The Apostle James, Brother of the Lord –
Commemorated on October 23
The Apostle James,
Brother of the Lord – was the son of Righteous Joseph the Betrothed (Comm.
26 December). From his early years James was a Nazorite, a man especially
dedicated to God. The Nazorites gave a vow to preserve virginity, to abstain
from wine, to refrain from eating meat, and not to cut their hair. The vow of
the Nazorites symbolised a life of holiness and purity, commanded formerly by
the Lord for all Israel. When the Saviour began to teach the nation about the
Kingdom of God, Saint James believed in Christ and became His apostle. For his
God-leasing life he was chosen first bishop in the Church at Jerusalem. Saint
James presided over the Council of the Apostles at Jerusalem, and his word was
decisive (Acts 15). In his thirty years as bishop the Apostle James converted
many of the Jews to Christianity. Annoyed by this, the Pharisees and the
Scribes plotted together to kill Saint James. Having led the saint up on the
roof of the Jerusalem Temple, they demanded that he renounce the Saviour of the
world. But the holy Apostle James instead began to bear witness, that Christ is
the True Messiah. Then the Jewish teachers shoved him off downwards. The saint
did not die immediately, but gathering his final strength, he prayed to the
Lord for his enemies, who at this while were stoning him. The martyr's death of
Saint James occurred in about the year 63.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.