July 2009 letter
We are in the middle of the Apostles’ fast which will end on July 12th (5th of Abib), in commemoration of St. Peter and St. Paul.
Let us contemplate on these apostles who preached to the whole world and also shed their blood (all but St. John) in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ:
1) St. Peter: his name was Simon and was called by Jesus to be His disciple following the miracle of fishing on the Tiberius Lake (Luke 15: 1-11). He is one of the 3 close disciples to Jesus Christ, together with James and john, Zebedee’s sons. After the Pentecost he served in Judea, Galilee and Samaria, and was martyred in Rome in 64 A.D.
2) St. Andrew: St. Peter’s brother who started off as the disciple of St. John the Baptist. His mission was mainly in Asia Minor, and was martyred in one of the cities of Greece.
3) St. James (the elder): the brother of St. John and son of Zebedee, and is named the elder to differentiate between him and the other James the son of Alphaeus. He served in Judea and Samaria, and beheaded by Herod the king in the year 44 A.D. (Acts 12).
4) St. John (the beloved): the son of Zebedee, who took responsibility of St. Mary from our Lord when on the cross. When she departed he preached in Asia Minor.
5) St. James (son of Alphaeus): he was named the righteous due to his ascetic life, he was the first bishop of Jerusalem and headed the first council in 50 A.D. (Acts 15). He was martyred by the Jews by pushing him of the wall of the temple.
6) St. Philip: who preached to Persia and Asia Minor.
7) St. Bartholomew (Nathanael(: who preached in Yemen, and Armenia where he was martyred.
8) St. Thomas: who preached to Mesopotamia, Ethiopia and India, and was martyred there.
9) St. Matthew: originally was a tax collector, and preached in Judea, Ethiopia andPersia.
10) St. Judas (Thaddaeus): who wrote the epistle in the Bible carrying his name, and preached in Arabia and Persia.
11) St. Simon the Canaanite: preached in Syria and Mesopotamia.
12) St. Matthias: who took Judas’ place, and preached in Judea, Samaria and Asia Minor.
May the blessing of Saint Mary, the holy apostles, and Saint Mercurius be with us all.
Fr. Youssef Halim
Belleville, June 30, 2009