Triptych of Last Judgement
Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516)
James the Greater, apostle, was the brother and fellow fisherman of St John and is called Greater to distinguish him from the other apostle, James the Less. With Peter and John, he was chosen by Christ to be a witness of His transfiguration and His agony in the garden, and with these two he had a certain precedence among the twelve. He was the first of the apostles to be martyred, being put to death by the sword, by King Herod Agrippa I in 44AD.
It was claimed that after his martyrdom, his body was taken to Spain. In the later middle ages, the Shrine of St James at Santiago de Compestela was one of the greatest centres of pilgramage in Christendom, as it still is today.
James himself is often represented in art as a pilgrim, with a cockle shell, and we celebrate his feast day on the 25th July.
Collect for the feast of St James the Apostle
Grant, O merciful God, that as thine holy Apostle Saint James, leaving his father and all that he had, without delay was obedient unto the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him; so we, forsaking all worldly and carnal affections, may be evermore ready to follow thy holy commandments; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.