St James was from the city of Bythlaba and was of noble birth; he was the closest and most honoured friend of Isdiger (or Yazdegerd) I, King of Persia (reigned 399-420 AD). Though a Christian from his youth, James renounced Christ because he was allured by the King’s friendship and flatteries.
When his mother and his wife learned of this, they declared to him by letter that they would have nothing more to do with him, since he had preferred a glory that is temporal to the love of Christ. Wounded in soul by these words and coming to himself, the Saint wept over his error, and repudiated the worship of the idols. Therefore, becoming exceedingly wroth, the King – this was Bahram (or Varahran) V (reigned 421-438 AD), Isdiger’s son and successor – condemned him to a most bitter death, the likes of which not even a brute beast was ever condemned to: that is, his body was dismembered at every joint of his arms and legs. Therefore, when he had been cut asunder limb by limb to his very hips and shoulders, the courageous Martyr was finally beheaded, in 421 AD.
Dismissal Hymn (First Tone)
Be entreated, O Lord, by the sufferings endured for You by the Saints, and we pray You, heal all our pain.
Kontakion (Second Tone)
O stout-hearted James, persuaded by thy noble wife, and fearing the dread tribunal, you scorned all fear of the Persians with their profane decrees, and you were shown to be a most wondrous martyr of Christ, when all of thy body was pruned like a vine.