Saint Addai was the evangelizer of Edessa and is believed to be one of the Seventy Apostles of Christ, known to Eusebius of Caesarea as the Apostle Thaddeus of the Seventy. He is commemorated on August 21 and on January 4 with the Seventy.
St. Addai is purported by Eusebius to have visited King Abgar of Edessa, healing him and preaching to him. The Syriac account of this story is titled the Teaching of Addai, and there are questions about its historicity. The story possibly dates instead from the third century and may have been used in polemics against the Manichaean "apostle" also named Addai.
The Holy Thaddeus was by descent a Hebrew, and he was born in the Syrian city of Edessa. He was baptized by John the Forerunner in the Jordan River. St. Thaddeus was chosen by the Lord to be one of the Seventy Disciples, whom He sent by twos to preach in the cities and places where He intended to visit (Luke 10: 1).
He backed up his preaching with many miracles (about which Abgar wrote to the Assyrian emperor Nerses). He established priests in Edessa and built up the Church there. Abgar wanted to reward St. Thaddeus with rich gifts, but he refused and went preaching to other cities, converting many pagans to the Christian Faith. He went to the city of Beirut to preach, and founded a church there. It was in this city that he peacefully died in the year 44.
Troparion (Tone 3)
- Holy apostle Thaddeus of the Seventy;
- Entreat the merciful;
- To grant our souls forgiveness of transgressions.
Kontakion (Tone 4)
- The Church ever sees you as a shining star, O apostle Thaddeus,
- Your miracles have manifested great enlightenment.
- Therefore we cry out to Christ:
- "Save those who with faith honor Your apostle, O Most Merciful One."