At the invitation of Jesus he left his nets to follow him and is counted among the Twelve Great Apostles. Belonging to Christ's 'inner circle', James was present on Mount Tabor for Christ's transfiguration and also for his suffering in the garden of Gethsemane. Following Pentecost, St. James preached in Spain, and upon his return to Jerusalem the Jews would argue with him vehemently concerning the Holy Scriptures. None could withstand his wisdom, however.
Seeing this the Jews slandered him before Herod and among some false witnesses there was a certain Josias. But in hearing St. James' testimony, Josias believed and was condemned to death with James. Before the axe fell, St. James embraced and kissed this repentant false witness and said, "Peace and forgiveness to you!" St. James was martyred in the year 45 AD. His body was translated to Spain where his relics continue to work miracles even to this day.
- As a soldier of the Lord you were ranked among the choir of apostles.
- Together with your brother, O James, you clung wholeheartedly to the Savior.
- Armed with the power of the Spirit you preached him to all and were slain by the sword.
- Therefore we sing your praises!
Troparion (Tone 3)
- You were a chosen apostle of Christ
- And the only brother of the beloved Theologian.
- Most praised James, ask remission of sins and great mercy
- For those who sing hymns to you.
Kontakion (Tone 2)
- You heard the voice of God calling you
- And turned away from the love of your father.
- With your brother you hastened after Christ, O glorious James.
- With him, you were counted worthy to behold the Lord's divine Transfiguration!