Q. 1. I frequently hear the mention of Saint Jude among my Catholic friends. Does Saint Jude has a special role in the Catholic Church?
A. 1. First of all, it should be said that Jude is clearly distinguished from Judas Iscariot, another apostle and later the betrayer of Jesus. Both "Jude" and "Judas" are translations of the name ???da? in the Greek original New Testament, which in turn is a Greek variant of Judah (Y'hudah), a name which was common among Jews at the time. In most Bibles in languages other than English and French, Jude and Judas are referred to by the same name.
According to the New Testament, Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is generally identified with Thaddeus, and is also variously called Jude of James, Jude Thaddaeus, Judas Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus.
Reference to Saint Jude in found in the Gospel of Mark (3:18) and Matthew’s (10:3), where he is referred to as Thaddeus (a surname meaning “amiable or “loving”), possibly in part to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot, our Lord’s betrayer!
The Armenian Apostolic Church honors Thaddeus along with Saint Bartholomew as its patron saints. In the Roman Catholic Church, he is the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes.
He is also often shown in icons with a flame around his head. This represents his presence at Pentecost, when he received the Holy Spirit with the other apostles. Another common attribute is Jude holding an image of Jesus Christ, in the image of Edessa. In some instances, he may be shown with a scroll or a book (the Epistle of Jude) or holding a carpenter's rule.
St. Jude is said to have preached the gospel in such regions as Judea, Samaria, Libya, and Mesopotamia, before suffering martyrdom in Armenia, which was then part of Persia.