The apostle James, son of Zebedee and brother of John the Evangelist, was a fisherman. The gospels tell us that James and John left their father and followed Jesus as soon as he called them. The brothers must have shared an impetuous temperament since Jesus refers to them as “Sons of Thunder”. Along with Peter, the brothers were particularly close to the Lord, being present at the raising of Jairus’ daughter, the Transfiguration, and in the garden of Gethsemane.

Although there is no account of his activities for some years after the Resurrection, Acts states that James was beheaded by order of Herod Agrippa, making him the first of the Apostles to be martyred. He is known as James ‘the Greater’, to distinguish him from the other apostle of the same name. He is a patron saint of Spain and of pilgrims. In north-western Spin he is venerated at Santiago (‘Saint James’) de Compostela, a famous medieval pilgrimage destination.

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