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Saint James the Confessor, Bishop of Catania (21 March)

Saint James, Bishop and Confessor was inclined toward the ascetic life from his early years. Saint James left the world and entered the Studite monastery, where he was tonsured. He led a strict life, full of works, fasting and prayer. Pious and well-versed in Holy Scripture, Saint James was elevated to the bishop’s throne of Catania (Sicily).

During the reign of the iconoclast emperor Constantine V Copronymos (741-775), Saint James was repeatedly urged not to venerate the holy icons. They exhausted him in prison, starved him, and beat him, but he bravely endured all these torments. Saint James died in exile.

This Saint took up the monastic life from his youth in the Monastery of Studium, where he became a disciple of Saint Theodore the Studite. Later he became bishop and suffered many afflictions and torments at the hands of the Iconoclasts. Saint Theodore composed a homily in honour of this Saint James (PG 99, 1353-1356).

Neither the place of his birth nor the place where James served as bishop are known. Only this is known: he fulfilled the law of Christ and spent much time laboring ascetically in strict fasting and prayer. During the reign of Copronymos, James endured great hardships and suffering, such as hunger, imprisonment and ridicule of all sorts at the hands of the iconoclasts. Finally, he gave up his soul to God, Whom he had faithfully served in this life. He lived and suffered in the eighth century.

Apolytikion of James the Confessor

Fourth Tone

O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Thy gentleness: take not Thy mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.

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