Apostle James the Zebedee: the life of the saint
Starting a conversation about the Apostle James Zebedee ─one of the 12 closest disciples and followers of Jesus Christ, one should pay attention to the fact that he is often confused with two other New Testament saints bearing this name. One of them is the apostle Jacob Alfeev, also part of the Savior's inner circle. In addition, Jacob was the brother of Jesus Christ, the son of Joseph, born before his betrothal with the Virgin Mary. The error is especially noticeable when reading the troparion to the apostle James the Zebedee, as well as the prayer and the Akathist dedicated to him.
"Sons of Thunder"
In the Gospels of Matthew (4:21) and Mark (1:19) describes the calling scene for the ministry of Jesus Christ of the future apostles James the Zebedee and his younger brother John the Theologian. Both were the sons of fisherman Zebedee and, just like their father, they earned their livelihood by throwing nets into the waters of the Sea of Galilee (modern name is the Sea of Galilee). For his impetuous and unbridled disposition, Jesus called his brothers Boanerges, which in translation from Aramaic means "Sons of Thunder".
Character traits, which served as an excuse forunusual name, they manifest themselves in the episode described by Evangelist Luke (9:54), when the brothers offer Jesus to overthrow the heavenly fire on the inhabitants of the Samoritan village, who refused to give him hospitality.
The same can be seen in the scene from the Gospel ofMark (10:35 - 37), where the holy Apostle James Zebedee and his brother ask the Master to give them honorary places in the Kingdom of Heaven. In both cases, the Lord condescends to the spiritual impulses of his disciples, using their recklessness and naivety as an excuse for wise instruction.
Along with the apostles Peter and John the Theologian,Jacob Zavedeev was one of the closest disciples and followers of Jesus Christ. It was they who witnessed the three most important evangelical events - the resurrection of the daughter of Jair (Mark 5:37), the miraculous Transfiguration on the top of Mount Tabor (Matthew 17: 1, Mark 9: 2 and Luke 9:28) and the dramatic scene in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Preachers of Christ's teaching
About that activity, which the apostle devoted himself toJacob Zebedee after the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ, we learn from the pages of another book included in the New Testament. This is the "Acts of the Apostles". It tells how, being filled with the Holy Spirit, descended on the apostles on the fiftieth day of the Ascension of Jesus (the feast of Pentecost), he and the other disciples of Christ worked on the organization of the first Christian communities.
To preach the word of God to each of them wasits way is predetermined. The apostle James Zebedee, whose life was written shortly after his death, was engaged in missionary activity among the inhabitants of Spain, at that time drowned in the darkness of paganism. Returning then to Judea, the disciple of Jesus Christ continued to boldly declare Him as the Savior of the world, confirming his words with excerpts from the Holy Scripture.
Preaching in the synagogues and in the squares of Jerusalem,he invariably gathered crowds of listeners. Many of them, having heeded it with simple and wise words, reached the depth of the heart, turned to a new faith and secretly received baptism from all. It was from them that the first communities subsequently formed, thanks to which Christianity from the catacomb church became the leading world religion.
The philosopher-sorcerer's conversion to Christianity
The sermons with which the Apostle James spokeZebedee, often evoked an evil reaction from the orthodox Jews, whom he openly accused of cruelty, pharisaism and disbelief, covered by ostentatious piety. Not having sufficient theological knowledge to enter into a public polemic with their enemy, the Jews hired for a pecuniary reward a certain philosopher, a sorcerer named Hermogenes.
He was entrusted with a large crowd of people,it is reasonable to refute the Gospel doctrine of the coming to the world of Christ the Savior and the Kingdom of Heaven, awaiting all followers, the Church he created. Before the theological debate began, the apostle James Zebedeehadconversation with the disciple of the magician Philip, and he, hearing the wise speeches of their future opponent, he himself believed in Christ.
I did not persist in my mistakes andGermogen. Having penetrated into the deep essence of the doctrine preached by the apostle, he resolutely renounced his former beliefs, burned his god-forgiving books and, having received holy baptism, became one of the most ardent followers of the Christian faith. This example is very revealing, because it demonstrates the power of persuasion, which the Savior endowed to His closest disciples.
Execution of a disciple of Christ
Sacred Tradition tells about the martyrdomthe demise, which in 44 AD became the crown of Jacob Zebedee's earthly life. The enemies of the holy apostle, who remained deaf to his inspired sermons, convinced the reigning King Herod Agrippa I in those days to arrest the hated Jacob and bring them to trial for trampling on the foundations of the Jewish faith.
The court was swift and unjust. The apostle, sentenced to death, even in the last moments of his life continued to testify to his executioners about the great mission of Jesus Christ. The angry king, snatching his sword, personally cut off his head. This tragic episode is mentioned in the book "Acts of the Apostles" (2: 1-4). By the way, James Zebedee is the only apostle whose death is described in the New Testament.
The Last Journey of the Apostle James
Further, Sacred Tradition says that after the executionthe remains of the holy martyr were placed by the order of King Herod Agrippa in a boat that was launched along the waves of the Mediterranean Sea. But the Lord did not allow the traces of His disciple to disappear without a trace.
After a while, being driven by an unknown forcethe boat safely reached the coast of Spain in the place where the fiery sermons of the apostle James once sounded, and was thrown by waves on the shore. There she lay, hidden from human eyes, for several centuries.
The beginning of veneration of the holy apostle
In 813, according to the Tradition, in that localitysettled a solitary monk-hermit named Pelayo. Once he had a vision in the guise of a guiding star, indicating the way to the ark with the imperishable relics of the apostle. From this time began their universal veneration, and in 898 the Spanish King Alphonse III ordered in place of a wonderful find to erect the Temple of the Apostle James Zebedee.
According to historical documents of those years,he was only a small church standing on the seashore and open to all winds, but nevertheless the beginning was made, and in the following centuries this tradition continued in many Christian countries.
An example is the Moscow templethe apostle James the son of Zebedee in the state settlement, the first chronicle of which refers to 1620, that is, the period of the reign of the founder of the Romanov dynasty, the sovereign, Mikhail Fedorovich. Repeatedly rebuilt, in accordance with the changing architectural features of different eras, it has come down to us as a unique monument of church architecture. And today in it prayers and akathist to the Apostle James Zebedee regularly sound, the day of memory of which the Orthodox Church celebrates on May 13 and July 13.
Under the protection of the heavenly patron
But back to Spain. Her inhabitants, in memory of the miraculous acquisition of the relics and vision that once visited the hermit Pelayo, began to be called the part of the coast of Compostella, which is translated from Latin as "The place indicated by the star." Over time, it became populated, turning, finally, into a big and bustling city.
The holy apostle Jacob is revered as one of theheavenly patrons of Spain. His petition before the See of the Heavenly Father especially helped the Spaniards during the so-called Reconquista ─ the struggle for the liberation of the Iberian Peninsula from the Arabs, which lasted from the VIII to the XV century. For almost 700 years they went into battle, strengthening their spirit with a prayer to the Apostle James Zebedeev.
The Way of Jacob
Unlike the Orthodox world, Catholicscelebrate the day of remembrance of this saint on July 25, and if the celebration falls on a Sunday, Spain officially announces the "year of the apostle Jacob", during which all the festivities dedicated to him are held with special splendor. The veneration of the Apostle James the Zebedee among the Spaniards has become so massive that the place of finding his relics, called Santiago de Compostela. Since XI century it became the second most important object of pilgrimage, second only to Jerusalem.
In the twentieth century, the tradition of his visitCatholics rather peculiar form. In order to be considered a true pilgrim, it is necessary to receive a special certificate upon arrival in the city. It is given only to those who, going to Santiago de Compostela, will pass the so-called path of Jacob. To do this, you must overcome 100 kilometers on foot or 200 by bike.
The image of the apostle James the son of Zebedee in the visual arts
Because according to the Sacred Tradition, in dayshis earthly ministry, the apostle often undertook distant wanderings, one of which was his visit to Spain, among Catholics he is considered the patron of travelers. In this connection, artists of different epochs depicted him in the form of a pilgrim holding a staff or a scallop shell in his hand, which is the generally accepted emblem of pilgrimage to Compostela, where for many centuries his relics have been buried. Known as his images in the form of a knight, sitting on a horse. This interpretation of the image is related to his role in the expulsion of the Arabs from the Pirine Peninsula.