Friday, March 20, 2009

Saint James, Bishop of Catania (Sicily)

The Monk James, Bishop and Confessor, had from his early years yearned towards the ascetic life. Saint James left the world and withdrew to the Studite monastery, where he was monasticised.

He led a strict life, full of works, fasting and prayer. Pious as a monk and remarkably learned in Holy Scripture, the Monk James was elevated to the bishop's cathedra-seat of the Church in Catania (Sicily). During the reign of the iconoclast emperor Constantine V Kopronymos* (741-775),

*note on the scoundral Constantine V - his derogatory epithet Kopronymos ("Dung-named", from kopros ("feces" or "animal dung") and onoma, "name"), was applied to him by his avowed enemies over the extremely emotional issue of the icons. Using the obscene name they spread the rumour that, as an infant, he had defecated in his baptismal font.

Saint James was repeatedly urged in vain towards a renunciation of holy icons. They exhausted him in prison, starved him with hunger, and they beat him, but he bravely endured all the suffering. The holy Bishop James died in exile.

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