James, son of Zebedee

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Saint James
Guido Reni - Saint James the Greater - Google Art Project.jpg
Saint James the Greater by Guido Reni
Apostle and Martyr
BornBethsaida, Judea, Roman Empire, around 3 AD
Died44 AD
Jerusalem, Judea, Roman Empire
Venerated inAll Christianity
CanonizedPre-Congregation
Major shrineCathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia (Spain), Cathedral of St. James, Jerusalem, Armenian Quarter (Israel)
Feast25 July (Western Christianity)
30 April (Eastern Christianity)
30 December (Hispanic Church)
AttributesRed Martyr, Scallop, Pilgrim's hat
PatronagePlaces
Guatemala, Nicaragua, Spain, Guayaquil and some places of the Philippines and Mexico.
Professions
Veterinarians, equestrians, furriers, tanners, pharmacists, oyster fishers, woodcarvers.

James, son of Zebedee (Hebrew: יַעֲקֹב‬, Yaʿqob; Greek: Ἰάκωβος; Coptic: ⲓⲁⲕⲱⲃⲟⲥ; died 44 AD) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, traditionally considered the first apostle to be martyred.

In the New Testament[edit]

The son of Zebedee and Salome is James, styled "the Greater", to distinguish him from the Apostle James "the Less", with greater meaning older or taller, rather than more important. He was the brother of John the beloved disciple.[1]

James is described as one of the first disciples to join Jesus. The Synoptic Gospels state that James and John were with their father by the seashore when Jesus called them to follow him.[Matt. 4:21-22][Mk. 1:19-20] James was one of only three apostles whom Jesus selected to bear witness to his Transfiguration.[2] James and John[3] (or, in another tradition, their mother[4]) asked Jesus to grant them seats on his right and left in his glory. Jesus rebuked them, and the other apostles were annoyed with them. James and his brother wanted to call down fire on a Samaritan town, but were rebuked by Jesus.[Lk 9:51-6] The Acts of the Apostles records that "Herod the king" (traditionally identified with Herod Agrippa) had James executed by the sword. He is the only apostle whose martyrdom is recorded in the New Testament. James the Lesser is, thus, traditionally believed to be the first of the Apostles martyred for his faith.[Acts 12:1-2]. Nixon suggests that this may have been caused by James's fiery temper,[5] for which he and his brother earned the nickname Boanerges or "Sons of Thunder".[Mark 3:17] F. F. Bruce contrasts this story to that of the Liberation of Saint Peter, and notes that "James should die while Peter should escape" is a "mystery of divine providence".[6]

Veneration[edit]

Saint James the Elder by Rembrandt
He is depicted clothed as a pilgrim; note the scallop shell on his shoulder and his staff and pilgrim's hat beside him.

Saint James is the patron saint of Spain and, according to legend, his remains are held in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. (The name Santiago is the local evolution of Vulgar Latin Sanctu Iacobu, "Saint James".) The traditional pilgrimage to the grave of the saint, known as the "Way of St. James", has been the most popular pilgrimage for Western European Catholics from the Early Middle Ages onwards, although its modern revival and popularity stems from Walter Starkie's 1957 book, The Road to Santiago. The Pilgrims of St. James.[7] Some 237,886 pilgrims registered in 2014 as having completed the final 100 km walk (200 km by bicycle) to Santiago to qualify for a Compostela.[8] When 25 July falls on a Sunday, it is a "Jubilee" year (an Año Santo Jubilar Compostelano or Año Santo Jacobeo) and a special east door is opened for entrance into Santiago Cathedral. Jubilee years fall every 5, 6, and 11 years. In the 2004 Jubilee year, 179,944[9] pilgrims received a Compostela. In 2010 the number had risen to 275,135.[10]

The feast day of St. James is celebrated on 25 July on the liturgical calendars of the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and certain Protestant churches. He is commemorated on 30 April in the Orthodox Christian liturgical calendar (for those churches which follow the traditional Julian Calendar, 30 April currently falls on 13 May of the modern Gregorian Calendar). The national day of Galicia is also celebrated on 25 July, being St James its patron saint.

Jerusalem[edit]

The site of martyrdom is located within the Armenian Apostolic Cathedral of St. James in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem. The Chapel of St. James the Great, located to the left of the sanctuary, is the traditional place where he was martyred, when King Agrippa ordered him to be beheaded (Acts 12:1-2). His head is buried under the altar, marked by a piece of red marble and surrounded by six votive lamps.[11]

Spain[edit]

Mission in Iberia and burial at Compostela[edit]

According to Catholic tradition, Apostle James, son of Zebedee, spread Christianity in the Iberian Peninsula. In the year 44, he was beheaded in Jerusalem and his remains were later transferred to Galicia in a stone boat, to the place where stands Santiago de Compostela Cathedral.

The 12th-century Historia Compostelana commissioned by bishop Diego Gelmírez provides a summary of the legend of St. James, as it was believed at Compostela. Two propositions are central to it: first, that St. James preached the gospel in Iberia, as well as in the Holy Land; second, that after his martyrdom at the hands of Herod Agrippa, his disciples carried his body by sea to Iberia, where they landed at Padrón on the coast of Galicia, then took it inland for burial at Santiago de Compostela.

The translation of his relics from Judea to Galicia in the northwest of Iberia was done, in legend, by a series of miraculous happenings: decapitated in Jerusalem with a sword by Herod Agrippa himself, his body was taken up by angels, and sailed in a rudderless, unattended boat to Iria Flavia in Iberia, where a massive rock closed around his relics, which were later removed to Compostela.

According to ancient local tradition, on 2 January AD 40, the Virgin Mary appeared to James on the bank of the Ebro River at Caesaraugusta, while he was preaching the Gospel in Iberia. She appeared upon a pillar, Nuestra Señora del Pilar, and that pillar is conserved and venerated within the present Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, in Zaragoza, Spain. Following that apparition, St. James returned to Judea, where he was beheaded by King Herod Agrippa I in the year 44.[12][13]

The tradition at Compostela placed the discovery of the relics of the saint in the time of king Alfonso II (791-842) and of bishop Theodemir of Iria. These traditions were the basis for the pilgrimage route that began to be established in the 9th century, and the shrine dedicated to James at Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia in Spain, became the most famous pilgrimage site in the Christian world. The Way of St. James is a trio of routes that cross Western Europe and arrive at Santiago through Northern Spain. Eventually James became the patron saint of Spain.

Controversy[edit]

James suffered martyrdom[Acts 12:1-2] in AD 44. According to the tradition of the early Church, he had not yet left Jerusalem at this time.[14] An argument supporting this assertion is based on the Epistle to the Romans, written after AD 44, in which Paul expressed his intention to avoid "building on someone else's foundation"[Rom. 15:20] by visiting Spain,[Rom. 15:23-24] suggesting that he knew of no previous evangelisation in Hispania.

The suggestion began to be made from the 9th century that, as well as evangelizing in Iberia, James' body was brought to and is buried in Compostela. No earlier tradition places the burial of St. James in Spain. A rival tradition places the relics of the apostle in the church of St. Saturnin at Toulouse; if any physical relics were ever involved, they might plausibly have been divided between the two.

The tradition of Saint James' burial in Compostela was not unanimously accepted, and numerous modern scholars, following Louis Duchesne and T. E. Kendrick,[15] reject it. (According to Kendrick, even if one admits the existence of miracles, James' presence in Spain is impossible.) The Catholic Encyclopedia (1908) registered several "difficulties" or bases for doubts of this tradition, beyond the late appearance of the legend:

Although the tradition that James founded an apostolic see in Iberia 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 (Martyrologia, 25 July), Walafrid Strabo (Poema de XII Apostoli), and others.

The Bollandists, however, defended it. (Their Acta Sanctorum, July, VI and VII, gives further sources.) A belief in the authenticity of the relics at Compostela was also asserted by Pope Leo XIII, in his 1884 bull Omnipotens Deus.

Medieval "Santiago Matamoros" legend[edit]

Saint James as the Moor-killer by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest). His mantle is that of his military order.

An even later tradition states that he miraculously appeared to fight for the Christian army during the legendary battle of Clavijo, and was henceforth called Santiago Matamoros (Saint James the Moor-slayer). ¡Santiago, y cierra, España! ("St. James and strike for Spain") was the traditional battle cry of medieval Spanish (Christian) armies. Cervantes has Don Quixote explaining that "the great knight of the russet cross was given by God to Spain as patron and protector".[16]

A similar miracle is related about San Millán. The possibility that a cult of James was instituted to supplant the Galician cult of Priscillian (executed in 385) who was widely venerated across the north of Iberia as a martyr (at the hands of the local bishops, rather than as a heretic) should not be overlooked. This was cautiously raised by Henry Chadwick in his book on Priscillian;[12] it is not the traditional Roman Catholic view. The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1908, however, is quite cautious about the origins of the cult (see above at "Controversy").

Emblem[edit]

The Cross of Saint James, the symbol of the Order of Santiago; the hilt is surmounted with a scallop.

James' emblem was the scallop shell (or "cockle shell"), and pilgrims to his shrine often wore that symbol on their hats or clothes. The French used it for a scallop is coquille St. Jacques, which means "cockle (or mollusk) of St. James". The German word for a scallop is Jakobsmuschel, which means "mussel (or clam) of St. James"; the Dutch word is Jacobs schelp, meaning "the shell of St. James".

Military Order of Santiago[edit]

The military Order of Santiago, named after James, was founded in Spain in the 12th century to fight the Moors. Later, as in other orders of chivalry, the membership became a mark of honor.

Latter-day Saints[edit]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) teaches that James has been resurrected and that in 1829 he—along with the resurrected Peter and the translated John—visited Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and restored the priesthood authority with apostolic succession to earth.[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Catholic Encyclopedia: St. James the Greater".
  2. ^ Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:2-8, Luke 9:28-36.
  3. ^ Mark 10:35-45
  4. ^ Matthew 20:20-28
  5. ^ R. E. Nixon, "Boanerges", in J. D. Douglas (ed.), The New Bible Dictionary (London: The Inter-Varsity Fellowship, 1963), 1354,
  6. ^ F. F. Bruce, "Commentary on the Book of the Acts" (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964), 251.
  7. ^ New York, E. P. Dutton, 1957, OCLC 28087235; reprinted by the Univ. of California Press in 1965 (OCLC 477436336) and published in Spanish translation in 1958 with the somewhat different title of El camino de Santiago: las peregrinaciones al sepulcro del Apóstol, trans. Amando Lázaro Ros, Madrid, Aguilar, 1958, OCLC 432856567. Both the English original and the translation have been republished.
  8. ^ "Estadísticas".
  9. ^ "Años". Archived from the original on 1 January 2010.
  10. ^ La Peregrinación a Santiago en 2010 Archived 29 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ http://www.christusrex.org/www1/ofm/sbf/escurs/Ger/07santuarioGiacomoBig.jpg
  12. ^ a b Chadwick, Henry (1976), Priscillian of Avila, Oxford University Press
  13. ^ Fletcher, Richard A. (1984), Saint James's Catapult: The Life and Times of Diego Gelmírez of Santiago de Compostela, Oxford University Press
  14. ^ Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis, VI; Apollonius, quoted by Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History V.xviii)
  15. ^ "Saint James in Spain", London, 1960
  16. ^ Don Quixote, 2nd section, chapter 58
  17. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 27:12.

External links[edit]