Sunday, July 25, 2010

Feast of St James the Apostle

"James, the Son of Zebedee and brother of the Apostle John, was a Galilean, and with his brother one of the first of his Apostles whom the Lord called, whileas they were in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets―and immediately left the ship, and their father, and followed him.  And he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder.  Peter, and James, and John, were the three Apostles whom the Saviour loved best; them he took and brought up into a high mountain apart and was transfigured before them; when he went to the house of the ruler of the synagogue to raise his daughter from the dead, he suffered no man to follow him save Peter, and James, and John; and at the last, just before the Jews took him, when he cometh unto a place called Gethsemane.

After that Jesus Christ was ascended into heaven, James preached how that he was God, and led many in Judea and Samaria to the Christian Faith.  A while afterward, he went to Spain, and there he brought some to Christ, of whom seven were afterwards ordained Bishops by Blessed Peter, and were the first such sent into that country.  From Spain, James went back to Jerusalem, where he taught the Faith to divers persons, and, among others to the Magian Hermogenes.  Thereupon Herod Agrippa, who had been raised to the kingdom under the Emperor Claudius, to curry favour with the Jews, condemned James to death for his firm confession that Jesus Christ is God.  The officer who led James to the judgment-seat, at sight of the courage wherewith he was ready to offer up his testimony, declared himself also to be a Christian.

As they were being hurried to execution, this man asked pardon of James, and the Apostle kissed him, saying, Peace be unto thee.  James healed a paralytic, and immediately afterwards both the prisoners were beheaded.  The body of the Apostle was afterwards taken to Compostela, where his grave is very famous.  Multitudes of pilgrims from all parts of the earth betake themselves thither to pray, out of sheer piety or in fulfillment of vows.  The birthday of James is kept by the Church upon this day, which is that of the translation of his body to Compostela.  It was about Easter-time that he bare witness to Jesus Christ with his blood, at Jerusalem, being the first of the Apostles so to do."

-- From the 1911 Breviary of St Pius X

** Photo of St James' tomb in the Cathedral of St James in Compostela, Spain

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