Jude (Judaeus) was an Apostle and Martyr who lived in the first
century. His Feast Day, with St. Simon the Zealot, is celebrated on
October 28th each year.
St. Jude is one of the twelve apostles of Jesus as indicated in Luke
6:16 and Acts 1:13. He was traditionally believed to have been the
author of the Epistle of Jude and is
often identified as Thaddaeus, the apostle mentioned in Mark 3:18 and
Matt. 10:3. In Luke's Gospel and in Acts,
he is called "Judaeus, the son of James." Jude was the one
who asked Jesus at the Last Supper why He would not manifest Himself to
the whole world after His resurrection. The Gospel of John does not
name him. Jude is generally thought to be the brother of another
apostle, St. James the Less.
After the death and resurrection of Jesus, St. Jude traveled throughout
Mesopotamia for a period of ten years, preaching and converting many to
Christianity. He probably returned to Jerusalem for the Council of
the Apostles, and then he and St. Simon visited Libya and Persia where
many more converts were made.
St. Jude died a martyr's death. Details are very skimpy.
Tradition tells us he could have been clubbed and killed with an ax.
Others believe he was martyred with arrows or javelins, or on a
cross. Sometime after his death, St. Jude's body was brought to Rome
and placed in a crypt in St. Peter's Basilica.
There were communities who had Jude as their patron in the middle ages,
but his popularity (and clear record of history) suffered. The
reason is simple enough - his name was too often confused with Judas
Iscariot, Christ's betrayer. Because of this confusion, only the
most desperate would pray that St. Jude would intervene for them.
Hence by the 19th century he became popularly known as the Patron Saint of
Lost Causes or Desperate situations.
The simple truth is that because of the confusion with Iscariot, very
little is now known for certain about St. Jude. That being said, St.
Jude is looked at as a powerful reminder of Christ's faithfulness to us in
all things. Even in the most difficult circumstances that life can
present, St. Jude is seen as one who affirms for us that God is still
present, still loving, still creating, still making all things new.
Statues of St. Jude often depict him carrying an oar and an
anchor. Although the anchor is a Christian symbol of hope - fitting
enough for the Patron Saint of lost causes - the anchor and oar may allude
to the belief that Jude's early life was spent as a fisherman.
The boat, the symbol most often associated with St. Jude, may also
allude to Jude's earlier life, or to Jude's voyages in his part in the
mission of founding the early church. A ship is also a well-known
symbol of the Christian Church; this is often reflected in obvious ways in
The ship of St. Jude is depicted in the Rose Window immediately behind
our main altar.
- 1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and
brother of James: to them that are beloved in God the Father, and
preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.
2 Mercy unto you, and peace, and charity be fulfilled.
3 Dearly beloved, taking all care to write unto you concerning your
common salvation, I was under a necessity to write unto you: to
beseech you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the
4 For certain men are secretly entered in, (who were written of long
ago unto this judgment,) ungodly men, turning the grace of our Lord
God into riotousness, and denying the only sovereign Ruler, and our
Lord Jesus Christ.
5 I will therefore admonish you, though ye once knew all things, that
Jesus, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, did
afterwards destroy them that believed not:
- 6 And the angels who kept not their
principality, but forsook their own habitation, he hath reserved under
darkness in everlasting chains, unto the judgment of the great day.
- 7 As Sodom and Gomorrha, and the neighbouring
cities, in like manner, having given themselves to fornication, and
going after other flesh, were made an example, suffering the
punishment of eternal fire.
- 8 In like manner these men also defile the
flesh, and despise dominion, and blaspheme majesty.
- 9 When Michael the archangel, disputing with
the devil, contended about the body of Moses, he durst not bring
against him the judgment of railing speech, but said: The Lord command
- 10 But these men blaspheme whatever things
they know not: and what things soever they naturally know, like dumb
beasts, in these they are corrupted.
- 11 Woe unto them, for they have gone in the
way of Cain: and after the error of Balaam they have for reward poured
out themselves, and have perished in the contradiction of Core.
- 12 These are spots in their banquets, feasting
together without fear, feeding themselves, clouds without water, which
are carried about by winds, trees of the autumn, unfruitful, twice
dead, plucked up by the roots,
- 13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their
own confusion; wandering stars, to whom the storm of darkness is
reserved for ever.
- 14 Now of these Enoch also, the seventh from
Adam, prophesied, saying: Behold, the Lord cometh with thousands of
- 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to
reprove all the ungodly for all the works of their ungodliness,
whereby they have done ungodly, and of all the hard things which
ungodly sinners have spoken against God.
- 16 These are murmurers, full of complaints,
walking according to their own desires, and their mouth speaketh proud
things, admiring persons for gain's sake.
- 17 But you, my dearly beloved, be mindful of
the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord
- 18 Who told you, that in the last time there
should come mockers, walking according to their own desires in
- 19 These are they, who separate themselves,
sensual men, having not the Spirit.
- 20 But you, my beloved, building yourselves
upon you most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
- 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting
for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto life everlasting.
- 22 And some indeed reprove, being judged:
23 But others save, pulling them out of the fire. And on others have
mercy, in fear, hating also the spotted garment which is carnal.
- 24 Now to him who is able to preserve you
without sin, and to present you spotless before the presence of his
glory with exceeding joy, in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
- 25 To the only God our Saviour through Jesus
Christ our Lord, be glory and magnificence, empire and power, before
all ages, and now, and for all ages of ages. Amen.
It is difficult to state the exact time at which St.
Jude wrote his Epistle. But the doctrines against which he inveighs, and
the looseness of morals or the so-called antinomismus, seem to indicate
the end of the Apostolic age. Jude seems on the other hand to have written
before A.D. 70; otherwise in vv. 5-7 he would have spoken of the
destruction of Jerusalem. In those verses St. Jude mentions the different
punishments of prevaricators, and therefore in this exhortation to Hebrew
Christians he could not have passed over in silence so dire a calamity.
Moreover we have shown that the Epistle of St. Jude was written before II
Peter, which latter was probably written A.D. 64 (65). Therefore St.
Jude must have written shortly before 64 (65). We can only guess, but we
prefer the opinion that the Epistle was written in Palestine, and probably
Most holy apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the
Church honors and invokes you universally, as the patron of hopeless
cases, of things almost despaired of. Pray for me, I am so helpless and
alone. Make use I implore you, of that particular privilege given to you,
to bring visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired of. Come
to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and
help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings,
particularly (Here make your request) and that I may praise God with you
and all the elect forever. I promise, O blessed St. Jude, to be ever
mindful of this great favor, to always honor you as my special and
powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you.