Tuesday, July 23, 2013

James the Great: Patron of Laborers

by Alan S. Cajes

The Municipality of Batuan (my hometown) in Bohol, Philippines is celebrating the feast of Saint James the Apostle on July 25. Saint James is the Patron of Laborers. He is the brother of Saint John the Evangelist. 

Saint James was the first of the Apostles who suffered martyrdom in AD 44 after preaching the Gospel to the dispersed Jews. Like Simon Peter, Saints James and John were given special names - Sons of Thunder - for their fiery temper and evangelical zeal. He, like Saints John and Peter, had the rare privilege of witnessing the transfiguration of Jesus, who spoke to Moses and Elijah, as the voice of God spoke from a cloud. 

Saint James's representation as Santiago Matamoros (the Moor-slayer) shows him riding a horse and holding a sword. This is a “symbol of the fight between Christianity and Islam and the reconquest of Spain from eight centuries of Moorish rule before 1492". Legend has it that James the Great “appeared to Christian troops fighting Moorish army at the Battle of Clavijo in 844”. This view is now rejected as “thoroughly controversial”. - Quotes from Sophia Deboick, The Enigma of Saint James (2010)

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