Holy Apostle St. James, the Less
Brother of the Lord

According to the Prologue from Ochrid, when St. Joseph was dying and was portioning out his goods among his sons, all of them except James opposed him leaving a share to the Lord Jesus, the Son of the Theotokos. James, however, considered Jesus indeed to be his brother, and told the others he would include Jesus in his share. He loved Jesus very much.

From the beginning, James was devoted to the Lord Jesus. It is among the traditions of the Orthodox Church that he accompanied the Holy Family to Egypt when Herod tried to kill the new-born King. He tried to live by Christ's teachings ss soon as he heard them. It is reported that throughout his life he ate only bread and water, and took no fat or oil. It is also reported that he was chaste throughout his life and frequently kept vigils of prayer throughout the night. He was included among the Seventy apostles, and the Lord Jesus appeared to him fater His glorious Resurrection (testified to by the Apostle Paul in I Corinthinas 15:7).

For thirty years he was bishop in Jerusalem, and governed the Church of God with zeal. He composed the first Liturgy on instructions from the Lord. It was far too long for later Christians, and was shortened by Sts Basil the Great and John Chrysostom in the 4th century. (This Liturgy is still celebrated in Jerusalem once a year on the anniversary of the falling-asleep of Holy Apostle James, the first bishop of Jerusalem.) This apostle brought many to the Faith, Jews and Greeks, and even Jews who were not believers marvelled at his justice and nicknamed him "James the Just."

Blessed Nikolai Velimirovich goes on to say: "When Ananias became High Priest, he decided, along with other of the Jewish elders, to kill James as a preacher of Christ. One day, at Easter, when many people wre gathered in Jerusalem, the elders told him to climb up ont a roof and speak agaisnt Christ. St. James climbed up there, and began to speak to the people about Christ as the Son of God and the true Messiah, and of His Resurrection and eternal glory in heaven. The infuriated priests and elders cast him down from the roof, and he was badly injured though still alive. A man then ran up and gave him such a vicious blow on the head that his brains spilled out. Thus this glorious apostle of Christ died a martyr's death and entered into the Kingdom of his Lord. James was sixty-three years old when he suffered for Christ."

Another Life of St. James (from the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist)

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