Recently at a bible study class a gentleman mentioned that in the Eastern Church, Judas, who betrayed Christ, is considered a saint. Another person said he didn’t believe that. I never heard of it and didn’t know what to think. I didn’t get a chance to ask the person later about it. I’m Roman Catholic and have much to learn about the Eastern Church. This site is very helpful!
No, Judas Iscariot is not considered a saint in the Eastern Church. Perhpas the gentleman was confusing this with the tradition of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which considers Pontius Pilate to be a saint.
Thank you Ryan Black. It just didn’t sound right to me. But why does the Ethiopian Orthodox Church consider Pontius Pilate a saint?
Their canonization of Pilate is based in their belief that he converted. I don’t know much beyond that, but I think this is from an account called The Acts of Pilate.
Interesting, I’m going to have to look that up now. The Ethopian Church has some odd beliefs including that they actually have the Ark of the Covenant.
I always wondered about Judas. Jesus had to be handed over to his enemies to be crucifed to fulfill God’s plan, and he knew ahead of time that Judas would do it. So Judas by acting out God’s plan, had to betray Jesus…so he followed the plan and ended up damned. It seems like a catch 22 a little to me.
It was once explained that Judas could have repented and been saved, but took his own life instead and that is why he was damned…I don’t know…Judas’ fate has always troubled me a little.
Very interesting. Thanks for the info Ryan.
It has always troubled me as well that Judas had to play his part, just as did Peter in his denial of Jesus, in order for us to be saved. Since Christ died for my sins as well, I also played a part. I read somewhere that perhaps in that instant between the act he committed of taking his own life, and his soul leaving his body, he was forgiven.
Well Judas never sought forgiveness for his sin. Peter and the other Apostles did. There is even a tradition that St. Mark the Evangelist was one of the disciples who abandoned Jesus in John 6. But Peter sought him afterwards and restored him to the faith (he repented and joined the Apostles again).
It is possible that Judas was not damned. We neither fully understand the extent of God’s mercy, nor do we fully know what was in Judas’s heart and soul before his own personal final judgement. If he was truly repentant, even at the last moment, he could very well be in heaven - even if we don’t acknowledge him as a saint (and I don’t think we should).
we dont know that he was damned…jesus forgave his own murderers…so whose to say he didnt forgive judas for killing himself…jesus forgave peter for denying him 3 times…maybe he forgave judas for betraying him…
we should never judge another person and make assumptions on whether they are damned…remember the bible says judge not lest ye be judged
Here is a relevant section from the non-canonical books upon which the Ethiopians base their veneration of “St Pontius Pilate”
Cæsar set himself to question Pilate; and he orders a captain named Albius to cut off Pilate’s head, saying: Just as he laid hands upon the just man named Christ, in like manner also shall he fall, and not find safety.
And Pilate, going away to the place, prayed in silence, saying: Lord, do not destroy me along with the wicked Hebrews, because I would not have laid hands upon Thee, except for the nation of the lawless Jews, because they were exciting rebellion against me. But Thou knowest that I did it in ignorance. Do not then destroy me for this my sin; but remember not evil against me, O Lord, and against Thy servant Procla, who is standing with me in this the hour of my death, whom Thou didst appoint to prophesy that Thou shouldest be nailed to the cross. Do not condemn her also in my sin; but pardon us, and make us to be numbered in the portion of Thy righteous.
And, behold, when Pilate had finished his prayer, there came a voice out of the heaven, saying: All the generations and families of the nations shall count thee blessed, because under thee have been fulfilled all those things said about me by the prophets; and thou thyself shall be seen as my witness at my second appearing, when I shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel, and those that have not owned my name. And the prefect struck off the head of Pilate; and, behold, an angel of the Lord received it. And his wife Procla, seeing the angel coming and receiving his head, being filled with joy herself also, immediately gave up the ghost, and was buried along with her husband. By the will and good pleasure of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, now and ever, and to ages of ages. Amen.
Well of course Claudia Procla who was Pilate’s wife is recognised as a Saint in the Eastern Orthodox Churches.
It is amazing how Westerners can ascribe all sorts of esoteric nonsense to the Christian East . . .
In one account by a Western visitor to Ethiopia, the author said he saw “icons of Alexander the Great and of St Balaam and his donkey.”
I’ve since learned from Ethiopian Orthodox Christians that there are converts to Ethiopian Orthodoxy from Islam who privately invoke Alexander the Great (as he is honoured in Islam as a prophet i.e. “Iskander”). Balaam is not venerated in the East, period.
In addition, one may see stained glass windows in many European cathedrals with images of Alexander the Great being taken up into heaven in a basket pulled by gryphons i.e. the “Ascension of Alexander.”
The “Romance of Alexander” was popular in the Middle Ages and he was portrayed as a Christian king etc.
As “Alexander” myself, I have a statue and some medallions of Alexander the Great, just to life my spirits when I feel down .
But all this hardly amounts to public liturgical veneration!
I don’t deny that does occur but Pilate is a saint in the Ethopian Orthodox Church and his wife considered a saint in Eastern Orthodoxy.
Something else to consider: Judas was acting according to God’s plan. Not arguing that his should be canonized. Just sayin.
Not to sound rude at all, but anyway, Our Lord has already told us such discussion is non of our business.
That is a very valid point.
As a Catholic, I don’t believe in predetermination. If Judas ended up damned, it is because he FREELY CHOSE to betray Jesus. God did not make up Judas’s mind for him.
You better believe in predestination. It is part of our teachings.
Predestination is not the same as Predetermination. I suppose a more accurate word would be fate.
There is also a certain understanding of predestination that is incompatible with Catholic teaching.