Saint Brigid Religious Education
100 Mayflower Street
West Hartford, CT 06110
Feast day: February 18
In St. Matthew's Gospel, we read of St. Simon or Simeon who is described
as one of our Lord's brethren or kinsmen. His father was Cleophas, St.
Joseph's brother, and his mother, according to some writers, was our
Lady's sister. He would therefore be our Lord's first cousin and is
supposed to have been about eight years older than He. No doubt he is
one of those brethren of Christ who are mentioned in the Acts of the
Apostles as having received the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
St. Epiphanius says that when the Jews massacred St. James the Lesser,
his brother Simeon upbraided them for their cruelty. The apostles and
disciples afterwards met together to appoint a successor to James as
bishop of Jerusalem, and they unanimously chose Simeon, who had probably
assisted his brother in the government of that church.
In the year 66 civil war broke out in Palestine, as a consequence of
Jewish opposition to the Romans. The Christians in Jerusalem were warned
of the impending destruction of the city and appear to have been
divinely ordered to leave it. Accordingly that same year, before
Vespasian entered Judaea, they retired with St. Simeon at their head to
the other side of the Jordan, occupying a small city called Pella.
After the capture and burning of Jerusalem, the Christians returned and
settled among the ruins until the Emperor Hadrian afterwards entirely
razed it. We are told by St. Epiphanius and by Eusebius that the church
here flourished greatly, and that many Jews were converted by the
miracles wrought by the saints. When Vespasian and Domitian had ordered
the destruction of all who were of the race of David, St. Simeon had
escaped their search, but when Trajan gave a similar injunction, he was
denounced as being not only one of David's descendants, but also a
Christian, and he was brought before Atticus, the Roman governor.
He was condemned to death and, after being tortured, was crucified.
Although he was extremely old, tradition reports him to have attained
the age of 120 - Simeon endured his sufferings with a degree of
fortitude which roused the admiration of Atticus himself. His feast day
is February 18.