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Judas Thaddäus, miraculous image in Heisterbacherrott

Judas Thaddaeus ( ancient Greek Ιούδας Θαδδαῖος Ioudas Thaddaios ) is one of the twelve apostles and is venerated as a saint in some denominations . Little is known about his life, his historicity is disputed. It is possible that in Jude Thaddeus several different historical figures are combined into a single figure. He evangelized in the Near East and died there as a martyr .

Increased veneration of the saint began at the beginning of the 19th century. He is called for help especially in difficult and hopeless situations. Most denominations commemorate him liturgically on October 28th .


There are several people named Jude and Thaddeus in the Bible and extra-biblical scriptures . It cannot be determined whether these people are the same and is interpreted differently by different authors. So it is possible that the traditions about Jude Thaddäus actually go back to different people. Only Judas Iscariot is clearly distinguished from him.

This already begins with the various lists of names of the twelve apostles: While Mark (3.18 EU ) and Matthew (10.3 EU ) name an apostle named Thaddäus in tenth place, can be found in Luke (6.16 EU ) and in the Acts of the Apostles (1.13 EU ) on the other hand in eleventh place a "Judas, son [or brother] of James". In addition, in some versions of the text, including the King James Version , the name in Matthew is "Lebbäus, called Thaddäus". Since Origen it is mostly assumed that Judas and Thaddäus are the same person. But there are also authors who deviate from this and regard the two as different.

The theory that Judas and Thaddäus are the same person is supported by the fact that the names of the other apostles in the different lists match. After the betrayal of Judas Iscariot, his name was stained with stains, so that it seems plausible that the other apostle Judas from then on appeared under a different name, Thaddäus. But the view that two different people are involved can also be justified. For example, the death of an apostle might have made an exchange necessary while Jesus was still alive.

The Gospel of John (14.22 EU ) also names a disciple named Judas who differs from Judas Iscariot. This is also the only place in the New Testament where Judas actively appears, asking Jesus why he only reveals his farewell speech to the disciples and not to the whole world. This Judas is mostly identified with the apostle.

Another person by the name of Jude is the author of the letter of Jude . He describes himself as "Judas, brother of James" ( JudEU ). Some authors are of the opinion that he is the apostle named in Luke, and thus see Judas Thaddäus as the author of the letter. Others see in James and thus also in the author of the letter a brother of Jesus and thus attribute the letter to Judas, the brother of the Lord .

Outside of the biblical scriptures there is a Judas author of the apocryphal Gospel of Judas . This author is also often identified as Judas Thaddäus.

Another extra-biblical script is the legend of the Abgar picture , in which an apostle named Thaddäus appears. In Aramaic his name is Mar Addai , he is the founder figure of the Assyrian Church . He could have been Thaddäus von Edessa , one of the seventy disciples , or Judas Thaddäus again.

According to the Legenda aurea , his parents were Cleopas and Mary , his brothers the apostles James and Simon . This makes him a cousin of Jesus . The Legenda aurea also takes over the Abgar legend, and tells how he went to the king of Edessa at the behest of the apostle Thomas after the ascension of Christ . Then he is said to have gone to Mesopotamia and later to Persia with Simon. There they are said to have converted the king of Babylon , his court and many other residents to Christianity. At the hands of the pagan priests, the two finally died as martyrs: Judas Thaddäus was slain with a club, while Simon was killed with a saw. Deviating traditions report death by a halberd, sword or hatchet. The king had their bodies searched and a church built over their grave. From there they finally got to Rome, where they are today in St. Peter's Basilica .

According to Armenian tradition, he proselytized together with Bartholomew in Armenia and thus founded the Armenian Apostolic Church . He is also said to have founded the monastery of St. Thaddäus in 66 and was buried there after his martyrdom.


The inconsistent tradition has an impact on the portrayal of St. Jude Thaddäus. In depictions of the twelve apostles he is often replaced by Paul , or shares his place with Simon. Mostly he is depicted as a young man with a germinating beard, this depiction is especially common in southern Europe. In Northern Europe, on the other hand, the portrayal of a bearded, older man predominates.

Like the other apostles, he is represented with a book or scroll, his attributes are a club or a halberd, more rarely sword, stones or hatchet, as attributes of his martyrdom. A depiction of the saint with an image of Jesus Christ on the breast is also common, which goes back to the legend of the Abgar . Sometimes the apostle is also shown with a square , which is also an attribute of the apostle Thomas .

In addition to the depictions with the other apostles, there is above all that of his martyrdom with Simon.


Help and protection

San Judas Tadeo procession in Mexico City

Believers who made pilgrimages to his grave after Judas Thaddäus died to implore him for help in times of need, reported miracles that they attributed to his intercession. Thus the apostle became an advocate in difficult and hopeless situations. Also Bridget of Sweden and St. Bernard should have him out as the patron saint of the impossible in visions.

Increased worship began in Italy and Spain at the beginning of the 19th century and spread from there to Latin America and the United States. Special veneration is given to him in Mexico.

Votive offerings to Judas Thaddäus in the Ohmenkapelle

The saint is also venerated in German-speaking countries, for example with the Judas Thaddäus pilgrimage in Heisterbacherrott , which has been carried out since the beginning of the 20th century. Many votive offerings can be found in chapels consecrated to St. Jude Taddäus, such as the Ohmen Chapel near St. Märgen .

Saint Judas Taddäus is the patron saint of the city of Goslar ; the Goslar Cathedral is dedicated to him and St. Simon. The so-called peasant groschen from Goslar show Judas Thaddäus and Simon Zelotes as full figures. In other cities, too, there are churches and chapels that are either dedicated to the saint alone (see Jude-Thaddaeus Church ) or to the dual patronage of the apostles Jude-Taddeus and Simon ( Simon and Jude Church ).

Numerous associations have chosen St. Jude Thaddäus as their patron saint, such as the Chicago police , the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital or the Brazilian football club Flamengo Rio de Janeiro .

Remembrance day

The Catholic , Anglican and Evangelical Churches commemorate the Apostles Simon and Jude on October 28th , this date can already be found in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum . The Eastern churches usually commemorate the saint on June 19th, many other churches have their own memorial days. Through a brief from Pope Paul III. of September 22nd, 1548, believers who were born on the feast day of St. Jude Thaddeus visiting the apostle's tomb in Rome, granted a perfect indulgence . In the evangelical church, Joh 15,17-25 LUT is proposed as the daily  gospel for this day , the liturgical color is red.


Web links

Commons : Judas Thaddäus  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. Geraldo Rosales: San Judas Tadeo, el santo más venerado de México ( Memento of December 6, 2013 in the Internet Archive ). In: Contexto de Durango , October 28, 2013, accessed March 31, 2014.
  2. Chicago Police: History ( April 2, 2015 memento on the Internet Archive ), accessed March 31, 2014.
  3. ^ Clube de Regatas do Flamengo: Com a bênção de São Judas Tadeu , accessed on March 31, 2014.
  4. Immaculata Archive: Saint Jude Thaddäus - A great helper in serious matters , accessed on March 31, 2014.