Witnesses to the Resurrection: St James the Greater

By Jordan Grantham, Eastertide 2017
St John the Greater, Guido Reni. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Santiago de Compostela. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Died: Jerusalem, 42 AD. Beheaded at the order of Herod Agrippa.

Feast Day: July 25

Patron: Spain, Shells, Pilgrimages

Shrine: Santiago de Compostela

The Interior of the Shrine to St James the Greater at Santiago de Compostela. Image: Wikimedia Commons


James the Greater was son of Zebedee and Salome and brother of St John the Evangelist. As a ‘son of thunder’, he was styled ‘the Greater’ to distinguish him from  the other St James.

“About that time Herod the king laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword; and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread.” (Acts 12:1-3)

Church Fathers: Clement of Alexandria [150 – 215AD] wrote that St James’ followers fled to Jaffa by sea and then sailed for Iria Galicia in Spain.

With thanks to Rev Dr Paul Stenhouse MSC, Whatever happened to the twelve apostles? (2006, Chevalier Press)

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