Jude Thaddeus was born into a Jewish family from Paneas, a town in Galilee about 27 miles north of the Sea of Galilee, later rebuilt by the Romans and renamed Caesarea Philippi. Jude and his brother James the lesser were sons of Alphaeus (Greek) or Cleophas (Hebrew) and Mary of Clopas or Maria Jacobi (Latin), a sister-in-law of the Virgin Mary. Jude’s father, Cleophas, was martyred because of his outspoken devotion to the risen Christ.
Jude Thaddeus and his brother James the lesser probably spoke both Greek and Aramaic, like almost all of his contemporaries in that area. Jude Thaddeus was a farmer by trade. Jude and James were called to the apostleship in the second year of Christ’s preaching, soon after the Pasch.
Jesus was in Caesarea Philippi (presently an uninhabited archaeological site in the Golan Heights) with his disciples. We don’t know the circumstances of Jude Thaddeus becoming a disciple, but perhaps it was in Caesarea Philippi that Jesus first met Jude Thaddeus….
MAP OF GALILEE in the Time of Jesus Christ
Cave of the god Pan
Pan is a figure in Greek mythology who was originally a pastoral god from Arcadia. He was believed to dwell in the mountains and forests of Greece. Pan was the god of isolated rural areas, music, goat herds and hunting. He was also the god of sexual and spiritual possession and of victory in battle, since he was said to instill panic among the enemy. (1) Interestingly, he was considered to be the patron of shepherds. Not fully human in form, his legs are that of a goat and he had horns sprouting from his head.
The Cave of the god Pan in Caesarea Philippi contained an immeasurable pool of water from which a powerful stream flowed (the original source of the Jordan River until a major earthquake occurred). It was believed to be the Gates of Hades. It was to the Cave of Pan that Jesus took his disciples. (2)
Cave of Pan in Caesarea Philippi, Israel, photo by Galyn Wiemers
GENERATION WORD—A Bible Teaching Ministry of Galyn Wiemers http://www.generationword.com/about/galyn_wiemers.htm
Five niches in the rock formation with images of the gods Pan, Echo and Hermes
to the right of the Cave of Pan in Caesarea Phillipi, Israel, photo by Galyn Wiemers
GENERATION WORD—A Bible Teaching Ministry of Galyn Wiemers http://www.generationword.com/about/galyn_wiemers.htm
Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples,“Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
Very little is known about Jude Thaddeus’ life as a disciple, but we can imagine that he heard Jesus preaching and was moved by what he heard and was compelled to follow Him.
Saint Jude Thaddeus – Apostle
Stained glass of Saint Jude Thaddeus
Our Lady of Victories Church & The Shrine of St. Jude, Paterson, New Jersey
St. Jude Thaddeus has a flame over his head (symbolic of the gift of the Holy Spirit given to the apostles on Pentecost) and he is holding a cloth with the Holy Face of Jesus, the Mandylion.
Legend of King Abgar of Edessa
According to Eastern Christian tradition King Abgar V of Edessa (9-46 AD) wrote to Jesus (about the time of the Passion), asking him to come cure him of leprosy. This tradition was first recorded in the early 4th century by Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea and Roman historian, who said that he had transcribed and translated the actual letter in the Syriac chancery documents of the king of Edessa (in Mesopotamia, now modern-day Iraq).
Translation of King Abgar’s letter to Jesus:
“Abgar Ouchama to Jesus, the Good Physician Who has appeared in the country of Jerusalem, greeting:
I have heard of Thee, and of Thy healing; that Thou dost not use medicines or roots, but by Thy word openest (the eyes) of the blind, makest the lame to walk, cleansest the lepers, makest the deaf to hear; how by Thy word (also) Thou healest (sick) spirits and those who are tormented with lunatic demons, and how, again, Thou raisest the dead to life. And, learning the wonders that Thou doest, it was borne in upon me that (of two things, one): either Thou hast come down from heaven, or else Thou art the Son of God, who bringest all these things to pass. Wherefore I write to Thee, and pray that thou wilt come to me, who adore Thee, and heal all the ill that I suffer, according to the faith I have in Thee. I also learn that the Jews murmur against Thee, and persecute Thee, that they seek to crucify Thee, and to destroy Thee. I possess but one small city, but it is beautiful, and large enough for us two to live in peace.” (4)
In reply, Jesus promised to send a messenger. King Abgar, anxious at least to have an image of the great wonder-worker, sent an artist to make a portrait of Him: but the artist, blinded by the splendor of our Saviour’s face, was unable to carry our his mission. At this, Our Lord, in loving compassion, pressed a cloth to His face and impressed His features upon it – the first icon (“image”). The artist then carried this to the king, who received it with great joy. This cloth, known in the Byzantine world as the Holy Face of Edessa has come to be known as the Mandylion. It is believed to be a Christian icon that has come into existence miraculously, not created with human hands. (5)
Icon of King Abgar holding the mandylion, the image of Christ, 10th century,
Saint Cathereine’s Monastery, Mount Sinai, Egypt
Statue of Veronica’s Veil in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome
The Mandylion is associated with Veronica’s Veil
The word VERONICA means “The True Icon”
Holy Face of Manoppello at the church of Santuario del Volto Santo in Manoppello, Italy
Veronica’s Veil is associated with the Holy Face of Manoppello
Enlargement of a photo of the Holy Face of Manoppello
taken by Paul Badde, author of The Face of God
Jude Thaddeus heals King Abgar of Edessa
After Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, Saint Jude Thaddeus was sent by Thomas the apostle to Edessa (Mesopotamia) and healed King Abgar of the frightful disease. And by his eloquent presentation of the truths of the Gospel, Jude Thaddeus converted King Abgar and his whole household, as well as many of his subjects and many people living in Edessa.
Jude Thaddeus also preached in Judea, Samaria, Syria, Libya and Armenia, converting many to Christianity.
Martyrdom of Saint Jude Thaddeus
Jude Thaddeus and Simon (the 12th apostle in the series of 14) were preaching in Syria about the year 65 AD when they both died a martyr’s death. Tradition tells us Jude Thaddeus was clubbed to death and his head was then shattered with a broad ax.
The Martyrdom of St. Simon and St. Jude Thaddeus by Hendrik Goltzius, c. 1577-82,
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Remains of Saint Jude Thaddeus
After his martyrdom, the body of Saint Jude Thaddeus was buried temporarily in Mesopotamia and then taken to Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Saint Joseph’s Altar in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome
Saint Joseph’s Altar is the largest always accessible seating area in the basilica. For the faithful who hold a devotion to Saint Jude Thaddeus, this is the place to be since the relics of Saints Simon and Jude Thaddeus lie under the central altar.
Remains of Saints Simon and Saint Jude Thaddeus beneath the altar
The forearm of Saint Jude Thaddeus was encased in a silver reliquary and located for many centuries in Armenia. At the beginning of the 18th century, Armenian Dominican Missionaries left Armenia because of the Moslem persecution and brought the relic to Smyrna, Turkey. After another round of persecutions, the relic was given to the Dominicans in Turin, Italy.
In 1949, the Dominican Province of St. Peter Martyr in Turin presented the relic to the Dominican Province of St. Albert the Great (Dominican Central Province of the U.S. based in Chicago, Illinois) on the 20th anniversary of their Shrine’s dedication to St. Jude Thaddeus. (6)
The forearm of Saint Jude Thaddeus at the Dominican Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus in Chicago
The arm relic of Saint Jude Thaddeus is permanently displayed at the Dominican Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus located in St. Pius V Parish, 1909 S. Ashland Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.
THADDEUS MOSAIC—Symbol of his martyrdom by Bruce Anderson (2007) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jude_the_Apostle #/media/ File: Thaddeus_ mosaic.jpg
Saint Jude Thaddeus is a very powerful intercessor. He is the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes. He is known as the “Miraculous Saint.” When all other avenues are closed, he is the one to call upon, and his help often comes at the last moment. Saint Jude Thaddeus’ feast day is October 28.
Prayer to Saint Jude Thaddeus
Oh glorious apostle St. Jude, faithful
servant and friend of Jesus, the name of
the traitor who delivered thy beloved
Master into the hands of His enemies
has caused thee to be forgotten by many,
but the Church honors and invokes thee
universally as the patron of hopeless cases
–of things despaired of. Pray for me who
am so miserable; make use, I implore thee,
of that particular privilege accorded thee
of bringing visible and speedy help where
help is almost despaired of. Come to my
assistance in this great need, that I may
receive the consolations and succor of
heaven in all my necessities, tribulations
and sufferings, particularly (mention your
request), and that I may bless God with
thee and all the elect throughout eternity.
I promise thee, O blessed St. Jude, to be
ever mindful of this great favor, and I will
never cease to honor thee as my special
and powerful patron, and to do all in my
power to encourage devotion to thee.
The Novena prayer below is meant to be said for nine consecutive days.
Most holy Apostle, St. Jude,
faithful servant and friend of Jesus,
the Church honors and invokes you
universally, as the patron of difficult cases,
of things almost despaired of.
Pray for me, I am so helpless and alone.
Intercede with God for me that He bring
visible and speedy help. Come to my
assistance in this great need that I may
receive the consolation and help of heaven
in all my necessities, tribulations, and
(make your request here)
And that I may praise God with you and
all the saints forever, I promise, O Blessed
St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great
favor granted me by God to always honor
you as my special and powerful patron,
and to gratefully encourage devotion to you.
(2) Gayln’s Israel Photos, GENERATION WORD—A Bible Teaching Ministry of Galyn Wiemers http://www.generationword.com/Israel/caesarea_philippi.htm
(6) The Dominican Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus, Chicago, Illinois
My God in palaces make me to understand more and more each passing day.
Saint Jude, may his true works and identity be revealed in Gods time.