Apostle Symbols

The narrow band windows at the rear of the Church just below the roofline have symbols representing the Apostles. This guide should help to recognize the symbols and perhaps why it represents the Apostle discussed.


Saint Andrew, the brother of Peter is said to have founded the church in Russia. He is the patron saint of both Russia and Scotland. Tradition holds that he was crucified in Greece on a cross saltire. Saint Andrew’s Day is November 30.

Saint Bartholomew probably preached near the border of India and Armenia. According to tradition, he was flayed alive, crucified and then beheaded. Saint Bartholomew’s Day is August 24.

James the Greater

Saint James the Greater was the brother of John and a son of Zebedee. He traditionally preached in Spain after working in Jerusalem. He was beheaded by Herod Agrippa. He is the only apostle whose death is recorded in Scripture (Acts 12:2). His shield shows a scallop (or cockle). Sometimes three shells are shown without the sword. Saint James the Greater’s  Day is July 25.

Saint James the Less (called "The Less" or "The Just") was a son of Alphaeus. He worked in and near Jerusalem and was probably the first bishop. An ancient historian claims that James was pushed from the pinnacle of the temple at age 96. Near death, he rose to ask forgiveness for his enemies, who then beat him with a fuller’s bat and sawed his body into pieces. St. James’ Day is May 1.

James the Less

Saint John was the bishop at Ephesus. He was exiled to Patmos and then returned. Tradition claims he was the only disciple to die a natural death, at great age. Various attempts were made on his life, including a poisoned chalice from which he was miraculously spared. St. John’s Day is December 27.

Saint Jude, also known as Thaddeus, is reputed to have traveled with Simon. Manner of dying is unknown but he and Simon were believed martyred together. St. Jude’s Day is October 28.


Saint Matthew was a son of Alphaeus and a tax collector, also known as Levi. Traditions hold that he went to Ethiopia after preaching to the Jews in Palestine. Traditional accounts of Matthew’s death vary. Some say he died a natural death. Others say that he was crucified in Ethiopia and was then beheaded. His shield displays three purses. St. Matthew’s Day is September 21.

Saint Matthias was the apostle chosen to take Judas place. Tradition holds that he worked in Judea or Ethiopia. He is said to have been stoned then beheaded. St. Matthias’ Day is February 24.


Saint Paul (Saul of Tarsus before his conversion) embarked on 3 missionary journeys that covered Syria, Cyprus, Asia Minor, Macedonia, Greece and elsewhere. He is the traditional author of 14 Epistles. Martyred in Rome 68 A.D. Described the Word of God as the "Sword of the Spirit." St. Paul’s Day is January 25.

Saint Peter (also Simon or Cephas) was the brother of Andrew. He became the leading apostle after Pentecost until the Council of Jerusalem in 50 A.D. Afterwards his whereabouts are not known with certainty. He was crucified in Rome under Nero. An ancient historian records that he asked to be crucified upside down because he felt unworthy to be crucified as his Lord. The keys represent Jesus’ saying, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven." St. Peter’s Day is June 29.


Saint Philip was reported as a missionary to Phrygia and Galatia. May have been martyred by crucifixion, or the spear, or bound to a cross and stoned to death. Two loaves of bread recall Philip’s comment at the feeding of the multitude recorded in John 6:7. St. Philip’s Day is May 1.

Saint Simon, also called Simon the Zealot. Nothing of his work can be verified. He may have accompanied Jude or worked east of Palestine. One historian claims he was martyred in Persia by being beheaded or sawn into pieces. His shield indicates that he was a fisher of men through preaching the gospel. St. Simon’s Day is October 28.


Saint Thomas was an evangelist in Persia and India. In India he reportedly built a church with his own hands. He died when shot with arrows, stoned, and left to die. A priest then ran a spear through him. St. Thomas’ Day is December 21.