The Synaxis of the Holy, Glorious and All-Praised Twelve Apostles is commemorated on June 30. The Synaxis of the Glorious and All-Praiseworthy Twelve Apostles of Christ appears to be an ancient Feast. The Church honors each of the Twelve Apostles on separate dates during the year, and has established a general commemoration for all of them on the day after the commemoration of the Glorious and First-Ranked among the Apostles Peter and Paul.
Listed here are listed the twelve and some of the seventy.
The holy foremost-of-the-Apostles Peter (Simon) preached first in Judea and then in Antioch, in Bithynia, in Asia, in Cilicia, also throughout Italy and in Rome itself. In Rome, he was crucified head down by order of the Emperor Nero. The Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul, as the apostles who laboured more than all the others in preaching the Christian faith, are called the holy foremost-of-the-Apostles by the Holy Church.
The holy foremost-of-the-Apostles Paul (Saul) preached in many countries beginning in Jerusalem and ending in Rome, the capital of the world. In Rome, he was beheaded by Emperor Nero.
The holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called preached within the boundaries of what later became Russia. He erected a cross on a Kievan hill and predicted the future enlightenment of Russia by the Christian faith. He preached on the shores of the Black Sea and in other countries. In Byzantium, he ordained by the laying of hands on the bishop Stachys, one of the seventy disciples. In the city of Patras in Achaea (Greece), pagans crucified him on a cross formed in the shape of the letter X, which thus came to be known as the Cross of St. Andrew.
The holy Apostle James, the son of Zebedee, preached in Jerusalem and was the first of the apostles to suffer for Christ. On orders from the Judaean King Herod Agrippa, he was beheaded in Jerusalem.
The holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian after torture in Rome was sent in exile to the Isle of Patmos. St. John lived longer than all the other apostles and died peacefully in Asia, in the city of Ephesus. According to tradition, the apostle by his own desire was buried alive by his disciples. When, soon after burial, Christians came to open his grave, the body of St. John was not to be found.
The holy Apostle Philip preached in Asian countries with the Apostle Bartholomew and his sister Miriam. In Phrygia, a province of Asia Minor, in the city of Hierpolis, he met a martyr’s death. He was crucified head down.
The holy Apostle Bartholomew (Nathaniel) at first preached together with the Apostle Philip in Syria and Asia; after that, he went to India and translated the Gospel of Matthew into the Indian language. Later, he preached in Armenia where he suffered a martyr’s death in the city of Albanopolis.
The holy Apostle Thomas, called Didymus ("the twin"), preached in many Asiatic countries and went to India where he met a martyr’s end for Christ. He was pierced with spears and then beheaded with a sword.
The holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew preached for a long time in Judea and then in all parts of Ethiopia (later: Abyssinia, Nubia, Kordofan, Darfun; and now: Ethiopia and the Sudan). He was killed by the sword in one of the cities of ancient Ethiopia.
The holy Apostle James, the son of Alphaeus, preached in Syria, Egypt, and in other countries. In one of these, he was crucified on a cross suffering a martyr’s death for Christ.
The holy Apostle Judas [Jude], the brother of James, also called Thaddeus or Lebbaeus, preached in Judah, Galilee, Samaria, and Idumea, in Arabia, Syria, and Mesopotamia. In Persia, he was hung on a wooden cross and shot with arrows.
The holy Apostle Simon the Zealot, a Canaanite, preached in Mauritania in Africa. He was also in England (formerly called Britannia). For preaching faith in Christ, he was crucified on a cross, according to one source, in Georgia on the order of the Georgian King Aderhi; and according to another source — in Persia.
The holy Apostle Matthias was chosen from the seventy to take the place of the fallen Judas. He preached in Judea and in outer Ethiopia. Returning to Judea, he suffered for Christ being first stoned and then beheaded.
The holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark was from among the seventy apostles and laboured with the Apostle Peter. He also preached on the shores of the Adriatic Sea. He received a martyr’s end in Alexandria by being dragged behind a chariot along the stones in the city streets.
The holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke was from among the seventy apostles and laboured with the Apostle Paul. He later preached in Egypt and ended his spiritual feat with a martyr’s death by hanging.
The holy Apostle James the Righteous, one of the seventy, was the first bishop of Jerusalem as it was established by the Lord Himself. He is called the "Brother of the Lord." According to tradition, he was the son of Joseph the Betrothed by his first marriage. St. James was thrown from the roof of the Jerusalem Temple by the Jews and then killed by a blow on the head. This was about 62 A.D. The holy Apostle James was the first who to formulate the order of the Divine Liturgy, which was the foundation for liturgies by St. Basil the Great and St. John Chrysostom that we celebrate now. The Liturgy of St. James is now celebrated in Jerusalem and elsewhere on his feast day.
PRAYER ON THE FEAST OF THE SYNAXIS OF THE APOSTLES
O Almighty Master, Lord our God, Who didst choose Thy beloved Disciples and Apostles for the preaching of salvation to the whole world, and didst give them power to loose sins: accept their intercessions for the human race, which Thou wilt judge with them: for we, unworthy though we be, make bold to ask them to make entreaty for us, as Thy friends, and most honourable in our sight; for much availeth the prayer of the righteous for our souls' salvation. Ye holy Chief Apostles, Peter and Paul, Evangelists of Christ John the Theologian and Matthew, Andrew the First-Called [Disciple] who implanted the Cross as a blessing in Russia; ye holy Apostles James the Brother of the Lord, with the other James; Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Simon, Judah and Matthias! All ye holy Apostles, chosen of God, ye that were especially pleasing unto Christ, who rooted out godlessness and planted the True Faith, help us by your powerful intercession before the Lord, that we may be delivered from every evil and wile of the enemy; that we may be firm in keeping the Orthodox Faith committed unto you, in which [Faith], by your prayers, we be not lessened through wounds, nor curses, nor widespread mortality, nor by any wrath separated from our Creator; but living a peaceful life here, may be found worthy to see the good things in the Land of the Living, glorifying the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. amen!