Commemorated on April 30
The Holy Apostle James, the son of Zebedee, was the brother of St
John the Theologian, and one of the Twelve Apostles. He and his
brother, St John, were called to be Apostles by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who called them the “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17). It was this James,
with John and Peter, who witnessed the Raising of the Daughter of
Jairus, the Lord’s Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, and His agony in the
Garden of Gethsemane.
St James, after the Descent of the Holy
Spirit, preached in Spain and in other lands, and then he returned to
Jerusalem. He openly and boldly preached Jesus Christ as the Savior of
the world, and he denounced the Pharisees and the Scribes with the words
of Holy Scripture, reproaching them for their malice of heart and
The Jews could not prevail against St James, and so
they hired the sorcerer Hermogenes to dispute with the apostle and
refute his arguments that Christ was the promised Messiah Who had come
into the world. The sorcerer sent to the apostle his pupil Philip, who
was converted to belief in Christ. Then Germogenes himself became
persuaded of the power of God. He burned his books of magic, accepted
holy Baptism and became a true follower of Christ.
persuaded Herod Agrippa (40-44) to arrest the Apostle James and sentence
him to death (Acts 12:1-2). Eusebius provides some of the details of
the saint’s execution (CHURCH HISTORY II, 9). St James calmly heard the
death sentence and continued to bear witness to Christ. One of the false
witnesses, whose name was Josiah, was struck by the courage of St
James. He came to believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah. When they led
the apostle forth to execution, Josiah fell at his feet, repenting of
his sin and asking forgiveness. The apostle embraced him, gave him a
kiss and said, “Peace and forgiveness to you.” Then Josiah confessed his
faith in Christ before everyone, and he was beheaded with St James in
the year 44 at Jerusalem.
St James was the first of the Apostles to die as a martyr.
TROPARION - TONE 8
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
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