THE RELATION OF ST.
JAMES, THE APOSTLE, WITH THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
the Greater was one of the twelve apostles of
Jesus, a son of Zebedee. He and his older
brother John were called by Jesus while fixing
their nets at the Lake of Genesaret. They
received from Christ the name "Boanerges,"
meaning "sons of thunder," for their
impetuosity. The gospel relates that James was
present for the miracle of Jairo's daughter, the
Transfiguration, and later with Jesus during His
Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.
The Acts of the Apostles relates that the
Apostles dispersed to different regions to take
the Good News to the people of God. Sister Maria
de Jesus de Agreda was a Franciscan religious
who received revelations from Jesus. It was
revealed to her that St. James the Greater went
to Spain to evangelize. He went first to
Galicia, where he established a Christian
community and later to the Roman city of Cesar
Augusto, today known as Zaragoza.
is believed that on January 2nd, in the year 40
A.D., St. James and his disciples where resting
on the shore side of the Egro river and started
to hear sweet voices singing. They saw the sky
fill up with light and many angels coming near
them. The angels where carrying a throne on
which the Queen of Heaven and earth was sitting.
This was extraordinary, for Mary was living at
that time in Jerusalem, making her appearance to
them in Spain a bilocation. The Blessed Virgin
told St. James to build a sanctuary where God
would be honored and glorified, and gave him a
pillar with her image to be placed in the
The Blessed Virgin also told St. James that the
sanctuary would remain until the end of times
and that she would bless all the prayers offered
devoutly in this place. At the end of the
apparition, Our Lady said to St. James that when
the sanctuary was finished, he should return to
Palestine where he would die.
St. James fulfilled the desires of the Blessed
Virgin Mary and constructed the first Christian
Church in the entire world. St. James returned
to Palestine, where he was decapitated by order
of Herod on the 25th of March during a
persecution of the Church in Jerusalem.
According to tradition, the accuser of St.
James, who led him to judgment, was so moved by
St. James’ confession before death that he
converted and was willingly beheaded with the
Apostle. His disciples recovered his body and
transferred it to Galicia without anyone’s
knowledge in a miraculous boat guided by God.
In the Old Testament Jacob constructed an altar
for God naming it Bethel, which means "House of
God" (Gen. 35:7). Jacob is a Greek name, and
translated to Spanish, the name means James.
Jacob constructed the "House of God,” and St.
James parallels his namesake with the
construction of the first "House of God” of the
St. James' tomb was forgotten for over 800
years. Under the rule of Alfonso II (789-842), a
hermit named Pelagio received a vision revealing
the tomb of St. James. On July 25th, 812, the
spot where the tomb was revealed to be was
filled with a bright light. Because of this, it
has since been known as Compostela, which means
"Field of Light." The bishop of Iria Flavia,
Theodomir, after investigating, declared that
these were truly the remains of St. James in the
tomb. In 1884 Pope Leo XIII, in a Papal Bull,
declared that the remains of St. James were at Compostela.
St. James the Greater is also known as
"Matamoros," Spanish for “killer of the Moors.”
It is known that his intercession helped the
people in various occasions against the threat
of the Moors, especially in 1492 when Spain was
HIS PRESENCE IN THE NEW WORLD
1492 was also the year the Christopher Columbus
discovered the Americas. Columbus and his
conquistadors had a special devotion to the
image of Mary that had appeared in the mountains
of Spain that same year. Tradition tells us that
St. Luke the evangelist made the image.
The advocation of the image was "A Virgin of
Guadalupe," named after the small river that
passes through the mountain, meaning "A River of
Light." The conquerors, Colon and Cortes,
visited the sanctuary of the Virgin of Guadalupe
before departing on to the new land.
In 1519, Cortes arrived at Veracruz, today known
as Lantigua, and constructed the first church
dedicated to St. James the Apostle. Then in 1521
when Mexico was conquered from the Aztecs,
Cortes constructed a Church in ruins due to the
war with the Aztecs, which he dedicated to St.
James. This is the Church to which St. Juan
Diego was heading on December 9th, 1531 to
receive religious education classes and
participate in the Holy Mass for the Feast Day
of the Immaculate Conception.
St. James prepared the way for the Blessed
Virgin Mary both in Spain and in the 'new
world.’ He is the apostle of the Blessed Virgin
Mary that goes in front of Mary to prepare the
way. He is also known also as the apostle of
ST. JAMES AND THE BLESSED MOTHER
In 1981, when Our Lady appeared in Medjugorie,
with the advocation "Queen of Peace," St. James
already had made his presence known. A few years
before the apparition, the Church constructed in
the village of Medjugorie was dedicated to St.
James the Apostle. St. James, being the apostle
of peace, carries in his hands the keys to open
the door that would bring peace to Medjugorie.
We should pray to this apostle for his
intercession. St. James prepared the way for the
world to know the Virgin Mary as a "Pillar" of
our Church, just like the pillar she had given
him hundreds of years before.
ST. JAMES OF COMPOSTELA
In the middles ages all roads lead to Compostela.
The city is located in northern Spain, and it
was one of the principle cities of Christianity,
the other two being Jerusalem and Rome. Most
likely, Compostela was the most known and
All the European countries had their holy
places, but Santiago was always full of
pilgrims. Even the word pilgrimage was
associated to Santiago. Many pilgrims would come
walking to St. James tomb, which brought
prosperity to the city. Because many people came
from all throughout Europe, an exact route did
not exist, but instead many different ones.
There were four places designated in France as
starting points towards Santiago de Compostela.
In Spain these roads united to form two, the
"Way of Aragones,” and the "Way of France.” Of
the two roads, the "Way of France" was the most
important historically and also today.
The road follows the old Roman road "Via Traina.”
Today this same road is used by millions of
pilgrims, even though many have different
intentions than the Christians of mediaeval
times who expected to see miracles and receive
the absolution proclaimed by the Church.
This page is the work of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and
Copyright © 2006- SCTJM