Among all the original twelve apostles, St. Jude is perhaps the most commonly invoked in prayer. He enjoys widespread popularity as the “patron of hopeless causes.” The origins of this designation are obscure. Possibly owing to the similarity of his name to the traitor Judas Iscariot, petitioners would not appeal for his help until they had unsuccessfully exhausted other options. In any case, his popularity in this role is an ironic compensation for his obscurity in the Gospels. Aside from the citation of his name in listings of the Twelve, St. Jude is quoted only once. In the Gospel of John, he asks Jesus at the Last Supper why he does not manifest himself to the whole world. This Jude is also the supposed author of the shortest book of the New Testament, “The Letter of Jude,” which in its twenty-five verses warns against the danger of false teachers who divide the Church and lead many astray.
Information about St. Simon is even more limited. Though he is listed among the twelve apostles, he is never quoted, and there is no reliable record of his activities after Pentecost.
Both these saints have long been celebrated together—possibly owing to the legend that they were martyred in Persia on the same day.
“Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.”
—Epistle of Jude