James the Great
James, son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother to John, was one of the first disciples Jesus called. James and John were "in the boat with their father ... mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him" (Matthew 4:21-22). This James is distinguished as James the Great since there were other followers named James.
Jesus nicknamed the brothers "Sons of Thunder." Along with Peter, James and John formed the inner circle of the disciples. They accompanied Jesus when he healed Jairus' daughter and were present at the Transfiguration. The brothers were part of a discussion on who would sit in honor at Jesus' right hand (Matthew 20:20-23, Mark 10:35-45.) James and John stayed with Jesus while he prayed in Gesthemane but let him down when they fell asleep.
After the death and resurrection of Jesus, both brothers were leaders in the early church community. Tradition says that James preached in Spain. According to the Acts of the Apostles, King Herod Agrippa had James executed by the sword between A.D. 42 and 44. He was the first disciple to be martyred. Santiago de Compostela claims to house his remains.
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