On October 9, the Greek Orthodox Church commemorates the Feast Day of Agios Iakovos (James), Son of Alphaeus who was one of Jesus’ Twelve Apostles.
He was the blood-brother of the Apostle and Evangelist Matthew. He was a witness of the true words and miracles of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and a witness of His suffering, Resurrection, and Ascension. After the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the lot fell to Iakovos to preach the Gospel of Christ in Eleutheropolis and the surrounding areas, and then in Egypt, where he suffered for his Savior. With great power in word and in deed, James disseminated the saving news of the incarnate Word of God, destroying idolatry, driving demons out of men, and healing every infirmity and disease in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. His labor and zeal were crowned with great success. Many pagans came to believe in Christ, churches were built and organized, and priests and bishops were ordained. James suffered in the Egyptian town of Ostracina, being crucified by the pagans. Thus, this great and wonderful apostle of Christ took up his abode in the Heavenly Kingdom, to reign eternally with the King of Glory.
There were three Apostles named James (or, in the original Greek of the New Testament, Iakovos). Two were members of the Twelve; James, the son of Zebedee, brother of John, was part of Jesus’ inner circle of three (Peter, John, and James). The Gospels mention another James, the son of Alphaeus and brother of Apostle Matthew, among the Twelve, and he is sometimes called “the Younger” or “the Less” to distinguish him from the son of Zebedee. There is a third James, the first bishop of Jerusalem and the author of the epistle that bears his name; he is called “the brother (or kinsman) of the Lord” (literally, “of God”). An ancient liturgy is also attributed to this third James. James the Brother of God was the son of Joseph the Betrothed from his first marriage or the son of Kleopas, brother of Joseph. James (Iakovos) commemorated on October 9 is the second of these three, James the Less, son of Alphaeus. The James (Iakovos) commemorated on October 23rd is the third of these three, the Brother of the Lord.
Agios Iakovos, son of Alphaeus is also known as the protector and patron saint of pharmacists and pilots.