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Saint James the Great

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St. James, called St. James the Great and St. James of Compostela (d. 44 A.D.), the son of Zebedee[?] and Salome, was one of the disciples of Jesus Christ (and brother to St. John). He is called Saint James the Greater to distinguish him from the other apostle named James (St. James the Less[?]). Saint James is described as one of the first disciples to join Jesus.

His feast day is celebrated on July 25.

Many people believe James went to Spain and preached Christianity there for a time before returning to Judea, where he was beheaded by King Herod Agrippa I in the year 44. Another tradition states that he miraculously appeared to fight in a Spanish army during the Reconquista, and is therefore called Matamoros (Moor-slayer).

The military Order of Santiago[?] or caballeros santiaguistas[?] was founded to fight the Moors and later membership became a precious honour. People like Diego Velázquez longed for the royal favour that allowed to put on their clothes the red cross of St. James[?].

These traditions are the main reason James became the patron saint of Spain, and his shrine at Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia in Spain, became the most famous pilgrimage site in the Christian world. St James's Way[?] is a set of routes that cross Western Europe and arrive to Santiago through Northern Spain.

The name "James" in English is "Iacobus" (Jacob) in Latin. In Spanish "Saint James" is Santiago or San Diego. James's emblem was the scallop[?] shell (or "cockle shell"), and pilgrims to his shrine often wore that symbol on their hats or clothes. The French for a scallop[?] is coquille St. Jacques, which means "cockle (or mollusk) of St. James", and that term also refers to a method of cooking and serving them, on a shell (real or ceramic) in a creamy wine sauce.

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