Simon the Zealot

Simon the Zealot (Acts 1:13, Luke 6:15) or Simon the Cananite or Simon the Cananaean (Matthew 10:4, Mark 3:18; Greek: Σίμων ὁ Κανανίτης; Coptic: ⲥⲓⲙⲱⲛ ⲡⲓ-ⲕⲁⲛⲁⲛⲉⲟⲥ; Classical Syriac: ܫܡܥܘܢ ܩܢܢܝܐ‎)[3] was one of the most obscure among the apostles of Jesus. A few pseudepigraphical writings were connected to him, but Saint Jerome does not include him in De viris illustribus written between 392–393 AD.[4]

Saint Simon the Zealot
Rubens apostel simon
St. Simon, by Peter Paul Rubens (c. 1611), from his Twelve Apostles series at the Museo del Prado, Madrid
Apostle, Martyr, Preacher
Died~65 or ~107[1]
place of death disputed. Possibly Pella, Armenia; Suanir, Persia; Edessa; Caistor
Venerated inEastern Orthodox Churches
Oriental Orthodoxy
Catholic Church (Eastern & Roman)
Lutheran Church
Major shrinerelics claimed by many places, including Toulouse; Saint Peter's Basilica[2]
FeastOctober 28 (Western Christianity)
May 10 (Byzantine Christianity)
Pashons 15 (Coptic Christianity)
ግንቦት 15 (Ethiopian Christianity)
July 1 (medieval Hispanic liturgy as attested by sources of the time, such as the Antiphonary of León)
Attributesboat; cross and saw; fish (or two fish); lance; man being sawn in two longitudinally; oar[2]
Patronagecurriers; sawyers; tanners[2]


Saint Simon the Zealot with his attribute of a saw

The name Simon occurs in all of the Synoptic Gospels and the Book of Acts each time there is a list of apostles, without further details:

Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.

To distinguish him from Simon Peter he is called Kananaios or Kananites, depending on the manuscript (Matthew 10:4 Mark 3:18), and in the list of apostles in Luke 6:15, repeated in Acts 1:13, Zelotes, the "Zealot". Both titles derive from the Hebrew word קנאי qanai, meaning zealous, although Jerome and others mistook the word to signify the apostle was from the town of קנה Cana, in which case his epithet would have been "Kanaios", or even from the region of כנען Canaan. As such, the translation of the word as "the Cananite" or "the Canaanite" is traditional and without contemporary extra-canonic parallel.

Brooklyn Museum - Saint Simon - James Tissot - overall
James Tissot – Saint Simon – Brooklyn Museum

Robert Eisenman has pointed out contemporary talmudic references to Zealots as kanna'im "but not really as a group — rather as avenging priests in the Temple".[5] Eisenman's broader conclusions, that the zealot element in the original apostle group was disguised and overwritten to make it support the assimilative Pauline Christianity of the Gentiles, are more controversial. John P. Meier points out that the term "Zealot" is a mistranslation and in the context of the Gospels means "zealous" or "jealous" (in this case, for keeping the Law of Moses), as the Zealot movement did not exist until 30 to 40 years after the events of the Gospels.[6] However, neither Brandon,[7] nor Hengel [8] support this view, both independently concluding that the revolt by Judas of Galilee, arising from the census of Quirinius in 6 AD, was the ultimate origin of the Jewish freedom movement, which developed via the "Fourth Philosophy" group into the Zealots, even by the time of Jesus. Both of these researchers suggest that "Simon Zelotes" was indeed a Zealot belonging to this movement, and perhaps that other disciples were also. However, Hengel (in particular) concluded that Jesus himself was not a zealot, as much of his teaching was actually contrary to Fourth Philosophy views.

Francesco moratti, san simone, entro nicchia disegnata dal borromini, 02
Statue of St. Simon in the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran by Francesco Moratti.

In the Gospels, Simon the Zealot is never identified with Simon the brother of Jesus mentioned in Mark 6:3:

3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him.

The Catholic Encyclopedia suggests that Simon the Zealot may be the same person as Simeon of Jerusalem or Simon the brother of Jesus. He could perhaps be the cousin of Jesus or a son of Joseph from a previous marriage.[9]

Another tradition holds that this is the Simeon of Jerusalem who became the second bishop of Jerusalem, although he was born in Galilee.[10][11]

Later tradition

St. Isidore of Seville drew together the accumulated anecdotes of St. Simon in De Vita et Morte.

According to the Golden Legend, which is a collection of hagiographies, compiled by Jacobus de Varagine in the thirteenth century "Simon the Cananaean and Judas Thaddeus were brethren of James the Less and sons of Mary Cleophas, which was married to Alpheus." [12][13]

In the apocryphal Arabic Infancy Gospel a fact related to this apostle is mentioned. A boy named Simon is bitten by a snake in his hand, he is healed by Jesus and told the child "you shall be my disciple". The mention ends with the phrase "this is Simon the Cananite, of whom mention is made in the Gospel."[14]

In later tradition, Simon is often associated with St. Jude as an evangelizing team; in Western Christianity, they share their feast day on 28 October. The most widespread tradition is that after evangelizing in Egypt, Simon joined Jude in Persia and Armenia or Beirut, Lebanon, where both were martyred in 65 AD. This version is the one found in the Golden Legend. He may have suffered crucifixion as the Bishop of Jerusalem.

One tradition states that he traveled in the Middle East and Africa. Christian Ethiopians claim that he was crucified in Samaria, while Justus Lipsius writes that he was sawn in half at Suanir, Persia.[2] However, Moses of Chorene writes that he was martyred at Weriosphora in Caucasian Iberia.[2] Tradition also claims he died peacefully at Edessa.[15] Another tradition says he visited Britain— In his 2nd mission to Britain, he arrived during 1st year of Boadicean War 60 AD. He was crucified May 10, 61AD by the Roman Catus Decianus, at Caistor, modern-day Lincolnshire, Britain, See The Drama of the Lost Disciples, p. 159 by George F. Jowett. Another, doubtless inspired by his title "the Zealot", states that he was a member of the group involved in the Jewish revolt against the Romans, which was brutally suppressed.[7][8]

The 2nd century Epistle of the Apostles (Epistula Apostolorum),[16] a polemic against gnostics, lists him among the apostles purported to be writing the letter (who include Thomas) as Judas Zelotes and certain Old Latin translations of the Gospel of Matthew substitute "Judas the Zealot" for Thaddeus/Lebbaeus in Matthew 10:3. To some readers, this suggests that he may be identical with the "Judas not Iscariot" mentioned in John 14:22: "Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Our Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?" As it has been suggested that Jude is identical with the apostle Thomas (see Jude Thomas), an identification of "Simon Zelotes" with Thomas is also possible. Barbara Thiering identified Simon Zelotes with Simon Magus, however this view has received no serious acceptance. The New Testament records nothing more of Simon, aside from this multitude of possible but unlikely pseudonyms. He is buried in the same tomb as St. Jude Thaddeus, in the left transept of the St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, under the altar of St. Joseph.

In art, Simon has the identifying attribute of a saw because he was traditionally martyred by being sawn in half.


St. Simon Kananaios cave Inside
St. Simon the Zealot's (Simon Kananaios) cave in Abkhazia, Georgia

Simon, like the other Apostles, is regarded as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Eastern Catholic Churches, the Anglican Church and the Lutheran Church.


Muslims accept Jesus as a prophet of Islam. The Qur'an also speaks of Jesus' disciples but does not mention their names, instead referring to them as "helpers to the work of God".[17] Muslim exegesis and Qur'an commentary, however, names them and includes Simon amongst the disciples.[18] Muslim tradition says that Simon was sent to preach the faith of God to the Berbers, outside North Africa.[19]

In the Gospel of Barnabas, a book dated to the late 16th century that recounts a life story of Jesus from an Islamic perspective, a list of the twelve apostles is registered. In this list the only apostle that does not match with one of the traditional apostles of Christianity is Simon the Zealot, naming in his place a person who identifies himself as Barnabas, who appears as author of the book.[20]

In popular culture


  1. ^ "St. Simon the Apostle" (in Italian). Blessed Saints and Witnesses. 2005-03-15. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e Jones, Terry H. "Saint Simon the Apostle". Retrieved 29 March 2010.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "This work [De viris illustribus], as he reveals at its start and finish, was completed in the fourteenth year of Theodosius, that is, between 19 January 392 and 18 January 393." A.D. Booth, "The Chronology of Jerome's Early Years," Phoenix 35 (1981), p.241.
  5. ^ Robert Eisenman, James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls. (Viking Penguin). 1997. :33–34.
  6. ^ Meier, John (2001). A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus Volume 3: Companions and Competitors. Yale University. pp. 132–135. ISBN 978-0-300-14032-3.
  7. ^ a b Brandon, S. G. F. (1967). Jesus and the Zealots. Manchester, England: Manchester University Press.
  8. ^ a b Hengel, Martin; Smith, David [translator] (1989). The Zealots. Edinburgh, Scotland: T&T Clark. ISBN 0 567 29372 6.
  9. ^ "The Brethren of the Lord". New Advent. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
  10. ^ St. Simon the Apostle, from the Catholic Encyclopedia
  11. ^ Appendix to the Works of Hippolytus 49.11
  12. ^ de Voragine, Jacobus (1275). The Golden Legend or Lives Of The Saints. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  13. ^ Stracke, Richard. Golden Legend: Life of SS. Simon and Jude. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  14. ^ The Arabic Gospel of the Infancy of the Saviour.
  15. ^ "St. Simon of Zealot". Catholic Online. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
  16. ^ "Epistula Apostolorum". Early Christian Writings. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
  17. ^ Qur'an 3:49–53
  18. ^ Historical Dictionary of Prophets In Islam And Judaism, Brandon M. Wheeler, Disciples of Christ: "Muslim exegesis identifies the disciples as Peter, Andrew, Matthew, Thomas, Philip, John, James, Bartholomew, and Simon"
  19. ^ Historical Dictionary of Prophets In Islam And Judaism, Brandon M. Wheeler, Disciples of Christ
  20. ^ "Gospel of Barnabas. Chapter 14: After the fast of forty days, Jesus chooseth twelve apostles". 3 July 2016. Retrieved 2016-07-03.

External links

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Caistor is a town and civil parish situated in the West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. As its name implies, it was originally a Roman castrum or fortress. It lies at the north-west edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds, on the Viking Way, and just off the A46 between Lincoln and Grimsby, at the A46, A1084, A1173 and B1225 junction. It has a population of 2,601. Its name comes from the Anglo-Saxon ceaster ("Roman camp" or "town") and was given in the Domesday Book as Castre.

Catholic Church in Abkhazia

The Catholic Church in Abkhazia is the third largest Christian denomination in the territory of the Republic of Abkhazia, which is part of the worldwide Catholic Church in communion with the Pope. Most Christians in Abkhazia are Orthodox, see Religion in Abkhazia. Due to Abkhazia's partial recognition, administration of Catholics comes from Catholic dioceses in Russia.

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Demetrius (biblical figure)

The name Demetrius occurs in two places in the Bible, both in the New Testament:

a Diana-worshipping silversmith who incited a riot against the Apostle Paul.

a disciple commended in 3 John 1:12. Possibly the bearer of the letters of 1, 2 and 3 John, Demetrius is commended to the early Christian leader Gaius (3 John 1:11) as one who upholds the truth of the Gospel, and as such should be welcomed and provided for.

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Judas the Zealot

The name Judas the Zealot (Judas Zelotes) is mentioned in the Epistle of the Apostles (Epistula Apostolorum), written in the 2nd century. He is usually identified with the Apostle Simon the Zealot, with whom he shares a surname, or with the Apostle Jude.

Bruce Metzger, in his Textual Commentary on the Greek NT, comments on Matthew 10:3:

"The name Judas Zelotes in several Old Latin manuscripts (compare also the same name in the fifth century mosaic in the great Baptistry at Ravenna) may be a further assimilation to the previous name in Luke's list, "Simon who was called the Zealot.""

Murray Salem

Murray Salem (January 12, 1950 in Cleveland, Ohio – January 6, 1998) Was an American television actor and screenwriter.

He appeared in a number of television shows as an actor, including the miniseries Jesus of Nazareth as Simon the Zealot. He wrote the script for the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger film Kindergarten Cop.

Murray Salem died in Los Angeles, California on January 6, 1998 from AIDS complications, six days before his 48th birthday.

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The National Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus or Saint Jude Parish (originally known as Espíritu Santo Chinese Parish), is one of three Chinese parishes established by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila in Metro Manila, Philippines.The shrine holds its novena service every Thursday to Saint Jude, whose traditional color is green. Its annual fiesta is held every October 28, the Feast of Saints Jude Thaddeus and Simon the Zealot. The shrine is popular with students and those reviewing for board examinations, as Jude Thaddeus is considered the patron saint of hopeless cases.The shrine is located at J.P. Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila which is inside the Malacañang Palace Complex. The current parish priest and shrine rector is Rev. Fr. Linus E. Nicasio, SVD. He is assisted by Rev. Fr. Christopher Ramirez, SVD and Rev. Fr. Yuhang Antonio Wang, SVD.

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Roman Catholic Diocese of Dumaguete

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The seat of the diocese is the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria which is located at the heart of the city of Dumaguete of Negros Oriental. Since its creation, there have been 4 bishops who have reigned over the diocese. The current Bishop is Most Rev. Julito Buhisan Cortes, D.D., S.Th.D., the first native of the diocese to become its bishop.

Saint-Simon-les-Mines, Quebec

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Simon, brother of Jesus

Simon is described in the New Testament as one of the brothers of Jesus (Greek: ἀδελφοὶ, romanized: adelphoi, lit. 'brothers').In Matthew 13:55, people ask concerning Jesus, "Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?" while in Mark 6:3 they ask, "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us?"

The Catholic Church defined that "brothers of Jesus" are not biological children of Mary, because of the dogma of the perpetual virginity of Mary, by virtue of which she rejects the idea that Simon and any other than Jesus Christ God could be a biological son of Mary, suggesting that the so-called Desposyni were either sons of Joseph from a previous marriage (in other words, step-brothers) or else were cousins of Jesus. The Catholic Encyclopedia suggests that Simon may be the same person as Simeon of Jerusalem or Simon the Zealot. Protestant interpreters who deny the perpetual virginity of Mary usually take Simon to have been a half-brother of Jesus.

James Tabor, in his controversial book The Jesus Dynasty, suggests that Simon was the son of Mary and Clophas. While Robert Eisenman suggests he was Simon Cephas (Simon the Rock), known in Greek as Peter (from petros = rock), who led the Jewish Christian community after the death of James in 62 CE.


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The municipality holds part of the Sossego Forest Biological Station.

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot

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Zealot (disambiguation)

Zealot (from Greek ζηλωτής - zelotes, "emulator, zealous admirer or follower") may refer to:

Zealotry, a movement in 1st century AD Judaism.

Zealot (Judaism), Jewish zealotry in the scriptures

Simon the Zealot, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ

Zealots of Thessalonica, a radical party in the mid-14th century Byzantine Empire

Zealots of Piety, in 17th century Russia

Zealot (Marvel Comics) a villain in the Marvel Comics universe

Zealot (Wildstorm), a Wildstorm Comics character

"Zealots", a song on Fugees' album The Score

Zealot, a Protoss foot soldier unit in the video game StarCraft

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, a book by Reza Aslan

Zealot (album), an album by Muslimgauze

Zealot (EP), an EP by Muslimgauze

"The Zealot", an alternate title for the U.S. publication of Simon Scarrow's novel "The Eagle in the Sand".


The Zealots were a political movement in 1st-century Second Temple Judaism, which sought to incite the people of Judea Province to rebel against the Roman Empire and expel it from the Holy Land by force of arms, most notably during the First Jewish–Roman War (66–70). Zealotry was the term used by Josephus for a "fourth sect" or "fourth Jewish philosophy" during this period.

New Testament people
Jesus Christ
Virgin Mary
See also
Seven Archangels
Other Saints

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