St. James the Less, also known as James, son of Alphaeus or James the Younger[1], was one of the Twelve chosen by Jesus and is believed to have been a bishop of a church consisting mainly of Jewish converts[4]. He is thought to have been born around the 1st century CE and his feast day is celebrated on May 3 in the Western Church and October 9 in the Eastern Church[2].

He is believed to be the same person as James, brother of Jesus and son of Alphaeus[1][3]. His mother Mary was either a sister or close relative of the Blessed Virgin Mary[3]. It is thought that he wrote his epistle around 49 AD, although some scholars believe it was written after St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans[3].

St. James was subject to persecution from Jews who were angered by St. Paul's appeal to Caesar in 60 AD[4]. Despite this, his singular virtue earned him respect from even those who persecuted him[5]. The oriental liturgy or mass which bears his name is mentioned by Proclus, patriarch of Constantinople and by the council in Trullo and is considered very ancient[4].

Francisco de Zurbarán was a Spanish painter of the 17th century[1][2]. He is known for his religious paintings depicting monks, nuns, and martyrs, as well as his still-lifes[1]. He was the leading painter in Seville between 1623 and 1650s[3], and is renowned for his use of tenebrism[4].

This image is in the public domain.

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