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Apostle James of the 70, brother of the Lord according to the flesh, Jerusalem, bishop
January 8 (movable) – Week of the Nativity of Christ
January 17 – Council of the 70 Apostles

The Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians writes that, together with the Apostle Peter, the apostles James and John were considered pillars of the Church. Saint James was the son of Joseph the Betrothed from his first wife and therefore in the Gospel he is called the brother of the Lord. According to legend, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him after His Resurrection and appointed him bishop of the Jerusalem Church. Thus, the Apostle James had a special activity: he did not travel preaching to different countries, like the other apostles, but taught and officiated in Jerusalem, which is so important for the Christian world. As head of the Jerusalem Church, he presided over the Apostolic Council in Jerusalem in 51. His voice here was actually decisive, and the proposal made by him became the resolution of the Apostolic Council (Acts 15). This circumstance is important in view of the claims of Catholics to elevate the Apostle Peter to the position of head of the Church in order to then confirm this primacy with the Pope.

The importance of the Apostle James was further strengthened by his ascetic life. He was a strict virgin, did not drink wine or other alcoholic beverages, abstained from meat, and wore only linen clothes. He used to retire to prayer in the temple and there he kneeled and prayed for his people. He prostrated himself to the ground in prayer so often that the skin on his knees became rough.

The ministry of the Apostle James was difficult: among many of the most ardent enemies of Christianity. But he acted with such prudence and justice that he was respected not only by Christians, but also by Jews, and was called the support of the people and the righteous.

While serving as Bishop of Jerusalem for about 30 years, he spread and established the holy faith in Jerusalem and throughout Palestine. When the Apostle Paul visited the Apostle James on his last journey, at that time the elders gathered to him, and they conveyed to him the success of Christian preaching among the Jews in the following words: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealots of the law” (Acts .21:20). Many of the Jews turned to the Church simply by trusting the word of the righteous man.

Seeing such an influence of the apostle, the Jewish leaders began to fear that the whole people would turn to Christ, and decided to take advantage of the time between the departure of the prosecutor Festus and the arrival in his place of Albinus (62 AD) in order to either persuade Jacob to renounce Christ, or to kill him.

The high priest at this time was the godless Sadducee Anan. In front of a large crowd of people, the apostle was led onto the portico of the temple, and after several flattering words they asked disdainfully: “Tell us about the Crucified One?” – “Are you asking me about Jesus? – the righteous man said loudly. “He sits in heaven at the right hand of the Most High power and will come again on the clouds of heaven.” There were many Christians in the crowd who joyfully exclaimed: “Hosanna to the Son of David!” The high priests and scribes shouted: “Oh, even the righteous man himself is in error!” and threw him to the ground. Jacob could still rise to his knees and said: “Lord, forgive them! They don’t know what they’re doing.” “Let’s stone him,” his enemies shouted. One priest from the Rihava tribe (they did not drink wine, lived in tents, did not sow wheat or grapes) began to persuade them: “What are you doing? You see, the righteous man is praying for you.” But at that moment one fanatic, a cloth maker by trade, hit the apostle on the head with his roller and killed him. Many Christians were killed along with him.

The Jewish historian Josephus, listing the reasons for the fall of Jerusalem, says that the Lord punished the Jews, among other things, for the murder of the righteous Jacob. The Apostle James wrote a conciliar letter shortly before his death. The main purpose of the letter is to console and strengthen the Jews converted to faith in the suffering that lay ahead of them, and to warn them against the delusion that faith alone can save a person. The Holy Apostle explains that faith not accompanied by good works is dead and does not lead to salvation. Church tradition attributes to the Apostle James the composition of the most ancient rite of the Divine Liturgy.

Prayer to the Apostle James, the Lord’s brother according to the flesh

Oh, great God-chosen and God-glorified Apostle James, brother of the Lord! You are the great bishop of the Holy City, our warm intercessor and intercessor standing before the Throne of the Most Holy Trinity. Do not reject us from your intercession, but raise us up, cast down by many sins. Have the power to decide and knit, resolve the ashes of our souls, consider us and the Kingdom of Heaven partakers of the love of God, blessed one, make us through your prayers. Pray to Christ the Savior, that He may grant us to carry out our earthly journey without stumbling, and that we have been granted eternal and blessed life in heaven, and together with you we will be able to praise the Trinity Never apart and glorify the One Divinity of the Father and the Son and the All-Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen


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