“St James the Moorslayer, one of the most valiant saints and knights the world ever had ... has been given by God to Spain for its patron and protection.” —Cervantes, Don Quixote
-Born:1st century AD – Bethsaida, Judaea, Roman Empire
-Died: 44 AD – Jerusalem, Judaea, Roman Empire.
-Feast Days: 25th of July (Western Christianity) 30th of April (Eastern Christianity) 30th of December (Hispanic Church)
-Attributes/Symbols: Scallop, Pilgrims Hat and King Herod’s sword (in which Saint James was decapitated and martyred with)
-Saint James is the patron saint of Spain and Portugal
* As of today there are no records of Saint James’ early life.
-James, son of Zebedee was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was a son of Zebedee and Salome. He is also called James the Greater to distinguish him from James, son of Alpheus. He was the brother of John, the beloved disciple, believed to be the elder of the two brothers.
-James is described as one of the first disciples to join Jesus. The Synoptic Gospels state that James and John were with their father by the seashore when Jesus called them to follow him. James was one of only three apostles whom Jesus selected to bear witness to his Transfiguration.
-The Acts of the Apostles records that "Herod the king" had James executed by sword. He is the only apostle whose martyrdom is recorded in the New Testament. He is, thus, traditionally believed to be the first of the twelve apostles martyred for his faith.
-Miracles: Decapitated in Jerusalem with a sword by Herod Agrippa himself, his body was taken up by angels, and sailed in a rudderless, unattended boat to Iria Flavia in Iberia, where a massive rock closed around his relics, which were later removed to Compostela.
-An even later event states that Saint James miraculously appeared to fight for the Christian army during the legendary battle of Clavijo, and was henceforth called Matamoros (Moor-slayer). Cervantes has Don Quixote explaining that "the great knight of the russet cross was given by God to Spain as patron and protector".