Today our Church honors the Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles, the chosen disciples, and friends of the Lord, who became enlighteners of the world and founders of the ecclesiastical edifice. The Twelve Apostles represent the same number of tribes of Israel, which proves the completeness and universality of the evangelical preaching.
Their number, therefore, is symbolic since, as is well known, Jesus had many other disciples, men and women, the most famous of whom were the Seventy Apostles.
The names of the 12 disciples are Andrew and Peter sons of Jonah, James and John sons of Zebedee, Philip and Bartholomew or Nathanael, Matthew and James sons of Alphaeus, Thomas, Judas the Thaddaeus, Simon the Canaanite or Zealot, who succeeded by lot Judas Iscariot the traitor of Jesus Christ.
The study of their lives and actions shows that, after the day of Pentecost, and especially after the Apostolic Council of Jerusalem that took place in 49 AD, the Holy Apostles were scattered at the extremities of the Earth, to carry out the command of the Lord, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19).
In this endeavor, they suffered various persecutions and almost all of them eventually sacrificed their own lives. However, their work took root and became the foundation of our Holy Apostolic Orthodox Church.
Christians, and in fact our clergy and, above all, the Bishops, are the next of the Apostles. All together, clergy and people, as members of the body of the Church, we are called to keep the flame unquenchable and the legacy of the Apostolic tradition always pure and unadulterated in the Holy Spirit in our hearts.
Source: Church of Cyprus