Saint Jacques le Mineur

Apostle James the Less

Apostle James the Lesser
Apostle James the Lesser

The Apostle James the Lesser or Younger, son of Alpheus, or Cleophas and Mary, lived in Galilee. He was the brother of the Apostle Jude. He is also called “the Minor”, “the Little”, “the Lesser”, or “the Younger”, according to translation. He is not to be confused with James, son of Zebedee (“James the Great or Elder”).

Some identify him as James, the Lord’s brother, thought of by St. Jerome and those who followed him as really the cousin of Jesus. James the Less was traditionally commemorated with St. Philip either on May 1 or May 3 in the Western Christian calendars. According to legend, he wrote the Epistle of James, preached in Palestine and Egypt, and was crucified in Egypt.

One of the lesser-known disciples was James. Some scholars believe he was Matthew, the tax collector’s brother. James was a man with a strong personality and one of the fiercest types. Another legend has it that he died as a martyr and his body was sawed into pieces. His apostolic symbol was a saw.

St. James the Less, by El Greco, c. 1595, oil on canvas - Hyde Collection - Glens Falls, NY
St. James the Less, by El Greco, c. 1595, oil on canvas - Hyde Collection - Glens Falls, NY

Birth/Early Life

St. James the Less, also called James, son of Alphaeus, or James the Younger, (1st century BC Galilee, Judaea, Roman Empire), one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus.

Life With Jesus

Jesus called James, son of Zebedee, to be a disciple sometime after the call of James, son of Zebedee, which led to his identification as James “the Lesser.” He, along with John and Peter, was regarded as early Church pillars, and St. Paul met with him to discuss how best to carry on the Church’s mission. He was among the first to witness the risen Christ. According to one legend, James declared after the Crucifixion that he would fast until Christ returned. The risen Jesus appeared to him and prepared a meal for him.

Life Facts

To avoid confusion with the other Apostle named James, whose feast we celebrate on July 25, James was given the nickname “the Less.” We believe this means he was younger than the other St. James, known as “the Greater.” Alphaeus’ son was James the Less. On the day Jesus was crucified, his mother stood alongside Mary at the Cross.

Two apostles named James

Interested in learning more about the remarkable lives of the two Apostles named James? We invite you to explore the shared names and distinct paths of these influential figures who played pivotal roles in the early Christian Church.

James the Less became an important part of the Church’s growth in Jerusalem after Jesus’ ascension. According to tradition, he presided over an important meeting of the early Church, the Council of Jerusalem, in the year 50 AD. St. Paul, St. Peter, and other Church leaders met at this time to discuss whether Gentiles or people who were not Jewish, could become followers of Jesus. James carefully listened to the discussion and assisted the group in deciding that the Church was open to all and that all people could be saved by living as disciples de Jésus.

"Hendrik Goltzius, Saint James the Less, probably 1589, engraving, Rosenwald Collection, 1943.3.9396"
"Hendrik Goltzius, Saint James the Less, probably 1589, engraving, Rosenwald Collection, 1943.3.9396"


Jésus-Christ a choisi James pour être un disciple à la main. Il étaitprésent dans la chambre haute de Jérusalem with the 11 disciples after Christ ascended to heaven. He could have been the first disciple to see the risen Christ. Even though his achievements are unknown to us today, James may simply have been overshadowed by the more prominent disciples.

Even so, being named one of the twelve was no small feat. His most significant act was his intervention in the contentious relationship between Christians of Jewish origin and those of pagan origin. In this regard, he worked with Peter to overcome, or rather integrate, the original Jewish dimension of Christianity with the need not to impose on converted pagans the obligation to submit to all the norms of the Law of Moses.

Le livre des Actes nous a conservé la solution de compromis proposée précisément par Jacques et acceptée par tous les Apôtres présents, selon laquelle les païens qui croyaient en Jésus-Christ devaient seulement être priés de s'abstenir de la pratique idolâtre de manger la viande des animaux sacrifiés. aux dieux, ainsi que d'« inconvenance », terme qui faisait probablement allusion à des unions matrimoniales irrégulières, il s'agissait de n'adhérer qu'à quelques interdits de la loi mosaïque tenus pour très importants.

Dans la Bible

Jacques le Mineur était le fils d'Alphée, while James the Greater was the son of Zebedee (Matthieu 10:3;Mark 3:8;Luc 6:15). According to 5th-century theologian Jerome and 1st-century bishop Papias of Hierapolis, his mother was Mary of Cleophas (sister of Jesus’ mother). He was also identified as Jude Thaddeus’ brother and possibly one of Jesus’ brothers (according to Galatians 1:19 and again according to Jerome).

Only a few verses in the Bible mention James the Lesser and what he did for the early church. He was one of the disciples who witnessed Christ’s resurrection (1 Corinthiens 15:7), a confidante of Peter when he was on the run from Herod Agrippa (Acts 12:17), and later rose to prominence in the church along with the other apostles. He was also credited as the writer of the Epistle of James. Like the other disciples, Jacques a abandonné le Seigneurpendant son procès et sa crucifixion.

Saint James the Lesser
Saint Jacques le Mineur

Life Lessons

While James the Lesser is one of the least known of the 12, we can’t overlook the fact that each of these men sacrificed everything to follow the Lord. In Luke 18:28, their spokesman Peter said, “We have left all we had to follow you!

Rembrandt The Apostle James the Less
Rembrandt The Apostle James the Less

La mort de saint Jacques le moins

Si l'on relie Jacques fils d'Alphée à Jacques le Juste (le frère de Jésus), on apprend qu'il a été poussé du haut d'un temple où il prêchait, battu d'unclub de foulon, et lapidé à mort. In art, James son of Alphaeus is commonly depicted with a fuller’s club, reflecting the church’s belief that he was the same person as James the Just. However, according to the tradition that James son of Alphaeus preached in Egypt, he was crucified in the city of Ostrakine. “On the Twelve Apostles of Christ”, Hippolytus, a theologian who lived in the second and third centuries, allegedly recorded James’ death:

"Et Jacques, fils d'Alphée, pendant qu'il prêchait à Jérusalem, fut lapidé à mort par les Juifs, et il fut enterré là à côté du temple."

This is the same death that tradition attributes to James, Jesus’ brother, but scholars have little reason to believe “On the Twelve Apostles of Christ”. The text was discovered in the nineteenth century, and most scholars believe it is pseudepigrapha (writing that falsely claims to be written by someone). As a result, the ambiguities and unknowns surrounding James son of Alphaeus prevent us from knowing how or where he died.

However, since the majority of the Twelve were martyred, it would be surprising if one of the lesser-known disciples, like John, died of old age. They gave up family, friends, homes, jobs, and everything they knew to follow Christ’s call. These ordinary men who did extraordinary things for God served as role models for us. They laid the groundwork for the Christian church, launching a movement that quickly spread across the globe. Today, we are a part of that movement.

V0033577 Saint James the Less and Saint Christina. Colour lithograph Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images Saint James the Less and Saint Christina. Colour lithograph by N.J. Strixner, 1829, after Lucas van Leyden. Published:  -  Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0
V0033577 Saint James the Less and Saint Christina. Colour lithograph Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images Saint James the Less and Saint Christina. Colour lithograph by N.J. Strixner, 1829, after Lucas van Leyden. Published: - Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

Clé à emporter

The Apostle James, the son of Alphaeus, was also referred to as James the Less or James the Lesser. He is not to be confused with James the Apostle, the first Apostle, and John’s brother. In the New Testament, there is the third James. He was Jesus’ brother, a leader in the Jerusalem church, and the author of the book of James.

Every listing of the 12 disciples includes James of Alphaeus, who is always listed ninth in the order. Although the Apostle Matthew (known as Levi, the tax collector before becoming a follower of Christ) is identified as the son of Alphaeus in Mark 2:14, scholars doubt he and James were brothers. The two disciples are never mentioned in the Gospels.

Characteristics of Apostle James the Lesser

The characteristics of Saint James the Less or James the Younger made us believe he was one of the later disciples called by Jesus. St. James the Less, the author of the first Catholic Epistle, was the son of Alphaeus of Cleophas. His mother, Mary, was either a sister or a close relative of the Blessed Virgin, and for that reason, according to Jewish custom, he was sometimes called the brother of the Lord. James the Less is one of the most obscure apostles in the Bible.

The only things we know for certain are his name and that he was present in the upper room of Jerusalem after Christ ascended to heaven. In Twelve Ordinary Men, John MacArthur suggests that his obscurity may have been the distinguishing mark of his life.

James the Less’ complete anonymity may reveal something profound about his character among the characteristics of the 12 apostles.

James the Less
Jacques le Moins


There’s not much we can say about James, son of Alphaeus, without assuming he was also the brother of Jesus. But the Bible doesn’t tell us he was. It doesn’t tell us anything about him as an individual.

The most distinguishing mark about James, the son of Alphaeus, is that there is no distinguishing mark! None of his actions is ever recorded. And there is not one recorded statement ever made in any of the gospels.

Even as the apostles’ story is continued in the Book of Acts, we still read nothing of James, the son of Alphaeus. It was his lot to be a background disciple. And yet, he still saw and experienced the miracles, the healings, the teachings, and the fellowship of Christ.

He may have been unknown, but obscurity is not an indicator of the condition of a man’s relationship with God.

Weak Faith

Despite everything James experienced as a disciple of Jesus, his faith remained weak until after the resurrection. Once, when he and his brother asked Jesus for the privilege of sitting beside him in glory, Jesus promised them only a share in his suffering.

They were learning that the greatest calling of a servant of Jesus is to serve others. James discovered that following Jesus Christ can lead to hardship, persecution, and even death, but the reward is eternal life with him in heaven.

St. James the Minor
St. James the Minor


Three times James, John, and Peter were invited by Jesus to witness events no one else saw: the raising of the daughter of Jairus from the dead, the transfiguration (Matthieu 17:1;Matthieu 17:2;Matthieu 17:3), and Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthieu 26:36;Matthieu 26:37).

But James was not above making mistakes. When a Samaritan village rejected Jesus, he and John wanted to call down fire from heaven upon the place. This earned them the nickname “Boanerges,” or “sons of thunder.”

The mother of James and John also overstepped her bounds, asking Jesus to grant her sons special positions in his kingdom.


According to tradition, he wrote the Epistle of James, preached in Palestine and Egypt, and was crucified in Egypt. James was one of the little-known disciples. Some scholars believe he was the brother of Matthew, the tax collector. James was a man of strong character and one of the fieriest types.

His book shows the difficulties that were troubling the early church people, such as pride, discrimination, greed, lust, hypocrisy, worldliness, and backbiting. James writes to correct these evils by showing that “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26); that is, the mere profession of faith is not enough.

He rebukes the rich in (James 5:1-6), tells us to be patient and take courage (James 5:7;James 5:8;James 5:9;James 5:10;James 5:11), not to swear (James 5:12), the effectiveness of prayer (James 5:13;James 5:14;James 5:15;James 5:16;James 5:17;James 5:18), and turns a fallen Christian back to Christ (James 5:19;James 5:20).


James was a loyal disciple of Jesus. He had outstanding personal qualities that are not detailed in Scripture because his character made him one of Jesus’ favorites.


James “the Less” and Judas were assigned to the management of the multitudes. It was their task to deputize a sufficient number of assistant ushers to maintain order among the crowds during the preaching.

Clé à emporter

James, the apostle, was one of the 12 original apostles. He was the son of a man named Zebedee and the older brother of John the Apostle. James was a pêcheur, as were his father and brother.

He was one of the first apostles to be called by Jesus. Jesus gave John and James the surname of Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder.” Together with Peter and John, James was a close confidant of Jesus, being present at many important events, including the resurrection of the daughter of Jairus, Jesus’ transfiguration, and the agony in Gethsemane.

Having been beaten to death, a club almost immediately became his symbol. This led to his patronage of fullers and pharmacists, both of whom use clubs in their professions. He is reported to have spent so much time in prayer that his knees thickened and looked like a camel’s.

Soon after the Crucifixion, James said he would fast until Christ returned; the resurrected Jesus appeared to him and fixed a meal for James Himself.

Summary Characteristics of Saint James the Less

This James is generally identified with James the Little or the Less, the brother of Joseph and son of Mary, Matthieu 27:56;Marc 15:40. In each list of the apostles, he is mentioned in the ninth position. He is said to be the brother of Jude, Jude 1:1. We know very little of his background except that some teach that he was known for his quietness and humility.

He lived in Galilee with his brother Jude. Jude was also called to be a disciple by Jesus. Not much is known about James; little is mentioned in the Bible about him. However, he was known to be quite a fiery, boisterous person, the passion aiding him in spreading the Gospel. James preached all across Egypt and Palestine.

James, the son of Alphaeus, is not to be confused with James, the son of Zebedee. The two James are distinguished from each other by the name of their fathers. The four times that he appeared in the New Testament were in a list of the 12. He was eventually put in charge of the church of Jerusalem.

Resources Characteristics of Saint James the Less

Faits de l'apôtre Jacques le Mineur

St James the Less Facts tell us that James is the son of Alphaeus (Luc 6:15). Le nom de sa mère est Marie (Marc 15:40) et il a un frère nommé Joseph (Matthieu 27:56). Except for a few details about his family, there is nothing more mentioned about him in Scripture. Maybe this is why he has been referred to as James the Less in Marc 15:40.

What is important to remember is although James was somewhat in the background, he was chosen by Jesus to be one of the twelve disciples. He was trained and used by Christ in a powerful way to further the Kingdom of God. He was a valuable team member. Tradition says he was crucified in Sinai or possibly stoned to death in Jerusalem.

Apostle James the Less Logo
Apostle James logo

Jacques le Mineur Faits et Symbole

St James the Less Facts writes that James the Less is also called James the son of Alphaeus in the gospels. Because there are so many named James in the Bible, sources argue about their identities, so he may be associated with other people in the book of Acts or the gospels.

Son nom, Jacques le Mineur, ne signifie pas que Jacques avait un statut inférieur à celui de Jacques le Majeur. Cela signifiait simplement qu'il était plus jeune que les autres James.

Tradition has it that James was one of the oldest of the apostles when he was martyred. Some traditions state that he was crucifié en Egypte where he preached the gospel.

L'histoire la plus courante, celle représentée dans son symbole, est qu'il a été lapidé ou battu puis scié en deux. Son symbole, la scie, reflète la méthode de sa mort, et les artistes représentent parfois la scie avec un club ou des pierres.

Les symboles de ces apôtres nous aident à nous souvenir de ces grandes histoires. Chacun nous rappelle sa vie et aussi sa mort. Ils ont fidèlement prêché l'évangile et sont souvent morts pour leur sauveur.

The symbols help us consider their lives and their deaths. Christians throughout history have used the stories of martyrs and apostles to encourage each of us to be faithful like they were. We remember their deaths and follow their example.

Son obscurité

In the New Testament, there is nothing said of the individual achievements or failures of this apostle. However, the Lord did choose James as an apostle, and he was still with the church on Pentecost (Actes 1:13); therefore, there is no reason to doubt he rendu de loyaux services to the Lord.

St James the Less Facts qu'il est un serviteur de Dieu et devrait être heureux de servir le Christ à quelque titre que ce soit. Le peuple de Dieu n'est pas dans ce monde pour gagner l'acclamation des hommes. Ils ne sont pas censés être des chasseurs de publicité.

Néanmoins, chaque église baptiste a quelques membres qui restent gonflés si tous leurs efforts ne sont pas reconnus publiquement. D'autres veulent être considérés comme des «gros bonnets» de l'église, qu'ils fassent quelque chose ou non. Les serviteurs fidèles ne voient pas d'inconvénient à ce que leurs noms restent en arrière-plan.

Ils servent Dieu, pas l'homme. Au fil des ans, de nombreux baptistes dévoués ont adoré et servi Dieu sans tambour ni trompette. Avec leur perspicacité, leur sagesse et leur amour, ils sont les véritables "colonnes vertébrales" d'une église. « Un homme intelligent se tait » (Proverbes 11:12).

Dieu est Celui Qui choisit le lieu de service pour Son peuple. Lorsqu'une personne sert à cet endroit, elle fait la volonté de Dieu. Il n'y a pas de station plus élevée dans la vie. Par conséquent, les croyants doivent déterminer la volonté de Dieu pour leur vie, le servir fidèlement dans sa volonté et y être heureux (Jean 13:16Jean 13:17). Ceux qui ne servent que pour être reconnus ont maintenant leur récompense.

Saint James the Less
Saint Jacques le Mineur

Comment Saint Jacques est représenté dans l'art chrétien

Il est utile de pouvoir reconnaître saint Jacques dans les peintures, les vitraux, les manuscrits enluminés, l'architecture et d'autres formes d'art chrétien. Les représentations artistiques reflètent la vie ou la mort des saints ou un aspect de la vie auquel la personne est le plus étroitement associée. Saint Jacques est représenté dans l'art chrétien avec une massue de foulon, l'instrument avec lequel Siméon le foulon se cassa la cervelle.

His Traditions

Catholicism complicates matters concerning this apostle by making him identical to “James the Lord’s brother”. They say Joseph is his father, but Mary the mother of Jesus is not his mother.

En conséquence, ils font de Joseph moins qu'un homme moral pour promouvoir leur enseignement de la virginité perpétuelle de Marie. De telles revendications sont non seulement compliquées mais contradictoires et indéfendables par la Parole de Dieu.

Les écrits traditionnels des hommes attribuent l'œuvre de Jacques le Mineur à la Palestine, à l'Espagne, à la Grande-Bretagne, à l'Irlande et à l'Égypte. De nombreuses traditions entourent la manière et le lieu de sa mort.

De qui ou de quoi saint Jacques est-il le saint patron ?

Saint James is the patron of Hatmakers. Meanings, definitions, and origins – a patron is considered to be a defender of a specific group of people or a nation. There is a patron for virtually every cause, profession, or special interest. Prayers are considered more likely to be answered by asking a patron for intercession on their behalf.

Prayer Saint James the Lesser
O glorious Apostle, Saint James, who by reason of thy fervent and generous heart was chosen by Jesus to be a witness of His glory on Mount Tabor, and of His agony in Gethsemane; thou, whose very name is a symbol of warfare and victory: obtain for us strength and consolation in the unending warfare of this life, that, having constantly and generously followed Jesus, we may be victors in the strife and deserve to receive the victor’s crown in heaven. Amen.

Fête de Saint Jacques

The La fête de saint Jacques le Mineur est le 3 mai. L'origine des jours de fête : la plupart des saints ont des jours de fête spécialement désignés et sont associés à un jour spécifique de l'année et ceux-ci sont appelés le jour de fête du saint. Les jours de fête sont nés pour la première fois de la très ancienne coutume chrétienne de la commémoration annuelle des martyrs aux dates de leur mort tout en célébrant leur naissance au ciel.

Conclusion St Jacques le Moins Faits

Jacques (fils d'Alphée) (également connu sous le nom de Saint Jacques le Mineur par l'église catholique) est l'un des disciples dont on sait très peu de choses. Le père de James a partagé son nom avec le père de Matthew et il est possible qu'ils aient été frères;

cependant, cela ne peut pas être connu avec certitude car il y avait beaucoup de réutilisation de noms à cette époque. Les faits de James le moins prouvent que James, le fils d'Alphée, est considéré comme le même homme que celui appelé "James le moins" comme un moyen pour les disciples de faire la distinction entre les deux James, mais cela n'est pas connu avec certitude et ne devrait pas être assumé.

Ressources St Jacques le Moins Faits

Résumé Saint Jacques le Moins

Saint Jacques le Mineur, l'auteur de la première épître catholique, était le fils d'Alphée de Cléophas. Sa mère Marie était soit une sœur, soit une proche parente de la Sainte Vierge, et pour cette raison, selon la coutume juive, il était parfois appelé le frère du Seigneur.

The Apostle held a distinguished position in the early Christian community of Jerusalem. St. Paul tells us he was a witness of the Resurrection of Christ; he is also a “pillar” of the Church, whom St. Paul consulted about the Gospel. According to legend, he was the first Bishop of Jerusalem and attended the Jerusalem Council around the year 50.

The historians Eusebius and Hegesippus wrote, that St. James, was martyred for the Faith by the Jews in the Spring of the year 62, although they greatly admired his person and had given him the surname “James the Just.” He has always been regarded as the author of the Epistle that bears his name. Internal evidence based on the Epistle’s language, style, and teaching reveals its author as a Jew familiar with the Old Testament and a Christian thoroughly grounded in Gospel teachings. External evidence from the Church’s early Fathers and Councils confirmed its authenticity and canonicity.


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