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Thaddeus (Jude) the Apostle & Brother of Our Lord (19 June)

The Holy Apostle Jude, one of the twelve apostles of Christ, is descended from King David and Solomon, and was the son of Righteous Joseph the Betrothed (Sunday after the Nativity of the Lord) by his first wife.

The Holy Apostle John the Theologian writes in his Gospel, “… neither did his brethren believe in Him” (John. 7:5). Saint 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 Saint 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 All-Pure 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.

The Holy Apostle Jude also had other names: the Evangelist Matthew terms him “Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddeus” (Mt. 10:3). The Holy Evangelist 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, Saint Thaddeus, Apostle of the Seventy (August 21). There is a tradition that Saint Jude went to Persia, where he wrote his catholic Epistle in Greek. 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 (verse 6) to support this.

The Holy Apostle Jude died as a martyr around the year 80 near Mt. Ararat in Armenia, where he was crucified and pierced by arrows.

The Apostle Jude was of the choir of the Twelve, and by Luke was called Jude, the brother of James the Brother of God (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13), and therefore also a kinsman of the Lord according to His humanity. But by Matthew (10:3), he is called Lebbaeus, surnamed Thaddeus (he is not the Thaddeus who healed the suffering of Abgar, as Eusebius says in his Eccl. Hist., 1:13; see Aug. 21). Saint Jude preached in Mesopotamia, Arabia, Idumea, and Syria, and, it is said, completed the path of his divine apostleship by martyrdom in Beirut in the year 80. Written after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, his is the last of the Catholic (General) Epistles to the believing Jews in the Diaspora. His name (a variant of Judah) means “Praise.”

Saint Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles. He was the son of Joseph and Salome(*) and the brother of James, the brother of the Lord. Joseph the carpenter had four sons with Salome [the daughter of Angeja, the son of Varahina, the brother of Zacharias]: James, Hosea, Simon and Jude. This Jude is sometimes called: “Jude, the brother of James” due to his brother being better-known (St. Luke 6:16 Acts 1:14). St. Jude begins his epistle in this manner: Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James (St. Jude 1:1). Even though he could be called the brother of the Lord as much as James, he did not do this, out of humility and shame, for he did not at first believe in Christ the Lord. When the elderly Joseph, before his death, wanted to leave a portion of his estate to Jesus, as well as to his other children, all of them protested, even Jude. Only James voluntarily set aside a share of his portion and intended it for Jesus. Jude is also called Levi and Thaddeaus. There is another Thaddeaus of the Seventy Apostles (August 21), but this Thaddeaus or Jude was one of the Great Apostles. Jude preached the Gospel throughout Judea, Samaria, Galilee, Idumedia, Syria, Arabia, Mesopotamia and Armenia. In Edessa, the town of Abgar, he augmented the preaching of the other Thaddeaus. When Jude was preaching in the regions around Ararat, he was captured by pagans, crucified on a cross and killed by being shot with arrows, that he might reign eternally in the Kingdom of Christ.

Apolytikion of Apostle Jude

First Tone

We know thee as a kinsman of Christ and we laud thee with sacred hymns and songs as a most steadfast Martyr who trampled on error and who courageously kept the Faith. As we celebrate today thy holy remembrance, we receive forgiveness of our sins and transgressions, O Jude, through thy holy prayers.

Source: oca.org / goarch.org / westserbdio.org