Hymns for the feast of St James the Apostle (St James the Great) - 25 July

This is a selection of hymns for the feast of Saint James the Apostle, which is celebrated on 25 July.

The hymn suggestions below are either directly about St James, based on the themes from his/her life and ministry, or based on the readings assigned to the feast.

About St. James the Apostle (St James the Great)

From Galilee, James was the son of Zebedee and Salome and brother of John the Apostle. He was one of Jesus Twelve Apostles, and one of the first disciples - and was one of those that Jesus called Boanerges "son of thunder".

James, his brother John and Peter were particularly close to Jesus: they saw the Transfiguration and witnessed certain miracles, eg raising of the daughter of Jairus. Later in his life, they accompanied Him to the Garden of Gethsemani.

After Jesus death, he continued the work of evangelisation. Tradition says that he preached in the area now known as Spain.

He was politically involved and was arrested and executed by King Herod Agrippa:  this is the only death of an apostle which is recorded in the New Testament.

After James died, he was buried in Spain. In the 9th century, location of his tomb became known to the hermit Pelayo - legend says it was revealed by the stars and the sound of choirs of angels singing, and that this is how the location was named Compostela. James' relics became a pilgrimage site, which is now known as the The Camino de Compostela, and is still a pilgrimage destination for people from all over the world.

Today he is known as the patron saint of Spain, Portugal, and various other Spanish-speaking locations, and of veterinarians, and horse-riding.


First: II Corinthians 4:7-15 ... we hold this treasure in earthen vessels ... knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence ...

Psalm  126: 1-6 - Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing / When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion / The Lord has done great things for them / Restore our fortunes, O Lord / Although they go forth weeping,

Gospel: Matthew 20:20-28 - the mother of James and John asks if they can sit at Jesus right and left in the Kingdom - Jesus explained "the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many"

Free-use hymns

Are Ye Able Said the Master

By all your Saints Still Striving
With verse 2:
We praise you for the witness
of James, the one who died
in telling of his Saviour,
Jesus the Crucified.
Lord, help us not to treasure
our worldly goods or fame,
but may we, trials enduring,
bring glory to your name.
Bringing in the Sheaves

For all thy Saints a Noble Throng

For thy Blest Saints

Let All on Earth Their Voices Raise

Lord, who Shall sit Beside Thee

The Eternal Gifts of Christ the King

Hymns which may still be copyright

Hymn to St James - Godfrey (actually an SATB anthem - details here)

James and John Once Came to Jesus - Davidson

Let Catholics Rejoice! - translated from a hymn in the Codex Calixtinus, translator unknown

Saint James the Apostle - Voetberg

Sons of Thunder, James and John - Gilette (author's website)

The Summons - Bell

Are there other hymns for this feast-day?   Leave a message in the Comment box at the bottom of the page.

More resources for church-music selection ....

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