SAINT SIMON was from Galilee and is believed by some to have been a member of the political faction called the zealots who strove to maintain the purity of the Jewish faith under Roman occupation. The zealots were brutal assassins and killed off many of the nobility. However, most scholars believe that although Simon was zealous, he could not have been a member of this Jewish sect because it did not come into existence until after the death of Jesus. Simon was zealous about about honoring Jesus Christ and following the teaching of the Gospel and he scorned any follower of Jesus Christ who failed to live up to his teachings. Simon preached throughout Mesopotamia and brought the Gospel to Egypt, Cyrene, Ethiopia and Mauritania. Later he joined Jude evangelizing Armenia, Lebanon, and Persia where both were martyred in 65 AD. Some claim that Simon was martyred by being sawed in half and others that he was crucified. He is generally depicted holding a saw, the instrument of his martyrdom. In addition to being our patron, he is the patron saint of curriers, tanners, sawyers and woodcutters.
SAINT JUDE, aka Thaddeus, was the brother of Saint James the Less and the son of Cleophas and Mary. As such he was the nephew of the Blessed Virgin Mary and cousin to Jesus Christ. Like Simon he was filled with zeal for proclaiming the Gospel. In the list of the apostles he is sometimes called Jude and sometimes Thaddeus, but he is not Judas Iscariot. After Pentecost Jude immediately set out for Judaea, Samaria, Syria and Libya where he preached the Gospel. After his brother James was thrown from the roof of the temple in Jerusalem and beaten to death, Jude returned to Jerusalem where he wrote the letter to the churches now included in the Bible. In this letter Jude expressed bitter disappointed about the Jewish converts who were falling away from the teachings of Jesus Christ likening them to meteors that blaze brightly for a short time only to end in eternal darkness. A few years later Jude returned to Persia where he was martyred along with Simon in 65 AD. He is generally depicted with an axe or a club presumed to be the instruments of his martyrdom. In addition to being our patron, he is the patron saint of hospitals, hospital workers and impossible causes. Relics of both Saint Simon and Saint Jude are interred in Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.