St James's Episcopal Church, Aberdeen

 

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MORE ABOUT JAMES THE LESS

 



Our patron saint is called ‘St James the Less’.   James the Less is a figure of early Christianity.  He is also called "the Minor", "the Little", "the Lesser" or "the Younger". (This James is not to be confused with Jesus’ disciple James, son of Zebedee.)  

His identity is a mystery.  One possibility is that he is James, the Lord's brother (also known as ‘James the Just’).  Early Christian writers identified him as the leader of the Church in Jerusalem.  Another possibility is James, son of Alphaeus, who, like James son of Zebedee, was also a disciple of Jesus.  It is not certain which, if either, is James the Less.

The actual title ‘James the Less’ may occur in the New Testament in Mark 15:40, where Mary, one of the women who ‘looked on from afar’ at the crucifixion, is said to be his mother.  This Mary is almost certainly not the mother of Jesus and thus this James could be the son of Alphaeus but not the brother of Jesus.  There is, however, no certainty that this is the person that the Church knows as ‘James the Less’.