May 10, 2017

Synaxarion of the Holy Apostle Simon the Zealot

St. Simon the Zealot (Feast Day - May 10)


Fittingly O Christ the following was spoken by Simon,
I persevere in suffering with zeal Your passion on the Cross.
On the tenth great-hearted Simon was stretched out on the wood.

The Holy Apostle Simon was the same man known as Nathaniel,* from Cana of Galilee, and he was the groom at the wedding of Cana. The Lord was invited to this wedding with His disciples, and there He changed water into wine. When Simon saw this miracle, he left his bride and wedding and household, and followed Christ, the friend and wonderworker and bride-leader and bridegroom of pure souls.

He was one of the Seventy,** and was with the other Apostles in the upper room. Therefore he was filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, when He came to dwell in them on the day of Pentecost in the form on tongues of fire. As an Apostle he journeyed to many places in the inhabited world, and completely burned the entire error of polytheism. He went throughout Mauritania and the lands of Africa, preaching Christ. Later he arrived in Britain, where he enlightened many unbelievers with the light of the gospel. There he was crucified by the idolaters, and died and was buried.

He was called Zealot due to his great zeal, namely his fervent and excessive love towards Almighty God.***


* Some identify the Nathaniel mentioned in the Gospel of John with either Simon the Zealot or Bartholomew from the Synoptic Gospels. In the Gospel of John, Nathaniel is said to have been from Cana, which is why he is identified with Simon, who is also believed to have been from Cana, but most scholars believe Bartholomew to be the same as Nathaniel, leaving Simon to be an obscure disciple in the Gospels.

** The Synoptic Gospels number him among the Twelve Disciples, so it is not clear why he is here numbered among the Seventy.

*** To distinguish him from Simon Peter he is called Kananaios (Matthew 10:4) or Kananites (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 qana, meaning zealous, although Jerome and others mistook the word to signify the apostle was from the town of Cana, in which case his epithet would have been "Kanaios". Thus Kananaios and Kananites are Hebrew epithets equivalent to the Greek Zelotes, all of which mean "Zealot" and not the place of his origin.

Apolytikion in the Third Tone
Divine zeal possessed you when He Who became incarnate made Himself known to you; and were shown forth as a zealot among the apostles. And being zealous to emulate the Master in death, you departed unto Him through crucifixion. O glorious Simon, entreat Christ God, that we be granted great mercy.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
With praise let us all bless Simon, for he spake of God and planted the doctrines of wisdom securely in men's souls. And now he stands before the throne of glory and exalts with the incorporeal ones, interceding unceasingly for us all.

Burning with a holy and fervent zeal, O blessed apostle, you did prove eager to preach Christ's name even to the ends of the world, O zealous Simon, true herald of the kingdom and minister of grace.