St. Thomas the Apostle
St. Thomas is remembered for his incredulity when the other Apostles
announced Christ's Resurrection to him: "Except I shall see
in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the
place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe"
(John 20:25); but eight days later he made his act of faith, drawing
down the rebuke of Jesus: "Because thou hast seen me, Thomas,
thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and have
believed" (John 20:29).
St. John the Evangelist
After the Resurrection John with Peter was the first of the disciples
to hasten to the grave and he was the first to believe that Christ
had truly risen (John, xx, 2-10). When later Christ appeared at
the Lake of Genesareth John was also the first of the seven disciples
present who recognized his Master standing on the shore (John, xxi,
7). The Fourth Evangelist has shown us most clearly how close the
relationship was in which he always stood to his Lord and Master
by the title with which he is accustomed to indicate himself without
giving his name: "the disciple whom Jesus loved".
When summoned by Jesus, Matthew arose and followed Him
and tendered Him a feast in his house, where tax-gatherers and sinners
sat at table with Christ and His disciples. This drew forth a protest
from the Pharisees whom Jesus rebuked in these
Many scholars identify him with Nathaniel (John, i, 45-51; xxi,
2). The manner of his death, said to have occurred at Albanopolis
in Armenia, is equally uncertain; according to some, he was beheaded,
according to others, flayed alive and crucified, head downward,
by order of Astyages, for having converted his brother, Polymius,
King of Armenia. On account of this latter legend, he is often represented
in art (e.g. in Michelangelo's Last Judgment) as flayed and holding
in his hand his own skin.
In the New Testament he is sometimes called Simon the Zealot because
of the zeal he showed for the Mosaic law which he practised before
He may have been a disciple of John the Baptist and is mentioned
as one of the Apostles in the lists of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and
in Acts. Aside from the lists, he is mentioned only in John in the
New Testament. He was called by Jesus Himself and brought Nathanael
to Christ. Philip was present at the miracle of the loaves and fishes,
when he engaged in a brief dialogue with the Lord, and was the Apostle
approached by the Hellenistic Jews from Bethsaida to introduce them
to Jesus. Just before the Passion, Jesus answered Philip's query
to show them the Father.
St. James the Greater
In all four lists the names of Peter and Andrew, James and John
form the first group, a prominent and chosen group (cf. Mark, xiii,
3); especially Peter, James, and John. These three Apostles alone
were admitted to be present at the miracle of the raising of Jairus's
daughter (Mark, v, 37; Luke, viii, 51), at the Transfiguration (Mark,
ix, 1; Matt., xvii, 1; Luke, ix, 28), and the Agony in Gethsemani
(Matt., xxvi, 37; Mark, xiv, 33).
St. James the Lesser
St. Paul tells us he was a witness of the Resurrection of Christ;
he is also a "pillar" of the Church, whom St. Paul consulted
about the Gospel.
Jude is invoked in desperate situations because his New Testament
letter stresses that the faithful should persevere in the environment
of harsh, difficult circumstances, just as their forefathers had
done before them. Therefore, he is the patron saint of desperate
Matthias was one of the seventy disciples of Jesus, and had been
with Him from His baptism by John to the Ascension (Acts i, 21,
22). It is related (Acts, i, 15-26) that in the days following the
Ascension, Peter proposed to the assembled brethren, who numbered
one hundred and twenty, that they choose one to fill the place of
the traitor Judas in the Apostolate. Two disciples, Joseph, called
Barsabas, and Matthias were selected, and lots were drawn, with
the result in favour of Matthias, who thus became associated with
the eleven Apostles.
As one of the Twelve, Andrew was admitted to the closest familiarity
with Our Lord during His public life; he was present at the Last
Supper; beheld the risen Lord; witnessed the Ascension; shared in
the graces and gifts of the first Pentecost, and helped, amid threats
and persecution, to establish the Faith in Palestine.
While journeying along with His Apostles, Jesus asks them: "Whom
do men say that the Son of man is?" The Apostles answered:
"Some John the Baptist, and other some Elias, and others Jeremias,
or one of the prophets". Jesus said to them: "But whom
do you say that I am?" Simon said: "Thou art Christ, the
Son of the living God". And Jesus answering said to him: "Blessed
art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed
it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That
thou art Peter [Kipha, a rock], and upon this rock [Kipha] I will
build my church [ekklesian], and the gates of hell shall not prevail
against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.
And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also
in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be
loosed also in heaven". Then he commanded his disciples, that
they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ (Matt., xvi,
13-20; Mark, viii, 27-30; Luke, ix, 18-21).