Leigh Hatts  

Translation of St James the Great: 6th Day of Christmas

The figure of St James the Great on the clock at St James Garlickhythe Church in the City of London where pilgrims can obtain their first pilgrim passport stamp

Today we remember St James the Great who was one of the apostles and therefore someone who knew Jesus during his ministry.

The Translation refers to the arrival in about 814 of his body in Santiago de Compostela, northern Spain, where today many go on walking pilgrimage from France, Portugal and even England.

Many winter pilgrims and locals will be in Santiago Cathedral this morning for the Mass.

James was the brother of John who we remembered last Wednesday. He was also present with Christ at the Transfiguration and in the Garden of Gethsemane.

We know from the Bible (Acts 12.2) that James was beheaded.

His head remains in Jerusalem.

Also missing from the body in Santiago is the right hand which was cut off just before beheading. A hand in the care of St Peter’s Church in Marlow, but only occasionally displayed,  is claimed as being the hand of St James once at Reading Abbey.

London churches dedicated to St James the Great are St James’s Spanish Place and St James Garlickhythe.

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