Sunday, July 25, 2010

St. James the Greater


The story and history of Saint James the Greater, who was one of the disciples of Jesus. James was prominent amongst the twelve apostles. He was James, the son of Zebedee, who was considered the greater apostle of those called James. James thought to be a cousin of Jesus, by the sister of the Virgin Mary, and the brother of Saint Jude Thaddeus. James worked as a fisherman with his brother John, his father Zebedee and his partner Simon. John and James were followers of John the Baptist and then Jesus. John the Baptist referred to Jesus with the words "Behold the Lamb of God!". He left his life as a fisherman when Jesus called him to be a fisher of men. He followed Jesus as one of his disciples until Jesus was crucified. James the Greater was chosen by Jesus to be one of the twelve apostles and was given the mission to spread the gospel of Jesus. He made a pilgrimage to Spain to spread the word. St James returned to Judea, where he was beheaded by King Herod Agrippa I (10 BC - 44 AD) in the year 44. This is detailed in the Bible in Acts 12 of the New Testament. The remains, or relics, of Saint James the Greater are said to be buried in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia (Spain) explaining why Saint James the Greater is the patron saint of Spain.

St. James, or according to the Spanish form of his name, St. lago, is also the great military patron of Spain. His mission to defend the Christian Church against the Infidel was however reserved until after his death. In the course of the celebrated battle of Clavijo he suddenly appeared on a milk-white charger, waving aloft a white standard, and leading the Christians to victory. This manifestation was in response to the soldiers' invocation of his name, "Sant lago!" being the battle-cry of that day. Hence the name of the ancient city (Santiago) which contains the cathedral founded in his honour.

There are two categories of saints: martyrs and confessors. A Christian martyr is regarded as one who is put to death for his Christian faith or convictions. Confessors are people who died natural deaths. Date of Death: Saint James the Greater died in A.D. 44. Cause of Death: Beheaded.