St. James was the first apostle to be martyred for his faith. In the Gospels, Jesus calls him, and he and his brother John leave their father Zebedee immediately. He was one of the three apostles who was especially close to Jesus, and was there with Jesus, John, and Peter at the Transfiguration and the Garden of Gethsemane.
James is called “the Greater” to distinguish him from the other apostle James, as he was older.
St. James was beheaded by the order of Herod of Agrippa. He is the patron saint of Spain and of pilgrims.