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Emblems of the Apostles

Saint Andrew
Andrew was the brother of Peter. He is said to have founded the church in Russia. He is the patron saint of both Russia and Scotland.

Tradition holds that Andrew was crucified in Greece on a cross saltire.

Saint Andrew's Day is November 30.

Saint Bartholomew
Bartholomew probably preached near the border of India and in Armenia.

According to tradition, Bartholomew was flayed alive, crucified and then beheaded.

Saint Bartholomew's Day is August 24.

Saint James the Greater
James was the brother of John and a son of Zebedee. He traditionally preached in Spain after working in Jerusalem.

James was beheaded by Herod Agrippa. He is the only apostle whose death is recorded in scripture (Acts 12:2). His shield shows a scallop (or cockle) shell, a symbol of pilgrimage by sea, and the sword of martyrdom. Sometimes three shells are shown without a sword.

St. James' the Greater's Day is July 25.

Saint James the Less
James (called "The Less" or "The Just") was a son of Alphaeus. He worked in and near Jerusalem and was probably its first bishop.

An ancient historian claims that James was pushed from a pinnacle of the temple at the age of 96. Near death, he rose to ask forgiveness for his enemies, who then beat him with a fuller's bat and sawed his body in pieces.

Saint James' Day is May 1.

Saint John
John was the bishop of the church at Ephesus. He was exiled to Patmos and then returned.

Tradition claims that John was the only disciple to die a natural death, at great age. Various attempts were made on his life, including a poisoned chalice from which he was miraculously spared.

St. John's Day is December 27.

Judas, whose emblem is a length of rope fashioned into a "J" or an "I", is rarely found in a list of the 12 Apostles. His place is usually taken by Saint Matthias, who was chosen by lot to replace Judas after he committed suicide, or by Saint Paul, who many believe to have been God's chosen successor to Judas.

Saint Jude
Jude was also known as Thaddeus.

Traditions vary as to his field of missionary work. he is reputed to have traveled with Simon. His manner of death is also unknown, though some have supposed that he and Simon were martyred together.

St. Jude's Day is October 28.

Saint Matthew
Matthew was a son of Alphaeus and a tax collector. He was also known as Levi. According to tradition, he went to Ethiopia after preaching to the Jews in Palestine.

Traditional accounts of Matthew's death vary. Some say he died a natural death. Others say that he was crucified in Ethiopia and was then beheaded. His shield displays three purses.

St. Matthew's Day is September 21.

Saint Matthias
Matthias was the Apostle chosen by lot to take Judas' place as one of the twelve.

Tradition holds that he worked in Judea or Ethiopia. He is said to have been stoned and then beheaded.

St. Matthias' Day is February 24.

Saint Paul
Paul was known as Saul of Tarsus before his conversion. He embarked on three missionary journeys that took him to Syria, Cyprus, Asia Minor, Macedonia, Greece and elsewhere. He is the traditional author of 14 of the Epistles.

Paul was martyred in Rome, probably by beheading, in 68 A.D. Paul spoke of the Word of God as the "Sword of the Spirit."

St. Paul's day is January 25.

Saint Peter
Peter was also known as Simon or Cephas. He was the brother of Andrew. He became the leading Apostle after Pentecost until the Council of Jerusalem in 50 A.D. Afterward his whereabouts are not known with certainty.

Peter was crucified in Rome under Nero. An ancient historian records that he asked to be crucified upside down because he felt unworthy to be crucified as his Lord. The keys represent Jesus' saying, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven."

St. Peter's Day is June 29.

Saint Philip
A questionable tradition holds that Philip was a missionary to Phrygia and Galatia.

Philip is said to have been martyred by crucifixion or the spear, or bound to a cross and stoned to death. Two loaves of bread recall Philip's comment at the feeding of the multitude recorded in John 6:7.

St. Philip's Day is May 1.

Saint Simon
This disciple was also known as Simon the Zealot. Nothing of his missionary work can be authenticated, but he is variously said to have worked east of Palestine or to have accompanied Jude in his journeys.

An early historian claims that Simon was martyred in Persia by being beheaded or sawn in pieces. His shield indicates that he was a fisher of men through preaching the gospel.

St. Simon's Day is October 28.

Saint Thomas
Thomas was an evangelist in Persia and India. In India he is reported to have built a church with his own hands.

Thomas died when he was shot with arrows, stoned and left to die. A priest then ran a spear through him.

St. Thomas' Day is December 21.