Commemorated on April 30
The Holy Apostle
James, Son of Zebedee, one of the 12 Apostles, was called by our Lord Jesus
Christ for apostolic service together with his brother, the Apostle John the
Theologian. It was to them and to the holy Apostle Peter pre-eminently over the
other Apostles that Jesus Christ revealed His Divine Mysteries: at the
Resuscitation of the Daughter of Jairus, on Mount Tabor (at the
Transfiguration), and in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Saint 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 taught about Jesus Christ as the
Saviour of the world, and with the words of Holy Scripture he denounced the Pharisees
and the Scribes [scholars], reproaching them with malice of heart and unbelief.
The Jews had not the ability to refute the apostolic discourse and for money
they hired the pseudo-philosopher and sorcerer Hermogenes, so that he would
enter into a disputation with the apostle and confute his arguments about
Christ as the Promised Messiah having come into the world. The sorcerer sent to
the apostle his student Philip, who was converted to belief in Christ. Then
Hermogenes himself became persuaded of the power of God, he burnt his books on
magic, accepted holy Baptism and became a true follower of Christ.
The unbelieving among
the Jews persuaded Herod Agrippa (40-44) to arrest the Apostle James and
sentence him to death. Saint James calmly heard out the death sentence and
continued to bear witness about Christ. One of the false-witnesses against the
apostle by the name of Josiah was struck by the courage of Saint James. He came
to believe in the truth of the words about the coming of Christ the Messiah.
When they led forth the apostle for execution, Josiah fell at his feet,
repenting his sin and asking forgiveness. The apostle hugged him, gave him a
kiss and said: "Peace and forgiveness be unto thee". Then Josiah
confessed before everyone his faith in Christ, and he was beheaded together
with Saint James in the year 44 at Jerusalem.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.