The Twelve Apostles Essay

The Twelve Apostles •St. Peter Simon, son of Jona, born in Bethsaida, brother of Andrew, a fisherman; called Cephas or Peter by Christ who made him the chief of the Apostles and head of the Church as his vicar. “As one leaves behind the great city of Rome, the statue of Peter, and the great basilica, and turns his attention to the Gospels, he finds that the simplicity of this man, the lightning of God flashing around him, leaves him speechless. So expressive, in this fisherman that He should make him, and only him, the pastor of His flock and the father of His kingdom, the foundation of His Church and the ruler of all Christianity. •St. Andrew Born in Bethsaida, brother of Peter, disciple of John the Baptist, a fisherman, the first Apostle called; according to legend, preached the Gospel in northern Greece, Epirus and Scythia, and was martyred at Patras about 70; in art, is represented with an x-shaped cross, called St. Andrew’s Cross; is honored as the patron of Russia and Scotland; Nov. 30. “Andrew was not small, but big, a little stooped, with a large nose and high eyebrows-so a ninth-century biography described him. These characteristics were gathered from earlier sources. “Not small, but big”-how well these words describe his character also. •St. Matthew A Galilean, called Levi by Luke and John and the son of Alphaeus by Mark, a tax collector, one of the Evangelists; according to various accounts, preached the Gospel in Judea, Ethiopia, Persia and Parthia, and was martyred; in art, is depicted with a spear, the instrument of his death, and as a winged man in his role as Evangelist; Sept. 21 (Roman Rite), Nov 16 (Byzantine Rite). “Jesus saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office, and he said to him: Follow me. ” Jesus saw Matthew, not merely in the usual sense, but more significantly with his merciful understanding of men. ” •St. Thomas

Thomas (Didymus): Notable for his initial incredulity regarding the Resurrection and his subsequent forthright confession of the divinity of Christ risen from the dead; according to legend, preached the Gospel in places from the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf and eventually reached India where he was martyred near Madras. Thomas, the Doubter “As already indicated, whenever one hears the name of the apostle Thomas mentioned, he probably begins to grow suspicious of him. ” •St. Philip Philip: Born in Bethsaida; according to legend, preached the Gospel in Phrygia where he suffered martyrdom by crucifixion Jesus said this to test him, because He Himself knew what He was going to do” •St. Bartholomew Bartholomew (Nathanael): A friend of Philip; according to various traditions, preached the Gospel in Ethiopia, India, Persia and Armenia, where he was martyred by being flayed and beheaded; in art, is depicted holding a knife, an instrument of his death; Aug. 24 (Roman Rite), Aug. 25 (Byzantine Rite. ) “Jesus swept Nathanael completely off his feet by revealing to him some personal information that for him was truly amazing. ” •St. John

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A Galilean, son of Zebedee, brother of James the Greater (with whom he was called a “Son of Thunder”), a fisherman, probably a disciple of John the Baptist, one of the Evangelists, called the “Beloved Disciple”; with Peter and James the Greater, witnessed the raising of Jairus’ daughter to life, the transfiguration, the agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemani; Mary was commended to his special care by Christ; the fourth Gospel, three Catholic Epistles and Revelation bear his name; according to various accounts, lived at Ephesus in Asia Minor for some time and died a natural death about 100; in art, is represented by any eagle, symbolic of the sublimity of the contents of his Gospel; Dec 27 (Roman Rite), May 8 (Byzantine Rite). •St. James

A Galilean, son of Zebedee, brother of John (with whom he was called a “Son of Thunder”), a fisherman; with Peter and John, witnessed the raising of Jairus’ daughter to life, the transfiguration, the agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemani; first of the Apostles to die, by the sword in 44 during the rule of Herod Agrippa; there is doubt about a journey legend says he made to Spain and also about the authenticity of relics said to be his at Santiago de Compostela; in art, is depicted carrying a pilgrim’s bell; July 25 (Roman Rite), Apr 30 (Byzantine Rite). •St. Simon Simon: Called the Cananean or the Zealot; according to legend, preached in various places in the Middle East and suffered martyrdom by being sawed in two; in art, is depicted with a saw, the instrument of his death, or a book, symbolic of his zeal for the Law; Oct. 28 (Roman Rite). May 10 (Byzantine Rite). •St. Jude Jude Thaddeus: One of the Catholic Epistles, the shortest, bears his name; various traditions say he preached the Gospel in Mesopotamia, Persia and elsewhere, and was martyred; in art, is depicted with a halberd, the instrument of his death; Oct 28 (Roman Rite), June 19th (Byzantine Rite). •St. James The Less

James the Less: Son of Alphaeus, called “Less” because he was younger in age or shorter in stature than James the Greater; one of the Catholic Epistles bears his name; was stoned to death in 62 or thrown from the top of the temple in Jerusalem and clubbed to death in 66; in art, is depicted with a club or heavy staff; May 3 (Roman Rite), Oct 9 (Byzantine Rite). •St. Matthias A disciple of Jesus whom the faithful 11 Apostles chose to replace Judas before the Resurrection; uncertain traditions report that he preached the Gospel in Palestine, Cappadocia or Ethiopia; in art is represented with a cross and a halberd, the instruments of his death as a martyr; May 14 (Roman Rite) Aug. 9 (Byzantine Rite).


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