to death with a club, then beheaded. By tradition, this occurred on July 1, the day the Feast of Simon and Jude is celebrated by the Eastern Church. The Western Church celebrates the feast on October 28, the day the saints’ relics were translated to St. Peter’s in Rome in the seventh or eighth century. In art, Jude typically is represented as a young or middle-aged, bearded man holding a carpenter’s rule or a club, saw, axe or halberd. He is sometimes confused with his fellow apostles St. Matthew (who may also hold an axe or halberd) and St. Thomas (who may also hold a carpenter’s rule). He may also be shown with books or scrolls in commemoration of his epistle. When he is pictured with Simon, one holds a saw and the other a falchion. Fish, boats and oars that sometimes appear in his images symbolize his putative profession as a fisherman.