Saint James

Saint James the Great and Saint James the Less

Saint James (James the Great)

General Information

Together with his brother Saint John, Saint James was among the first disciples called by Jesus (Matt. 4:21). These sons of Zebedee, called the Boanerges ("Sons of Thunder"), joined the brothers Peter and Andrew, also fishermen by trade, in a close inner circle around Jesus. James, Peter, and John were the only disciples present, for example, at the Transfiguration (Luke 9) and near Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. James was martyred under Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12). According to legend, his bones were taken to Spain, and his shrine at Santiago de Compostela was one of the most important pilgrimage centers in the Middle Ages. Feast day: Apr. 30 (Eastern); July 25 (Western).

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Saint James (James the Lesser or James the Less or James the Little)

General Information

Saint James the Lesser was the Apostle James, son of Alphaeus and disciple of Jesus (Mark 3:18). His mother, Mary, was one of the women at the crucifixion and at the tomb (Matt. 10:3; 27:56, Mark 15:40; 16:1; Acts 1:13). This James is sometimes identified with James the "brother of Jesus," although this and other identifications are unproven. Feast day: Oct. 9 (Eastern); May 3 (Western, since 1969).


Saint James

Advanced Information

(Easton Illustrated Dictionary)


St. James the Greater

Catholic Information

(Hebrew Yakob; Septuagint Iakob; N.T. Greek Iakobos; a favourite name among the later Jews).

The son of Zebedee and Salome (Cf. Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40; 16:1). Zahn asserts that Salome was the daughter of a priest. James is styled "the Greater" to distinguish him from the Apostle James "the Less", who was probably shorter of stature. We know nothing of St. James's early life. He was the brother of John, the beloved disciple, and probably the elder of the two.

His parents seem to have been people of means as appears from the following facts.

Zebedee was a fisherman of the Lake of Galilee, who probably lived in or near Bethsaida (John 1:44), perhaps in Capharnaum; and had some boatmen or hired men as his usual attendants (Mark 1:20).

Salome was one of the pious women who afterwards followed Christ and "ministered unto him of their substance" (cf. Matthew 27:55, sq.; Mark 15:40; 16:1; Luke 8:2 sq.; 23:55-24:1).

St. John was personally known to the high-priest (John 18:16); and must have had wherewithal to provide for the Mother of Jesus (John 19:27).

It is probable, according to Acts 4:13, that John (and consequently his brother James) had not received the technical training of the rabbinical schools; in this sense they were unlearned and without any official position among the Jews. But, according to the social rank of their parents, they must have been men of ordinary education, in the common walks of Jewish life. They had frequent opportunity of coming in contact with Greek life and language, which were already widely spread along the shores of the Galilean Sea.

Relation of St. James to Jesus

Some authors, comparing John 19:25 with Matthew 28:56 and Mark 15:40, identify, and probably rightly so, Mary the Mother of James the Less and of Joseph in Mark and Matthew with "Mary of Cleophas" in John. As the name of Mary Magdalen occurs in the three lists, they identify further Salome in Mark with "the mother of the sons of Zebedee" in Matthew; finally they identify Salome with "his mother's sister" in John. They suppose, for this last identification, that four women are designated by John 19:25; the Syriac "Peshito" gives the reading: "His mother and his mother's sister, and Mary of Cleophas and Mary Magdalen." If this last supposition is right, Salome was a sister of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and James the Greater and John were first cousins of the Lord; this may explain the discipleship of the two brothers, Salome's request and their own claim to the first position in His kingdom, and His commendation of the Blessed Virgin to her own nephew. But it is doubtful whether the Greek admits of this construction without the addition or the omission of kai (and). Thus the relationship of St. James to Jesus remains doubtful.

His life and apostolate

The Galilean origin of St. James in some degree explains the energy of temper and the vehemence of character which earned for him and St. John the name of Boanerges, "sons of thunder" (Mark 3:17); the Galilean race was religious, hardy, industrious, brave, and the strongest defender of the Jewish nation. When John the Baptist proclaimed the kingdom of the Messias, St. John became a disciple (John 1:35); he was directed to "the Lamb of God" and afterwards brought his brother James to the Messias; the obvious meaning of John 1:41, is that St. Andrew finds his brother (St. Peter) first and that afterwards St. John (who does not name himself, according to his habitual and characteristic reserve and silence about himself) finds his brother (St. James). The call of St. James to the discipleship of the Messias is reported in a parallel or identical narration by Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:19 sq.; and Luke 5:1-11. The two sons of Zebedee, as well as Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew with whom they were in partnership (Luke 5:10), were called by the Lord upon the Sea of Galilee, where all four with Zebedee and his hired servants were engaged in their ordinary occupation of fishing. The sons of Zebedee "forthwith left their nets and father, and followed him" (Matthew 4:22), and became "fishers of men". St. James was afterwards with the other eleven called to the Apostleship (Matthew 10:1-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16; Acts 1:13). In all four lists the names of Peter and Andrew, James and John form the first group, a prominent and chosen group (cf. Mark 13:3); especially Peter, James, and John. These three Apostles alone were admitted to be present at the miracle of the raising of Jairus's daughter (Mark 5:37; Luke 8:51), at the Transfiguration (Mark 9:1; Matthew 17:1; Luke 9:28), and the Agony in Gethsemani (Matthew 26:37; Mark 14:33). The fact that the name of James occurs always (except in Luke 8:51; 9:28; Acts 1:13 -- Greek Text) before that of his brother seems to imply that James was the elder of the two. It is worthy of notice that James is never mentioned in the Gospel of St. John; this author observes a humble reserve not only with regard to himself, but also about the members of his family. Several incidents scattered through the Synoptics suggest that James and John had that particular character indicated by the name "Boanerges," sons of thunder, given to them by the Lord (Mark 3:17); they were burning and impetuous in their evangelical zeal and severe in temper. The two brothers showed their fiery temperament against "a certain man casting out devils" in the name of the Christ; John, answering, said: "We [James is probably meant] forbade him, because he followeth not with us" (Luke 9:49). When the Samaritans refused to receive Christ, James and John said: "Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them?" (Luke 9:54; cf. 9:49).

His martyrdom

On the last journey to Jerusalem, their mother Salome came to the Lord and said to Him: "Say that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom" (Matthew 20:21). And the two brothers, still ignorant of the spiritual nature of the Messianic Kingdom, joined with their mother in this eager ambition (Mark 10:37). And on their assertion that they are willing to drink the chalice that He drinks of, and to be baptized with the baptism of His sufferings, Jesus assured them that they will share His sufferings (Mark 5:38-39).

James won the crown of martyrdom fourteen years after this prophecy, A.D. 44. Herod Agrippa I, son of Aristobulus and grandson of Herod the Great, reigned at that time as "king" over a wider dominion than that of his grandfather. His great object was to please the Jews in every way, and he showed great regard for the Mosaic Law and Jewish customs. In pursuance of this policy, on the occasion of the Passover of A.D. 44, he perpetrated cruelties upon the Church, whose rapid growth incensed the Jews. The zealous temper of James and his leading part in the Jewish Christian communities probably led Agrippa to choose him as the first victim. "He killed James, the brother of John, with the sword." (Acts 12:1-2). According to a tradition, which, as we learn from Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., II, ix, 2, 3), was received from Clement of Alexandria (in the seventh book of his lost "Hypotyposes"), the accuser who led the Apostle to judgment, moved by his confession, became himself a Christian, and they were beheaded together. As Clement testifies expressly that the account was given him "by those who were before him," this tradition has a better foundation than many other traditions and legends respecting the Apostolic labours and death of St. James, which are related in the Latin "Passio Jacobi Majoris", the Ethiopic "Acts of James", and so on.

St. James in Spain

The tradition asserting that James the Greater preached the Gospel in Spain, and that his body was translated to Compostela, claims more serious consideration. According to this tradition St. James the Greater, having preached Christianity in Spain, returned to Judea and was put to death by order of Herod; his body was miraculously translated to Iria Flavia in the northwest of Spain, and later to Compostela, which town, especially during the Middle Ages, became one of the most famous places of pilgrimage in the world. The vow of making a pilgrimage to Compostela to honour the sepulchre of St. James is still reserved to the pope, who alone of his own or ordinary right can dispense from it. In the twelfth century was founded the Order of Knights of St. James of Compostela.

With regard to the preaching of the Gospel in Spain by St. James the greater, several difficulties have been raised:

St. James suffered martyrdom A.D. 44 (Acts 12:2), and, according to the tradition of the early Church, he had not yet left Jerusalem at this time (cf. Clement of Alexandria, "Strom.", VI; Apollonius, quoted by Eusebius, "Hist. Eccl." VI, xviii).

St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans (A.D. 58) expressed the intention to visit Spain (Romans 15:24) just after he had mentioned (15:20) that he did not "build upon another man's foundation."

The argument ex silentio: although the tradition that James founded an Apostolic see in Spain was current in the year 700, no certain mention of such tradition is to be found in the genuine writings of early writers nor in the early councils; the first certain mention we find in the ninth century, in Notker, a monk of St. Gall (Martyrol., 25 July), Walafried Strabo (Poema de XII Apost.), and others.

The tradition was not unanimously admitted afterwards, while numerous scholars reject it. The Bollandists however defended it (see Acta Sanctorum, July, VI and VII, where other sources are given).

The authenticity of the sacred relic of Compostela has been questioned and is still doubted. Even if St. James the Greater did not preach the Christian religion in Spain, his body may have been brought to Compostela, and this was already the opinion of Notker. According to another tradition, the relics of the Apostle are kept in the church of St-Saturnin at Toulouse (France), but it is not improbable that such sacred relics should have been divided between two churches. A strong argument in favour of the authenticity of the sacred relics of Compostela is the Bull of Leo XIII, "Omnipotens Deus," of 1 November, 1884.

Publication information Written by A. Camerlynck. Transcribed by Paul T. Crowley. Dedicated to Mr. James Fogerty, Mr. James Horne, Mr. James Montemarano, and Mr. James Thomas and Families The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. Published 1910. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York


St. James the Less

Catholic Information

THE IDENTITY OF JAMES

The name "James" in the New Testament is borne by several:

James, the son of Zebedee -- Apostle, brother of John, Apostle; also called "James the Greater".

James, the son of Alpheus, Apostle -- Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13.

James, the brother of the Lord -- Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Galatians 1:19.

Without a shadow of doubt, he must be identified with the James of Galatians 2:2 and 2:9; Acts 12:17, 15:13 sqq. and 21:18; and I Corinthians 15:7.

James, the son of Mary, brother of Joseph (or Joses) -- Mark 15:40 (where he is called ò mikros "the little", not the "less", as in the D.V., nor the "lesser"); Matthew 27:56. Probably the son of Cleophas or Clopas (John 19:25) where "Maria Cleophæ" is generally translated "Mary the wife of Cleophas", as married women are commonly distinguished by the addition of their husband's name.

James, the brother of Jude -- Jude 1:1. Most Catholic commentators identify Jude with the "Judas Jacobi", the "brother of James" (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13), called thus because his brother James was beter known than himself in the primitive Church.

The identity of the Apostle James (2), the son of Alpheus and James (3), the brother of the Lord and Bishop of the Church of Jerusalem (Acts 15, 21), although contested by many critics and, perhaps, not quite beyond doubt, is at least most highly probable, and by far the greater number of Catholic interpreters is considered as certain (see BRETHREN OF THE LORD, where the chief argument, taken from Galatians 1:19, in favour of the Apostleship of St. James the brother of the Lord, is to be found). The objection moved by Mader (Biblische Zeitschrift, 1908, p. 393 sqq.) against the common statement that "Apostles" in Galatians 1:19 is to be taken strictly in the sense of the "Twelve" has been strongly impugned by Steinmann (Der Katholik, 1909, p. 207 sqq.). The James (5) of Jude 1:1 must certainly be identified with James (3), the brother of the Lord and the Bishop of Jerusalem. The identification of James (3), the brother of the Lord and James (4), the son of Mary, and probably of Cleophas or Clopas offers some difficulty. This identification requires the identity of Mary, the mother of James (Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40), with Mary the wife of Cleophas (John 19:25), and, consequently, the identity of Alpheus (2) and Clopas (4). As Clopas and Alpheus are probably not two different transcriptions of the same Aramaic name Halpai (see CLEOPHAS), it must be admitted that two different names have been borne by one man. Indeed, there are several examples of the use of two names (a Hebrew and a Greek or Latin name) to designate the same person (Simon-Petrus; Saulus-Paulus), so that the identity of Alpheus and Cleophas is by no means improbable.

On the whole, although there is no full evidence for the identity of James (2), the son of Alpheus, and James (3), the brother of the Lord, and James (4), the son of Mary of Clopas, the view that one and the same person is described in the New Testament in these three different ways, is by far the most probable. There is, at any rate, very good ground (Galatians 1:19, 2:9, 2:12) for believing that the Apostle James, the son of Alpheus is the same person as James, the brother of the Lord, the well-known Bishop of Jerusalem of the Acts. As to the nature of the relationship which the name "brother of the Lord" is intended to express, see BRETHREN OF THE LORD.

JAMES IN THE SCRIPTURES

Had we not identified James, the son of Alpheus with the brother of the Lord, we should only know his name and his Apostleship. But the identity once admitted, we must consequently apply to him all the particulars supplied by the books of the New Testament. We may venture to assert that the training of James (and his brother Jude), had been that which prevailed in all pious Jewish homes and that it was therefore based on the knowledge of the Holy Scripture and the rigorous observance of the Law. Many facts point to the diffusion of the Greek language and culture throughout Judea and Galilee, as early as the first century B.C.; we may suppose that the Apostles, at least most of them, read and spoke Greek as well as Aramaic, from their childhood. James was called to the Apostolate with his brother Jude; in all the four lists of the Apostles, he stands at the head of the third group (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13). Of James individually we hear no more until after the Resurrection. St. Paul (1 Corinthians 15:5-7) mentions that the Lord appeared to him before the Ascension.

Then we lose sight of James till St. Paul, three years after his conversion (A.D. 37), went up to Jerusalem. Of the Twelve Apostles he saw only Peter and James the brother of the Lord (Galatians 1:19; Acts 9:27). When in the year 44 Peter escaped from prison, he desired that news of his release might be carried to James who held already a marked preeminence in the Church of Jerusalem (Acts 12:17). In the Council of Jerusalem (A.D. 51) he gives his sentence after St. Peter, declaring as Peter had done, that the Gentile Christians are not bound to circumcision, nor to the observance of the ceremonial Mosaic Law, but at the same time, he urged the advisability of conforming to certain ceremonies and of respecting certain of the scruples of their Jewish fellow-Christians (Acts 15:13 sqq.). On the same occasion, the "pillars" of the Church, James, Peter, and John "gave to me (Paul) and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the Gentiles, and they unto the circumcision" (Galatians 2:9). He publicly commended the great charter of Gentile freedom from the Law, although he still continued the observance in his own life, no longer as a strict duty, but as an ancient, most venerable and national custom, trusting to "be saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 15:11). When afterwards some came from James to Antioch and led Peter into dissimulation (Galatians 2:12), his name was used by them, though he had given them no such commandment to enforce their interpretation of the concordat which, on his proposal, had been adopted at the Council of Jerusalem. When St. Paul after his third missionary journey paid a visit to St. James (A.D. 58), the Bishop of Jerusalem and "the elders" "glorified the Lord" and advised the Apostle to take part in the ceremonies of a Nazarite vow, in order to show how false the charge was that he had spoken of the Law as no longer to be regarded. Paul consented to the advice of James and the elders (Acts 21:1 sqq.). The Epistle of St. James reveals a grave, meek, and calm mind, nourished with the Scriptures of the Old Testament, given to prayer, devoted to the poor, resigned in persecution, the type of a just and apostolic man.

JAMES OUTSIDE OF THE SCRIPTURES

Traditions respecting James the Less are to be found in many extra-canonical documents, especially Josephus (Antiq., XX, ix, 1), the "Gospel according to the Hebrews" (St. Jerome, De vir. ill., II), Hegesippus (Eusebius, "Hist. eccl.", II, xxiii), the pseudo-Clementine Homilies (Ep. of Peter) and Recognitions (I, 72, 73), Clement of Alexandria (Hypot., vi, quoted by Eusebius, "Hist. eccl.", II, i). The universal testimony of Christian antiquity is entirely in accordance with the information derived from the canonical books as to the fact that James was Bishop of the Church of Jerusalem. Hegesippus, a Jewish Christian, who lived about the middle of the second century, relates (and his narrative is highly probable) that James was called the "Just", that he drank no wine nor strong drink, nor ate animal food, that no razor touched his head, that he did not anoint himself or make use of the bath, and lastly that he was put to death by the Jews. The account of his death given by Josephus is somewhat different. Later traditions deserve less attention.

Publication information Written by A. Camerlynck. Transcribed by WGKofron. With thanks to St. Mary's Church, Akron, Ohio The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. Published 1910. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

Bibliography

For bibliography see EPISTLE OF SAINT JAMES; Protoevangelium Jacobi and Liturgy of St. James.


Apostle James (son of Zebedee)

Orthodox Information

(This information may not be of the scholastic quality of the other articles in BELIEVE. Since few Orthodox scholarly articles have been translated into English, we have had to rely on Orthodox Wiki as a source. Since the Wikipedia collections do not indicate the author's name for articles, and essentially anyone is free to edit or alter any of their articles (again, without any indication of what was changed or who changed it), we have concerns. However, in order to include an Orthodox perspective in some of our subject presentations, we have found it necessary to do this. At least until actual scholarly Orthodox texts are translated from the Greek originals!)

The holy, glorious, all-laudable Apostle James was a son of Zebedee, the brother of the Apostle John and a fisherman. The Church remembers St. James on April 30, and on June 30 among the Twelve.

At the invitation of Jesus he left his nets to follow him and is counted among the Twelve Great Apostles. Belonging to Christ's 'inner circle', James was present on Mount Tabor for Christ's transfiguration and also for his suffering in the garden of Gethsemane. Following Pentecost, St. James preached in Spain, and upon his return to Jerusalem the Jews would argue with him vehemently concerning the Holy Scriptures. None could withstand his wisdom, however.

Seeing this the Jews slandered him before Herod and among some false witnesses there was a certain Josias. But in hearing St. James' testimony, Josias believed and was condemned to death with James. Before the axe fell, St. James embraced and kissed this repentant false witness and said, "Peace and forgiveness to you!" St. James was martyred in the year 45 AD. His body was translated to Spain where his relics continue to work miracles even to this day.

Hymns

Troparion (Tone 8) [1]

As a soldier of the Lord you were ranked among the choir of apostles.
Together with your brother, O James, you clung wholeheartedly to the Savior.
Armed with the power of the Spirit you preached him to all and were slain by the sword.
Therefore we sing your praises!

Troparion (Tone 3)

You were a chosen apostle of Christ
And the only brother of the beloved Theologian.
Most praised James, ask remission of sins and great mercy
For those who sing hymns to you.

Kontakion (Tone 2)

You heard the voice of God calling you
And turned away from the love of your father.
With your brother you hastened after Christ, O glorious James.
With him, you were counted worthy to behold the Lord's divine Transfiguration!

Source

St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid

External links

Apostle James the Brother of St John the Theologian, April 30 (OCA)
Apostle James, the Son of Zebedee, June 30 (OCA)
James the Apostle & brother of St. John the Theologian (GOARCH)


Apostle James (Son of Alphaeus)

Orthodox Information

(This information may not be of the scholastic quality of the other articles in BELIEVE. Since few Orthodox scholarly articles have been translated into English, we have had to rely on Orthodox Wiki as a source. Since the Wikipedia collections do not indicate the author's name for articles, and essentially anyone is free to edit or alter any of their articles (again, without any indication of what was changed or who changed it), we have concerns. However, in order to include an Orthodox perspective in some of our subject presentations, we have found it necessary to do this. At least until actual scholarly Orthodox texts are translated from the Greek originals!)

The Holy Apostle James was the son of Alphaeus and one of the twelve. He was the brother of the holy Evangelist Matthew. The Church commemorates the Apostle James on October 9, and on June 30 with the Synaxis of the Glorious and All-Praiseworthy Twelve Apostles of Christ.

James heard the Lord's words and witnessed his miracles. After the Descent of the Holy Spirit the Apostle James, Alphaeus, and the Apostle Andrew the First-Called (November 30) made missionary journeys throughout Judea, Edessa, Gaza, and Eleutheropolis, proclaiming the Gospel, healing all sorts of sickness and disease, and converting many to the path of salvation. St James finished his apostolic work in the Egyptian city of Ostrachina, where he was crucified by the pagans.

Hymns

Troparion (Tone 3)

Holy Apostle James,
entreat the merciful God
to grant our souls forgiveness of transgressions.

Kontakion (Tone 2)

Let us bless James, praising him as the messenger of God,
for he filled the souls of the pious with wise dogmas.
Standing at the throne of glory before the Master,
he rejoices with all the angels unceasingly praying for us all.

Source

Apostle James the Son of Alphaeus, October 9 (OCA)

External links

Apostle James, the Son of Alphaeus, June 30 (OCA)
James the Apostle, son of Alphaeus (GOARCH)


St. James (the Greater)

Coptic Orthodox Information

James - this is the English equivalent of the Hebrew name Jacob - was the son of Zebedee and Salome (Matthew 20:20; 27:56; Mark 15:40; 16:1). He the brother of John and was an early disciple of Jesus. James is sometimes called James "Major," James the Greater, because there was another James among the Twelve. The designation "Great" can have a variety of meanings possible - he might have been bigger than the other James or older or better known.

He can also be distinguished from the other James by parentage, James, the son of Zebedee. Since this James is never recorded as saying anything apart from his brother, he has been called the "Silent Disciple." He was a fisherman, along with John, on the Sea of Galilee. He was from Bethsaida (Mark 1:16-24) and probably lived in Capernaum (Mark 1:21,29). When Jesus called him into discipleship, he left his father Zebedee, as well as his business. Since they had a fishing boat and hired servants, it appears that James was from a wealthy family (Mark 1:19-20).

James is considered part of the "inner circle" of Jesus' disciples, along with John and Peter.

Characteristics of This Disciple

Jesus called James and John, Boanerges, "sons of thunder" (Mark 3:17). This was probably a reference to their bold and aggressive personalities. They had an "attitude" which we can see in their desire to call down fire from heaven to destroy the people in a Samaritan village who had refused to allow Jesus and his disciples to pass through on their way to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51-56).

It comes as no surprise that there is too much bad feeling in our world today, even within the Christian church. When we don't like what people say or do, we get upset with them. We may finally get so irritated with sinners that we might give up on them. "Let them burn in hell, if they don't want to go to heaven." Jesus encourages us not to give up. Let God take care of judgment in his own time.

On one occasion James, together with his brother, drew the anger of the other disciples. They approached Jesus and asked for prominent positions in his kingdom. (Matthew's account has their mother asking Jesus for positions of power.) They insisted that they were ready and willing to endure whatever hardships necessary. It was against this background of human ambition that Jesus explained the proper goal in his kingdom. It was not authority over others, rather service to them. (Mark 10:35-45; Matthew 20:20-28) Once again the disciples remind us that there can be too many petty quarrels and arguments in the church. Pride and selfishness can turn people off and drive them away. People expect the church to be a fellowship of Christian love. Unfortunately, we sometimes let our "bad side" show too clearly.

James can be admired for his commitment to Jesus and his willingness to suffer for the sake of the kingdom. James proved true to his claim that he was able to suffer by becoming the first martyr among the apostles. He was "put to death with the sword" (Acts 12:2) by King Herod Agrippa I about 44 AD. At the same time James was ambitious for the wrong things. His mind was on the things of men rather than the thing of God.

Being a disciple of Jesus means following him where humans don't normally want to go. It is natural for us to think of ourselves and to look for personal gain. Jesus calls us to think of others first and to seek their good above our own.

The symbol for James is three seashells. They represent his travels as an apostle. Other symbols for this apostle - the pilgrim's hat, a gourd bottle or a staff- also portray his travels. Scallop shells were supposed to be the symbol of pilgrimage and represented the apostle's zeal and missionary spirit. Pilgrims used shells for cups, spoons and dishes.

James F. Korthals


St. James (the Lesser)

Coptic Orthodox Information

We have already met one James, the brother of John, and the son of Zebedee. This James is a lesser known member of the Twelve - he is known by a variety of nicknames in order to distinguish him from the other James. James the Lesser, describing his stature among the disciples or his physical stature, or James the Younger or James, the son of Alphaeus, are the usual designations. This James was the son of Alphaeus. From a comparison of John 19:25 and Mark 15:40 it would seem that Mary the wife of Clopas was the mother of James and that Clopas was Alphaeus. James' mother was probably one of the Marys who went to the tomb on Easter morning. Alphaeus was also the name of Matthew's father. Nowhere, however, are we told that Matthew and James were brothers.

Characteristics of This Disciple

There is little known about James the Less. He appears on all the lists of the Twelve, but there are no accounts which speak of him as an individual. As a result, some have referred to him as "the forgotten follower." Since no believer is ever "forgotten" by the Lord, it would seem more fitting simply to call him an "unsung saint." When it gets down to what is really important, what more needs to be said than "he was a disciple of Jesus." It has been suggested that this James might be the author of the New Testament epistle of the same name. There are a number of candidates for that position. Although James could be considered, it seems more likely that the author was James the brother of Jesus and the leader of the church at Jerusalem. Outside of Scripture, an item about James that has been passed down through tradition is the report that he may have traveled to Spain to preach to the Jews in bondage there. It is said that he then traveled back to Jerusalem where he was stoned to death for preaching Jesus to the Jews. The symbol for James the Less is the saw. According to some traditions James was sawed in half; other insist the head of James was cut from his body with a saw after his death. The latter tradition says he was killed by a fuller's pole when Simeon the Fuller gave him a blow to the head. As a result, the fuller's pole sometimes is incorporated into his symbol.
Also, see:
Epistle of James

Apostles


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