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The Apostles

The apostles are the group of 12 men chosen among the disciples of Jesus to continue his Christian ministry after his death. Lists of the twelve apostles appear in the Synoptic Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke in the New Testament Bible. According to the Synoptic Gospels, the Twelve Apostles chosen by Jesus are: Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, James the Less, Matthew, Simon the Canaanite, Judas Iscariot, and Thaddeus or Judas. Most are believed to have been martyred for their teachings, and are venerated as saints.

Simon Peter and Andrew

Simon and his brother Andrew are believed to have been the first apostles recruited by Jesus. Simon is renamed Peter by Jesus in the Gospels, though some believe that Peter had been a pre-existing nickname already used by Simon. Simon and Andrew are said to have been fishermen who promptly renounced their occupations when recruited by Jesus. This immediate abandonment of monetary welfare has been used as an exemplary practice by Christian ascetics, whose doctrine of selflessness denounces worldly possessions.

James and John

Like Simon and Andrew, James and John are known as fishermen brothers, recruited shortly after the former brothers, whose nets they had been fixing. James and John are known as the sons of Zebedee, the father whom they leave to join Jesus. John is often referred to as John the Evangelist, and is credited with the New Testament Gospel of John and the Epistles of John.

Philip and Bartholomew

The apostle Philip is credited with introducing the apostle Bartholomew, also known as Nathaniel, to Jesus. It is believed that after the death and crucifixion of Jesus, Philip and Bartholomew traveled and preached together, working miracles and spreading their mission to Galilee, Greece, Syria, Azota, and Phrygia. In the Gospel of Philip, a Gnostic text of the New Testament apocrypha, Philip's sister, who is often identified as Mary of Magdala, joins the two on their mission. Bartholomew has also been credited with travels to India where he left a copy of the Gospel of Matthew.

The Apostle Thomas

Thomas is also known as St. Thomas, Judas Thomas Didymus or Jude Thomas Didymus. Didymus comes from the Greek meaning "twin," a term sometimes used in the Gospels to refer to Thomas. Thomas is best known for his disbelief of JesusÃ' resurrection in the Gospel of John. His faith is reaffirmed upon seeing Jesus himself. For this reason he is also referred to as Thomas the Believer.

James and Matthew

James is sometimes called James the Less or James, brother of Jesus, to distinguish him from James, brother of John. He is also the brother of the Apostle Matthew. James is identified as the son of Mary in the Gospel of Mark, and has been identified as the brother of Jesus by the Bible translator Jerome in the early years of the Church. James is credited with teaching the Gospels for thirty years in Jerusalem, prior to his death as a martyr in 62 CE.

Matthew is often identified by the name Levi and is known as the tax collector whom Jesus had recruited. He is also known as Matthew the Evangelist and is credited with the authorship of the Gospel of Matthew. He said to be the brother of James, the son of Alphaeus.

Simon the Canaanite and Judas Thaddeus

Simon the Canaanite is also called Simon the Zealot of the Gospel of John and Simon of Jerusalem to distinguish him from Simon Peter. He is considered to be one of the more obscure apostles, and little information is known about him. Simon is sometimes identified as the second Bishop of Jerusalem by the Church.

Judas is distinguished from Judas Iscariot by the names Thaddeus and Judas, son of James. His travels and teachings of the Gospels are said to have reached Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia, Libya, Beirut and Edessa. He believed to have been martyred alongside Simon the Zealot in Persia.

Judas Iscariot and the Apostle Matthias

Judas Iscariot is the apostle best known for his betrayal of Jesus to Roman authorities, which led to Jesus' crucifixion. He is rarely mentioned in the Gospels; however, in the 1970's, the Gospel of Judas, believed to be a Gnostic text, was uncovered in Beni Masah, Egypt relating the story of Jesus' death according to Judas.

The Apostle Matthias was chosen to replace Judas by the remaining eleven apostles after the betrayal in the New Testament Acts of the Apostles. St. Matthias is venerated by the Roman Catholic Church.


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