February 11, 2004

Who Was St. James (Santiago)?

He was one of Jesus’ apostles, brother of John, son of Zebedee and Maria Salome. When he was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee he received the call from Jesus and he followed him through the roads of Palestine until the death of Jesus. He is one of the apostles that appears most frequently in the Gospels and he was one of the three apostles that accompanied Jesus to the Transfiguration on the Mount of Olives, of Jesus’ family. He is called the “brother of the Lord.” After the death of Christ, James becomes the head of the Christian community in Jerusalem until his death in the year 44 A.D. when by order of Herod he is decapitated as we are told in the book of Acts of the Apostles.

From here on, there are no more historical documents about his life and the story that his body was taken by two of his disciples and carried by boat to Galicia. He was buried there, and some years later, hidden until the 9th century when his grave was identified by Teodomiro, the bishop of Iria Flavia. Here tradition or legend mix with the historic reality of the pilgrimages to the tomb of St. James the Apostle in Compostela which have continued ever since.

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