(The Greater) He was the son of Zebedee. He, with his elder brother John and with Peter, constituted the privileged group - the inner circle of the disciples.

James was present at the Transfiguration and the Agony in Gethsemane. His zeal was ardent and he and his brother were named by the Lord "Boanerges", which means "sons of thunder". James was beheaded by Herod Agrippa I in A. D. 44, the first of the Twelve to suffer martyrdom. A theory that he preached in Spain is counter to the tradition of the Church and the Epistle to the Romans, 15:20 and 24, which concur that he did not leave Jerusalem. According to an old Spanish tradition, the body of St. James was transferred to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, where St. James was one of the most revered Spanish saints during the Middle Ages.