Official feasts used to be an important part of the human community. People would gather together to remember something sacred, express their faith and hope for the future, and / or just be together formally, recognizing each other as being part of a shared community. Few things express a desire for shared companionship and social intimacy more than dining together. Sadly, the gathering together for feasting is increasingly a relic of the past – at least here in the West.
It need not be so! Today we will remember the ancient feasts.
THE FEAST OF ST. Jude Thaddeus and St. Simon the Zealot
This feast is a Christian religious celebration of Sts. Jude and Simon, two of the twelve original disciples of Jesus Christ.
Who is St. Jude Thaddeus?
Jude (Greek: Ἰούδας Ἰακώβου translit. Ioúdas Iakóbou) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus according to the New Testament. He is generally identified as Thaddeus (Greek: Θαδδαῖος; Coptic: ⲑⲁⲇⲇⲉⲟⲥ; Syriac/Aramaic: ܝܗܘܕܐ ܫܠܝܚܐ), and is also variously called Judas Thaddaeus, Jude Thaddaeus, Jude of James, or Lebbaeus and is considered as the founding father and the first Catholicos-Patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church. He is sometimes identified with Jude, the brother of Jesus, but is clearly distinguished from Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Jesus prior to his crucifixion. Catholic writer Michal Hunt suggests that Judas Thaddaeus became known as Jude after early translators of the New Testament from Greek into English sought to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot and subsequently abbreviated his forename. Most versions of the New Testament in languages other than English and French refer to Judas and Jude by the same name.
Jude is commonly attributed with a club. He is also often shown in icons with a flame around his head. This represents his presence at Pentecost, when he received the Holy Spirit with the other apostles. Another common attribute is Jude holding an image of Jesus Christ, known as the Image of Edessa. In some instances, he may be shown with a scroll or a book (the Epistle of Jude) or holding a carpenter’s rule.
Who is St. Simon the Zealot?
Simon the Zealot (Acts 1:13, Luke 6:15) or Simon the Canaanite or Simon the Canaanean (Matthew 10:4, Mark 3:18; Greek: Σίμων ὁ Κανανίτης; Coptic: ⲥⲓⲙⲱⲛ ⲡⲓ-ⲕⲁⲛⲁⲛⲉⲟⲥ; Classical Syriac: ܫܡܥܘܢ ܩܢܢܝܐ) was one of the most obscure among the apostles of Jesus. A few pseudepigraphical writings were connected to him, but Jerome does not include him in De viris illustribus written between 392 and 393 AD.
Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.
To distinguish him from Simon Peter, he is given a surname in all three of the Synoptic Gospels where he is mentioned. Simon is called “Zelotes” in Luke and Acts (Luke 6:15 Acts 1:13). For this reason, it is generally assumed that Simon was a former member of the political party, the Zealots. In Matthew and Mark, however, he is called “Kananites” in the Byzantine majority and “Kananaios” in the Alexandrian manuscripts and the Textus Receptus (Matthew 10:4 Mark 3:18). Both Kananaios and Kananites derive from the Hebrew word קנאי qanai, meaning zealous, so most scholars today generally translate the two words to mean “Zealot”. However, Jerome and others, such as Bede, suggested that the word “Kananaios” or “Kananite” should be translated as “Canaanean” or “Canaanite”, meaning that Simon was from the town of קנה Cana in Galilee. If this is the case, his epithet would have been “Kanaios”.
Robert Eisenman has argued that contemporary talmudic references to Zealots refer to them as kanna’im “but not really as a group—rather as avenging priests in the Temple”. Eisenman’s broader conclusions, that the zealot element in the original apostle group was disguised and overwritten to make it support the assimilative Pauline Christianity of the Gentiles, are more controversial. John P. Meier argues that the term “Zealot” is a mistranslation and in the context of the Gospels means “zealous” or “religious” (in this case, for keeping the Law of Moses), as the Zealot movement apparently did not exist until 30 to 40 years after the events of the Gospels. However, neither Brandon nor Hengel support this view.
For those interested in this sort of thing (and since it is mentioned above), the Image of Edessa – of which St. Jude is argued to have been connected – is thought by many today to be one and the same relic as the Shroud of Turin.
What do you eat for The Feast of Sts. Jude and Simon the Zealot?
As St. Jude is a patron saint of Armenia, a dish from that country might be an excellent idea for his Feast Day celebration.
Dabgadz Banir Boerag (fried Cheese Turnover)
3 cups flour
1 cup water
1 cup veg. oil
1 tsp. salt
1 lb. Muenster cheese, cut in small pieces (2 varieties of cheese may be mixed and substituted)
1 cup minced parsley
salt, pepper to taste (mix filling together thoroughly)
Mix all dough ingredients together and knead. Divide into two balls, cover, and set aside 1 hour. Roll out each ball into circles 1/8″ thick Using plastic bowl of 4″ to 5″ diameter, cut out rounds of dough from larger circles.
Place 1 tablespoon filling on center of each round. Bring edges together to form turnover and press edges with fingers to seal. in deep hot fat until golden brown, turning over to brown both sides.
What is a Prayer You Might Say for This Feast?
St. Jude is the Saint associated with desperate situations and lost causes. It is likely for that reason that St. Jude is the name of an important children’s cancer research center in the United States. If you feel so led, you can donate to that cause HERE.
I would also add that in light of St. Jude’s status as Patron Saint of Armenia, it is a good time to remember and pray for Armenian Christians who are going through incredible hardship at this time.
How to Pray the St. Jude Novena
Across nine consecutive days 15 minutes
How to Pray the St. Jude Novena
- Begin by making the sign of the crossIn the name of Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
- Call on St. Jude to pray with you“Most holy St. Jude – apostle, martyr, and friend of Jesus, today I ask that you pray for me and the intentions I now share …”
- Name your intentionsNow, you call to mind or say aloud why you are praying this novena. You can choose one intention to pray with for the entire nine days, or you can name a different one each day of prayer.
Whether it is a physical, mental, or spiritual struggle you or a loved one endures, you can name these intentions of your heart in prayer.
- Pray the St. Jude novena prayer“St. Jude, you are the patron of the impossible. Pray for me and my intentions! O St. Jude, pray that God’s grace and mercy will cover my intentions. Pray for the impossible if it is God’s will.
Pray that I may have the grace to accept God’s holy will even if it is painful and difficult for me.”
- Rest with the daily meditationThe daily meditation focuses on a different theme each day, including faith, sacrifice, and hope. The first day of the novena asks St. Jude to lead us in loving God: “St. Jude, you loved our Lord, help me to love Him more.”
- Close with the Sign of the CrossIn the name of Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Repeat this prayer with St. Jude for eight more days to complete the novena.
- A recitation of prayers and devotions for a special purpose during nine consecutive days.
- In the Roman Catholic Church, a devotion consisting of prayers said during nine consecutive days, for the purpose of obtaining, through the intercession of the Virgin or of the particular saint to whom the prayers are addressed, some special blessing or mercy. Also called by the French name neuvaine.
When is this feast celebrated?
St. Jude and St. Simon the Zealot’s Feast Day is celebrated on 28 October. If you celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful day.