Saint James (Alpheus) the Lesser
St. James the Less, author of the first Epistle, son of Alphaeus a Capernaum tax collector of Cleophas. His mother Mary was either a sister or a close relative of the Blessed Virgin, and, according to Jewish custom, he was sometimes called the brother of the Lord, and the brother of the Holy Apostle Matthew.
Like Matthew, James was called by the Lord to be among the twelve apostles (Mt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15) and together with the rest was sent to preach (Mt. 10:3). After the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle James at first remained in Jerusalem (Acts 1:13; 6:2). Later he accompanied the Apostle Andrew the First Called to Edessa, preached the doctrine of Christ in Gaza, Eleutheropolis (Beth Gibran) and neighboring places, from there he was led to Egypt and here again in the city of Ostrazin (seaside city on the border with Palestine) sealed his apostolic work with the martyr’s death on the cross.
The Apostle held a distinguished position in the early Christian community of Jerusalem. St. Paul tells us he was a witness of the Resurrection of Christ; he is also a “pillar” of the Church, whom St. Paul consulted about the Gospel.
According to tradition, he was the first Bishop of Jerusalem, and was at the Council of Jerusalem about the year 50 A.D. The historians Eusebius and Hegesippus relayed that St. James was martyred for the Faith by the Jews in the Spring of the year 62 A.D., although the Jews greatly esteemed his person and had given him the surname of “James the Just.”
Tradition has always recognized him as the author of the Epistle that bears his name. Internal evidence based on the language, style, and teaching of the Epistle reveals its author as a Jew familiar with the Old Testament, and a Christian thoroughly grounded in the teachings of the Gospel. External evidence from the early Fathers and Councils of the Church confirmed its authenticity and canonicity.
The date of its writing cannot be determined exactly. According to some scholars it was written about the year 49 A.D. Others, however, claim it was written after St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (composed during the winter of 57-58 A.D.). It was probably written between the years 60 and 62 A.D.
St. James addresses himself to the “twelve tribes that are in the Dispersion,” that is, to Christians outside Palestine; but nothing in the Epistle indicates that he is thinking only of Jewish Christians. St. James realizes full well the temptations and difficulties they encounter in the midst of paganism, and as a spiritual father, he endeavors to guide and direct them in the faith.
St. James enlightened “the universe with the knowledge of God” and drove away “the darkness of polytheism with Divine sermons”, destroyed “the temples of the idols”, “with fiery tongues” burned up “the ungodly wisdom of the world like thorns”, withering up “the evil slime of polytheism”, and showed " invincible authority and power over demons".
Kontakion, tone 2
He firmly instilled wise doctrines in pious souls, So let us all bless James with praise as the messenger of God: For standing before the throne of glory of the Master, He rejoices with all the angels, Pray unceasing for us all.
Our Venerable Father Andronicus, and His Wife Athanasia
Born in Antioch, where they, united “with spiritual love” and protected “by the complete armor of the cross”, carried out a pious life, distinguished by acts of mercy. After the death of their children, both spouses accepted monasticism. The Venerable Andronicus became the disciple of Abba Daniel in one of the Egyptian monasteries, and St. Athanasia entered the monastic settlement of Tabenna. After 12 years of ascetic struggles both spouses met on the way to the holy places, but St. Andronicus did not recognize the Venerable Athanasia, dressed as a monk. Both monks agreed to practice asceticism together and were not separated until their death (at the beginning of the fifth century). Only upon the death of the Venerable Athanasia did her spouse find out her secret. The Venerable Andronicus died within seven days of the death of his spouse.
Holy Righteous Forefather Abraham and Lot his NephewThey lived 2000 years before the Nativity of Christ. St. Abraham, the 11th. patriarch after the flood (counting from Shem), was the son of Terah. In the 75th year of his life he left Mesopotamia, and settled in the land of Canaan with all his family and nephew Lot. Here Abraham and Lot separated and Lot first settled in Sodom, where the Lord wonderfully delivered him, and then in the city of Zoar (Sigor). St. Abraham died at 175 years of age.