apostle [Gr.,=envoy], one of the prime missionaries of Christianity. The apostles of the first rank are saints Peter, Andrew, James (the Greater), John, Thomas, James (the Less), Jude (or Thaddaeus), Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon, and Matthias (replacing Judas Iscariot). Traditionally the list of the Twelve Disciples includes Judas and not Matthias, and the list of the Twelve Apostles includes Matthias and not Judas. St. Paul is always classed as an apostle, and so sometimes are a few others, such as St. Barnabas. The principal missionary to any country is often called its apostle, e.g., St. Patrick is the apostle of Ireland, and St. Augustine of Canterbury the apostle of England. For the Apostles' Creed, see creed; for the Teaching of the Apostles, see Didache; for the earliest account of their activities, see Acts of the Apostles.

See E. J. Goodspeed, The Twelve: The Story of Christ's Apostles (1957, repr. 1962).

An apostle is a messenger and ambassador.

Apostle and apostles may also refer to:

In religion:

  • The Twelve Apostles, 12 of Jesus' disciples chosen by him and given "the Great Commission"
  • The Seventy Disciples, referred to as Seventy Apostles by the Orthodox Church
  • Apostle (Latter Day Saints), a position within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement
  • Chief Apostle, highest minister in the New Apostolic Church
  • Rasul, Islamic prophet or messenger, sometimes translated "apostle" (Muhammad is known as Rasūlullāh, "Apostle of God")

In art and entertainment:


  • Cambridge Apostles, a secret society at the University of Cambridge
  • Apostle Plant, the Neomarica genus of plants, which closely resemble irises
  • The Squad (IRA unit) also known as the Twelve Apostles, an Irish Republican Army unit founded by Michael Collins

See also

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