Monday, July 23, 2007

Hispanic Christianity

St. James and the vision of Our Lady of the Pillar

Part III

St. James the Greater
Heavenly Patron of Spain.

Saint James who together with his brother Saint John are referred to in the New Testament as the sons of thunder, was the son of Zebedee, a fisherman and Salome; a relative of the Blessed Mother. He is also called the "Greater" to distinguish him from another of the Lord's apostle by the same name.

Tradition states that St. James the Greater miraculously appeared to fight for the Christian army during the battle of Clavijo at the time of the Spanish Reconquista, and was henceforth called Matamoros that is “Moor-slayer". Santiago y cierra España; "St James and strike for Spain" has been the traditional battle cry of Spanish armies since.

Cervantes says of St. James in his classic novel Don Quixote: “St James the Moor-slayer, one of the most valiant saints and knights the world ever had ... has been given by God to Spain for its patron and protection.

The name "James" in English comes from "Iacobus" (Jacob) in Latin. In eastern Spain, Jacobus became "Jacome" or "Jaime"; in Catalunya, it became Jaume, in western Spain it became "Iago", and Portugal and Galicia it was Tiago. "Saint James" ("Sanctus Jacobus") became "Sant' Iago", which was abbreviated to Santiago, and the Portuguese São Tiago is a cognate.

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