Saint James Intercisus was a Persian who lived in the fifth century. He was a great favorite of King Yezdigerd I. When this king began to persecute Christians, James did not have the courage to confess his faith. He was afraid of losing the king’s friendship. So he gave up his faith or at least pretended to. James’ wife and mother were broken-hearted. When the king died, they wrote a strong letter to him to change his ways. This letter had its effect on James. He had been a coward, but at heart, he was still good. Now he began to stay away from court. He blamed himself openly for having given up his faith.
The new king sent for him, but this time, James hid nothing. “I am a Christian,” he said. The king accused him of being ungrateful for all the honors his father, King Yezdigerd, had given him. “And where is your father now?” St. James calmly answered. The angry king threatened to put the saint to a terrible death. James replied, “May I die the death of the just.”
The king and his council condemned James to torture and death. But his fears had gone. He said, “This death which appears so dreadful is very little for the purchase of eternal life.” Then he told the executioners, “Begin your work.” He was executed by having his body cut apart into 28 pieces, beginning with his fingers (hence his surname “Intercisus” – meaning “cut to pieces”), and then beheaded. All the while, he kept declaring his faith that his body would one day rise in glory. St. James Intercisus died in 421.
The Church of St. James Intercisus situated in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem is dedicated to him.