Nothing is known for certain about Sts. Simon and Jude, except that they are mentioned as two of the twelve Apostles who Jesus called to accompany Him as He proclaimed that the Kingdom of God is at hand. Both of them were known by other names.
Simon was also called ‘the Zealot’, which means a person who is strongly committed to a cause. He was convinced how important it was for all people to follow the Jewish Law. But when he met Jesus, his zeal became focused on following Jesus and His teachings. Besides, the addition of the word Zealot to his name was also a means of identification from Simon Peter.
Jude also became known as Jude Thaddeus, a formal title, not to be confused with Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus. Jude’s great faith stands as a conviction that everything is possible if it is God’s will. Christian tradition connects St. Jude to the legend of King Abgar and the painting of the Holy Face of Edessa. He is also mentioned in John’s Gospel, when he asked Jesus a poignant question during the Last Supper.
It is believed that after the Ascension of the Lord, Simon went to evangelize in Egypt, Jude to Mesopotamia. Then they met in Persia (today’s Iran) where they continued to evangelize. The fact that they were both eye witnesses to the teachings, miracles and Resurrection of Jesus and having been strengthened by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, people believed their testimony. Eventually the people accepted the Good News and were baptized. Tradition holds that both of them were martyred in Persia.
Simon and Jude were ordinary men, probably farmers or fishermen, but Jesus chose them ’to make disciples of all nations’. They are living examples that the most average person can become a saint when one decides to follow Jesus.