St. Iakovos

St. Iakovos
Icon of Saint Iakovos provided by Theologic

The Apolytikion of he Holy Apostle Iakovos

As the Lord's disciple, O righteous One, you received the Gospel, as Martyr, you have unwavering courage, as the Lord's brother, you have forthrightness, as Hierarch, intercession. Intercede with Christ our God, that our souls may be saved.

The Life of the Holy Apostle Iakovos

St. Iakovos, also known as "St. James, the brother of the Lord," is the patron saint of the Ionian Village chapel. Although St. Iakovos was an apostle of the Lord, he was not one of the original twelve apostles. It is Orthodox belief that St. James converted to Christianity upon seeing the resurrected Christ. Shortly after Christ appeared to St. James, the apostles appointed him as the bishop of the Church of Jerusalem, so that he presided over the Jerusalem Council. While the rest of the apostles traveled around the world and preached and taught the word of God in many countries, James remained behind to establish further the Christian faith in Jerusalem and its surrounding areas.

St. James lived an ascetic life and spent much of his time on his knees in prayer for his people. The people of Jerusalem, both Christians and Jews, grew to respect him for his sense of fairness and his strict adherence to the Law of Moses. For it was the Jews who called him, "James the Just." However, over time, the Jews began to despise him for his teaching that Christ was the Messiah. Therefore, the chief priests and scribes called James before them and asked him to deny Christ in order to spare his own life. When James declared that Christ is sitting at the right hand of the Lord and that He will come again, the chief priests and scribes threw him down from the temple to the courtyard below. As James arose without injury, the crowd clubbed him to death.

Not long before his death in 62 AD, St. James wrote his Epistle in an effort to reassure those Jews that he had converted to Christianity. In this letter, he instructs his readers to live their lives with both faith and works. He explains that faith without works does not promise the soul salvation. St. James is also remembered for his attributions to the healing service, in which the Sacrament of Holy Unction is offered. In his letter, he teaches that when one is sick, he should call upon the elders of the church to read and pray over him so that he may be healed and his sins be forgiven (James 5:10-17).