The name of Simon occurs in all the passages of the Gospel and Acts, in which a list of the Apostles is given. To distinguish him from Saint Peter he is called (Matthew 10:4; Mark 3:18) Kananaios, or Kananites, and Zelotes (Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13). Both surnames have the same signification and are a translation of the Hebrew qana (the Zealous). The name does not signify that he belonged to the party of Zealots, but that he had zeal for the Jewish law, which he practised before his call. Jerome and others wrongly assumed that Kana was his native place; were this so, he should have been called Kanaios. The Greeks, Copts, and Ethiopians identify him with Nathanael of Cana; the first-mentioned also identify him with the bridegroom of the marriage of Cana, while in the “Chronicon paschale” and elsewhere he is identified with Simon Clopas.
The Abyssinians accordingly relate that he suffered crucifixion as the Bishop of Jerusalem, after he had preached the Gospel in Samaria. Where he actually preached the Gospel is uncertain. Almost all the lands of the then known world, even as far as Britain, have been mentioned; according to the Greeks, he preached on the Black Sea, in Egypt, Northern Africa, and Britain, while, according to the Latin “Passio Simonis et Judae” – the author of which was (Lipsius maintains) sufficiently familiar with the history of the Parthian Empire in the first century – Simon laboured in Persia, and was there martyred at Suanir. However, Suanir is probably to be sought in Colchis. According to Moses of Chorene, Simon met his death in Weriosphora in Iberia; according to the Georgians, he preached in Colchis. His place of burial is unknown.
Concerning his relics our information is as uncertain as concerning his preaching. From Babylon to Rome and Toulouse we find traces of them; at Rome they are venerated under the Altar of the Crucifixion in the Vatican. His usual attribute is the saw, since his body was said to have been sawed to pieces, and more rarely the lance. He is regarded as the patron of tanners. In the Western Church he is venerated together with Jude (Thaddaeus); in the East separately. The Western Church keeps his feast on 28 October; the Greeks and Copts on 10 May.