The Meaning Behind the Names of the 12 Apostles

"The Name is the Icon of the Person"

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Names matter. For the Catholic Christian, who sees all of reality as replete with meaning, all the more so!

The Catechism tells us, “God calls each one by name. Everyone’s name is sacred. The name is the icon of the person. It demands respect as a sign of the dignity of the one who bears it” (CCC 2158).


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While postmodern existence would seek to rob us of this awareness of rich meaning all around us, it can be helpful to look back and be reminded of what men believed in times past. Often, these beliefs were anything but primitive superstition. They filled human experience with beauty, color, dimension, mystery… in short, with love.

The Bible is incredibly dense and layered with meaning, even on details which might seem superficial to the modern reader. We fail to grasp the awesomeness of what we don’t even know we don’t know! One such fascinating area of study is the names of people (called Onomastics) and places (known as Toponymy or toponomastics) in both the Old and New Testaments. Anthroponomastics is the study of personal names.¹


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Below, we present an infographic on the names of the 12 Apostles for your personal use, for instruction in your CCD class, Youth Group, Bible Study or wherever it may be helpful! (You can find other great resources, including more wonderful infographics like this, in the Catholic-Link Library).


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Names of the Apostles

Catholic-Link Library

If you find the topic of Onomastics interesting, you might like to dig deeper, here.

Names of the Apostles

Catholic Encyclopedia / newadvent.org

About Winifred Corrigan

Winifred Corrigan has written 45 post in this blog.

A writer and convert to Catholicism whose interests include education, philosophy, languages, literature, art, architecture, sacred music and - the beautiful game - soccer. She holds a special affection for the joy-filled apostle of common sense, G.K. Chesterton.

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