[St. Pachomius Library]

Holy Apostle Simon Zelotes

I Century
Little is known about this disciple of Jesus. Simon is sometimes called Simon the Less in contrast to Simon (or Simeon) the kinsman of the Lord. Zelotes has been interpreted variously: some believe that Simon was simply fervent in the faith, while others assert that he belonged to a party of Jews who adhered strictly to Mosaic law and who were a rebellious lot. Still others argue that zelotes means in Aramaic and Hebrew Canaanite, as Simon is called in some of the gospels. They say that he was a native of Cana in Galilee. Simon is sometimes associated with Nathaniel, another native of Cana, and/or with the bridegroom at marriage at Cana.

Simon is sometimes identified as Simeon, bishop of Jerusalem, who was crucified for preaching in Samaria. Legends from the Roman church say Simon was martyred in Persia with Jude. Greek legends tell of Simon's preaching in England, and the menaion of Basil the Great records that Simon died in peace at Edessa.

Karen Rae Keck


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