The Catholic Defender: St. Jude Thaddaeus, Apostle and Relative to Jesus
St. Jude (according to Scripture) was born under the House of Clopus, son of Alpheus and Mary, a close relative of the Virgin Mary. St. Jude was a brother of St. James the younger (Less) from Galilee and a close relative of Jesus.
St. Jude’s Mother, Mary, the wife of Clopas (Mark 15:40, John 19:25) was at the crucifixion scene and also a close relative of the Virgin Mary.
Cousins were close relatives that were regarded as brothers in the New Testament. Tradition also says that Clopas was a brother of St. Joseph.
Tradition has it that Jude's father, Clopas, was martyred because of his forthright and outspoken devotion to the risen Christ.
St. James, one of the Apostles, Joses, and Simon were brothers of St. Jude. The name Jude means to be a giver of joy, Thaddeus is a name associated with St. Jude means generous and kind.
It is interesting that when Jesus was 12 years old, when Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were in Jerusalem for the Passover, they traveled with other "Kinsfolk" (relatives) which are not mentioned by name (Luke 2:44). I point this out simply to dispel the false narrative that the Virgin Mary had other children, but Jesus did have close relatives regarded as brothers and sisters (Mark 6:4). Jesus had stayed behind in Jerusalem and was later found by Mary and Joseph in the Temple with the Elders.
St. Jude is referred to as "Thaddaeus" by St. Mark and Matthew (Mark 3:18, Matthew 10:3) but he is also identified "Judas, son of James" in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13.
In his letter of 25 verses found in the New Testament (Jude), St. Jude identifies himself as "Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:" (Jude verse 1) but little is spoken of St. Jude.
St. Jude is mentioned by St. Mark as a brother of Jesus (Mark 6:4) and St. Jerome called Jude "Trinmious" which means "man with three names (Thaddeus, Lebbeus, and Judas). He was referred to by other names probably to distinguish St. Jude from Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus.
Jesus at the last supper at one point said, "He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him." (John 14:21)
John 14:22, St. Jude asked Jesus in response, "Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?"
Jesus response, "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me. "These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you."
These words of Jesus would be the basis which St. Jude writes, "But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they said to you, "In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions." It is these who set up divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And convince some, who doubt; save some, by snatching them out of the fire; on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen." Jude 17-25
Following the Lord's Passion, Death, Resurrection, St. Jude was present with the Apostles when the report of the first Eucharistic Miracle took place (Luke 24:30). St. Jude was among the Apostles in the Upper Room on Pentecost when the tongues of fire came over them and he was present to replace Judas Iscariot with St. Matthias (Acts 1:13). St. Jude was also a participant at the Council of Jerusalem.
St. Jude was one who was sent with the letter giving the results of the Council of Jerusalem to be spread among the Gentiles (Acts 15:22-29) beginning in Antioch (Acts 15:30).
St 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. St. Jude wrote his famous 25 verses which comprises the letter to the Church.
St. Jude planted the Catholic Faith in modern day Libya, upon learning of his Brother's (St. James the younger) death, St. Jude returned to Jerusalem in 62 A.D. and was present with the Apostles to electing St. Simeon (his brother) to succeed St. James as the second Bishop of Jerusalem.
Tradition tells us that St. Jude would spread the infant Catholic Faith in Edessa near the Euphrates River where he healed many people and there were many conversions. Edessa would be the city where the Shroud of Turin, the burial cloth believed to be what Jesus was originally placed in the tomb in, was taken there to Edessa. King Abgar, King of Edessa was suffering from Leprosy and prayed for Jesus to heal him.
When the King touched the shroud, he was completely cured. St. Jude is pictured in art with an image of Jesus on his chest, this could be a reflection that Jesus must live in each ones heart (John 14:22-23) and that the image on the shroud was revered by the Apostles and Early Church.
In his letter, St. Jude encourages the faithful Catholic, "Beloved, being very eager to write to you of our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For admission has been secretly gained by some who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly persons who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ."
With the authority of an Apostle of Jesus Christ, St. Jude strongly defends the faith against those who would seek to challenge it.
It was about 65 A.D. when St. Jude was traveling giving witness and establishing churches in Persia and Syria. According to the Emperor Basil, St. Jude suffered martyrdom near the base of Mount Ararat, while in Armenia, it was controlled by the Parthian empire. The Pagans had St. Jude crucified on a cross and they used him for target practice killing him with arrows. Also an ax seems to also been used and is often pictured with him in art.
At some point in time, St. Jude's body was taken to Beirut where he was loved and then taken to Rome. There are a lot of swirling details about where St. Jude died, and trying to piece this together is confusing, so I will try and give the best foundation to his story.
The ship is also a symbol with St. Jude because of his missionary work as a fisher of men. Saint Jude is venerated as the "patron saint of lost causes" and October 28 is his Feast day.