"St. James the Less" by El Greco (ca. 1610-1614)
"St. James the Less" by El Greco (ca. 1610-1614)

St. James, the Less


The James that we, as the mission congregation of Nuremberg, have chosen is: 

St.James, the Less - one of the Twelve Apostles and brother of the Lord.


The are many important characters with the name James in the New Testament. Sadly there is not much known about St. James, neither from the scriptures nor from other sources.


St. James sometimes carries the addition “the Just.” Certain sources have come to the conclusion that he was a Nazarite (one consecrated to God). The Jewish Christian Hegesippus said that James never drank wine or other strong drinks. In modern language he would also be called a veganer- he ate no animal food except for the paschal lamb. It was said that he never shaved, nor took a bath- a  fact that today we don’t find too appealing.


He was a very important figure during early Christianity, one of the pillars of the Church. St. James was the first bishop of Jerusalem and led the Council of Jerusalem for 50 years. He was said to have been thrown from the top of the Temple in Jerusalem at the festival of Pasch on the 10th of April in 62 AD. He was supposedly buried near the temple and a small column in remembrance was erected. His relics are said to have been brought to Constantinople in the 6th century.


There are several ways in which he is depicted. In Orthodox Christianity St. James is shown with a carpenter saw. One legend says he was crucified in Lower Egypt and later sawed to pieces. The other one is as cited above- he was thrown off the temple and stoned/clubbed to death. More often is he depicted with a fuller's mallet (a wooden hammer used in the olden days by cloth makers to beat wool). He is also the patron saint of the hat makers


See also https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/James,_son_of_Alphaeus