Saint James the Lesser

detail of a stained glass window of Saint James the Lesser, 1901, artist unknown; Saint Mark's Church, Lymington Avenue, London, England; photographed on 15 July 2001 by John Salmon; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsAlso known as

  • Jacobus Minor
  • James the Just
  • James the Less
  • James the Younger
  • James, son of Alphæus
  • James, the brother of the Lord


  • 3 May
  • 1 May (under the title James, son of Alpheus; Anglican)
  • 9 October (Orthodox as James, son of Alpheus)
  • 23 October (Luther Church in America as James the Just; Orthodox as James the Righeous)
  • 26 December (Eastern Orthodox)


Cousin of Jesus. Brother of Saint Jude Thaddeus. Raised is a Jewish home of the time with all the training in Scripture and Law that was part of that life. Convert. One of the Twelve Apostles. One of the first to have visions of the risen Christ. First Bishop of Jerusalem. Met with Saint Paul the Apostle to work out Paul‘s plans for evangelization. Supported the position that Gentile converts did not have to obey all Jewish religious law, though he continued to observe it himself as part of his heritage, may have been a vegetarian. A just and apostolic man known for his prayer life and devotion to the poor. Martyr.

Having been beaten to death, a club almost immediately became his symbol. This led to his patronage of fullers and pharmacists, both of whom use clubs in their professions. He is reported to have spent so much time in prayer that his knees thickened, and looked like a camel’s. Soon after the Crucifixion, James said he would fast until Christ returned; the resurrected Jesus appeared to him, and fixed a meal for James Himself.


  • c.62 at Jerusalem by being thrown from a pinnacle of the Temple, then stoned and beaten with clubs, including fuller‘s mallets, while praying for his attackers




MLA Citation

  • “Saint James the Lesser“. CatholicSaints.Info. 28 January 2022. Web. 28 January 2022. <>