apostle (əpŏs´əl) [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).The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.