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Born: ~3
Died: 44
FEast: July 25th
Patron of:  
Great friends, pilgrims, Spain, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Veterinarians, pharmacists, laborers, chile


St. James
the Greater



 James and John were fishermen out on their boats when they were first approached by Jesus, who called to them to toss their nets to one side. They had not been able to catch anything, but when they pulled the nets back in, they could barely do so and found the nets completely overflowing. They both immediately followed Jesus. James became known as "James the Greater" either because he was older or taller than the other James!

James' mother was Salome, who  left to follow Jesus as well, and was there with other women likely at the cross and the empty tomb Easter morning.

Some scholars believe James and John could have been cousins of Jesus, or related in some way.

James became one of Jesus’ closest Apostles, witnessing each miracle and attending, along with only Peter and John, Jesus’ Transfiguration on the mountain.

A few stories tell of James’ possible quick temper when he and his brother asked Jesus to destroy a town, and Jesus refused. The two also asked Jesus to be able to sit on his right and left in the Kingdom, with Jesus explaining to them that they must be ready to sacrifice in the way he was about to, to be able to do so. Because of these incidents, Jesus called James and his brother "Sons of Thunder".

James was executed after many years of preaching and building churches throughout Israel, the Roman Kingdom, and Spain. He was decapitated by King Herod with a sword, and his remains, because of him being a Christian, were not allowed to be buried there in Jerusalem. Friends and followers secretly took them to Compostela, Spain, where the Cathedral of Santiago still contains them today. He is known as the first Apostle to be killed.



It is so hard to trust. We can’t know the motives of others, and sometimes, we can’t even be sure of our own ideas. From the start, though, even with doubts, you trusted Jesus. Though you couldn’t understand it all, you recognized love and took a chance on trust. Help us do the same.


Art Reflection


James' high-collared Jacket, scarf, and red shirt are all symbolic of his martyrdom by beheading. The swords and shell on his collar are also traditional symbols for James, both for baptism and his role as a fisherman. His scar comes from an injury likely due to his temper, and his glasses are symbols of his gift of his enhanced sight from being able to witness the Transfiguration. He looks angry, with a strained nerve in his forehead, at the injustice he encountered, but his eyes have a softened expression from the words Jesus used to quiet that anger.


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