The Departure of St. James of the East
On this day, St. James of the East (Oriental), the confessor, departed. He lived and worshipped in one of the monasteries of the East. He was a contemporary of Emperor Constantine the Great, Julian the Infidel, and Jovianus the Believer. When the latter was killed, Valens, his brother, reigned in his stead. He was an arian and he closed the Orthodox churches and allowed the Arians to open their churches. The grace of God moved this Saint and he went to the city of Constantinia. He met the Emperor on his way to war. He stood before the Emperor and said, "I ask you to open the churches of the believers, that they may pray for you, so may God make you victorious against your enemies, otherwise God will forsake you and you will be defeated before your enemies." The Emperor became angry at what St. James said and commanded to beat and imprison him. The Saint told him; "Know that you shall be defeated before your enemies, and you shall die by burning." The Emperor became enraged and ordered to keep him under guard until he should return from war. The Saint told him, "If you return safely, then God has not spoken by my mouth."
The Emperor went on to fight his enemies. When the two armies faced each other, the Lord forsake him, so he was defeated before his enemies. They pursued him until he came to a certain village to which they set fire. Its people escaped, but he and some of his men remained and they were burned. Those of his soldiers who returned to the city of Constantinia told the believers what had happened. Thus the prophecy of the holy man was fulfilled. The believers assembled, and brought him out of prison with great honor. The Arians knew that the divine grace and the spirit of prophecy dwelt in him, as they believed in the accuracy of his faith. Many turned from their error, confessing that the Son of God is equal with the Father in essence.
This saint spent the rest of the days of his life in devotion to the ascetic life, and in fighting the spiritual fight until he departed in peace.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
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