Orthodox England

Excerpt from: Volume 9 Issue 1 Date 1st September 2005

What is the Orthodox view of the relics attributed to St James in Compostela in Galicia in Spain?
S. C., Sweden

In the Orthodox view (as in the Catholic view) the relics in Compostela are those of the holy Apostle James, the brother of St John, the son of Zebedee. Martyred in Jerusalem in about 45 AD, most of his relics were moved to Compostela at a much later date, perhaps in the sixth or seventh centuries when troops from Constantinople were defending Spain, or perhaps later in the ninth century. According to tradition, St James preached the Gospel in Spain in the first century. The full name of his shrine, ‘Santiago de Compostela’ is simply the Spanish for St James of Compostela. The Catholic world calls this St James ‘the Greater’ and feasts him on 25 July (perhaps the date of the translation of his relics to Compostela), but his feast in the Orthodox Church is on 30 April.

He should not be confused with the second holy Apostle James, son of Alphæus, the brother of St Matthew, who was also martyred, but in Egypt and whose feast is on 9 October.
Finally, there is the third St James, the Brother of the Lord, the son of St Joseph, the first Bishop of Jerusalem and composer of the Liturgy and the Epistle of St James, who was also martyred in. Jerusalem by the Jews, but in about 64 AD.

His feast is on 23 October in the Orthodox Church. He is also called St James the Less as he was not one of the Twelve Apostles, but one of the Seventy. The Catholic world feasts him with St Philip on 1 or 3 May, which probably relates to a local translation feast in Rome.

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