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Apostle means "one who is sent". The Apostles of Jesus were His closest followers, His chosen twelve. During His ministry they were known as His disciples, but following the death and resurrection of Christ, they received the Holy Spirit and were transformed into messengers, commissioned to bring the gospel to all men.

The names of the Twelve Apostles were:

  • Simon, named Peter by Jesus
  • Andrew
  • James
  • John
  • Philip
  • Matthew
  • Bartholomew, who is sometimes identified with Nathaniel
  • Judas, also called Thaddeus
  • Simon the Zealot
  • James the son of Zebedee
  • Thomas
  • Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus.

Among the twelve, Peter, James and John were the three foremost. James and John were brothers, as were Peter and Andrew. After Judas betrayed Jesus, he was replaced by Matthias.

Although he was not one of the twelve, St Paul is known as the Apostle to the Gentiles, reflecting his pre-eminent role in spreading the Christian message after Jesus' ascension.

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