Home » Uncategorized » What Ever Happened to the Apostles? – Saint Simon the Less

What Ever Happened to the Apostles? – Saint Simon the Less


It’s been a little while since I posted, but I figured why not. Besides I need to finish this series at some point. With this post, half the Apostles are done. I’ll admit this may be a little shorter than others, both because of the lack of data and I spent less time on it. But hey, it’s another one done 😀

New Testament Data

Matthew 10.4 and Mark 3.18 calls Simon the Cananaean which probably comes the Aramaic word, qan’ānā’, which means ‘zeal’ or ‘zealous.’[1] It is likely why Luke (Lk. 6.15; Acts 1.13) simply calls him the Zealot.[2] In all four of his New Testament references then, Simon, is linked with the Zealots.[3]

This may point to his being a part of the Zealot party.[4] However, it’s uncertain how much of a coherent group of revolutionaries known the Zealots were around during the ministry of Christ. It should be noted that some scholars do see its beginning in 6 AD with Judas the Galilean and his “refusal to tolerate the Roman census.”[5]Others are uncertain, seeing no real clear reference to the group until 66 AD and the event surrounding Jerusalem’s fall.[6]

It therefore may be less about his  being a part of group and more about his political leanings that is “Simon was a zealous nationalist prior to his call to follow Jesus.”[7]

Christ’s choice of Simon is still, nevertheless, interesting when compared with his choice of Matthew, both would have been seen as the “opposite ends of the political spectrum.”[8]

Later Traditions

The truth is, little was written of Simon, not only in the four NT passages, but even among the apocryphal writings.[9]

The apocryphal work, the “Passion of Simon and Jude,” places him these two as ministering and facing martyrdom in Persia.[10]   But most like the Diatessaron, Acts of Thomas, and the Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, simply mention him in a listing among the twelve.

Later legends will make him one of the Shepherds that visited Christ, the Byzantine Church identieid him as Nathanael of Cana (Jn 21.2) while others thought he was one of the brothers (or cousins) of Jesus, along with Judas of James.[11]

Simon was also confused with Simon, son of Clopas (Jn 19.25) the second leader of the Jerusalem Church and this further makes it hard to figure out his later life.


While in the West, he was connected, again to Jude, and both were also associated with Persia and being martyred there.[12]

All of this to say, is that Simon like a few others, is even in tradition little more than a name. While history may have forgotten him, it may still be important to realize that he was a vital part of the early mission of the church, whatever that part was, and that his zeal, came to be a zeal for the gospel.


[1] M.J. Wilkins, “Disciples,” in DJD, 181.

[2] ODCC, s.v. “Simon, St, ‘the less

[3] T.R. Schreiner ISBE, Simon (NT), 4:515

[4] ODCC, s.v. “Simon, St, ‘the less

[5] ISBE, 515.


[7] M.J. Wilkins, “Disciples,” in DJD, 181.

[8] ISBE, 515.

[9] LBD

[10] ODCC, s.v. “Simon, St, ‘the less

[11] The Fate of the Apostles, 246.

[12] LBD


1 Comment

  1. Adrian Essigmann says:

    Great blog!

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