On this day we commemorate the martyrdom of St. James the Mangled. He was a soldier in the army of Sakrod, the son of Sapor, King of Persia. Because of his courage and his uprightness, he was promoted to the highest rank in the King's court. He found favor and access to the King, who even counselled with him in many affairs. In this way, the King influenced St. James greatly to the extent that he turned his heart away from worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ.

When his mother, his wife and his sister heard that he adopted the King's belief they wrote to him saying: "Why have you forsaken the faith in the Lord Jesus and worshipped created objects, as the fire and the sun? If you persist in what you are doing, we will disown you and you will become a stranger to us". When he read their letter he wept and said: "If by doing that, I have become a stranger to my own family and my people, how would the situation be with my Lord Jesus Christ?" He resigned from the King's service and devoted his time to reading the Holy Books.

When the news reached the King, he summoned him. When he saw the change that had befallen him, he ordered that he be beaten severely and if he did not change his belief, he was to be cut up with knives.

They cut off his fingers, his hands, his legs and his arms. Each time they cut off a member of his body, he praised the Lord and sang this Psalm: "Have mercy upon me O God, According to Your lovingkindness" (Psalm 51:1). Eventually, nothing was left of him except his head, his breast and loins.

When he knew that his time was near, he entreated the Lord to have mercy and compassion upon the world and the people therein. He apologized for not standing in the presence of the mighty Lord and said: "I have neither legs to stand before You, nor hands to lift up to You, behold the parts of my body are cast around me, Lord, receive my soul". Immediately, the Lord Jesus appeared to him, comforted and strengthened him and his soul rejoiced. Before he delivered up his soul, one of the guards made haste and cut off his head and he received the crown of martyrdom. Some of the believers came forward, took his body, wrapped it and buried it.

When his mother, his wife, and his sister heard that he was martyred they rejoiced for his soul and came to where the body was. They embraced and kissed it weeping. They shrouded it in expensive cloth and poured sweet scents and ointment over it. A church and a monastery were built in his name during the reign of the righteous Emperors Arcadius and Honourius. Many miracles and wonders appeared through his body.

When the King of Persia heard the news of the miracles and wonders which appeared through the body of the saint and of the other honored martyrs, he ordered all the bodies of the martyrs in all parts of the Kingdom to be burnt. Some of the believers came and took the body of St. James and brought it to Jerusalem and entrusted it to St. Peter El-Rahawy, the Bishop of Gaza. It remained there until the reign of Marcianus who persecuted Orthodox Christians everywhere.

Bishop Peter took the body of the saint to Egypt. There he went to the City of Behnasa, where he stayed in a monastery occupied by devoted monks. It happened that at the sixth hour, while they were praying in the place where the holy body laid, St. James appeared to them with many of the martyrs of Persia. They joined them in singing, blessed them and disappeared. Before leaving, however, St. James told them that his body should stay there as the Lord commanded.

Despite that, when Abba Peter the Bishop, decided to return to his country, he took the body with him. When he arrived at the seashore, the body was taken away from their hands and returned to the place where it had originally been.

Sainted Maksim, successor of the Kievan Metropolitan Kirill III (1243-1280), was by birth a Greek, and he arrived in Rus', which then suffered under the Mongol (Tatar) Yoke, in the year 1283 in the dignity of Metropolitan. The saint decided to remain at Kiev, but the city was completely devastated by the plundering incursions of the Tatars. Metropolitan Maksim withdrew to Bryansk, and from there to Suzdal'. During the time of his visit from Southern Rus' to Volynia the saint met with the hegumen of the Ratsk monastery, Sainted Peter (commemorated 21 December), who would succeed him in future as metropolitan.

In 1295 the saint deposed Jakov from the bishop's cathedra at Vladimir and put there Simon. During these terrible times the Great-princely throne was situated first at Vladimir, then at Pereslavl', then at Tver'.

Apprehensive lest he insult the South Russian princes by his removal to the north, the saint turned in heated prayers to the Mother of God and was granted inspiration by the MostHoly Mother of God, Who pointed to Vladimir as the place of his residence. In the year 1299 Metropolitan Maksim resettled at Vladimir, and in the following year at Novgorod he established as bishop Sainted Theoktist (commemorated 23 December). In 1301 Metropolitan Maksim arrived at Constantinople for a Patriarchal Council, where at the urging of the bishop of Saraisk Sainted Theognost he set forth for resolution questions about the needs of the Russian Church. Concerned about rebuilding the strength of subjugated Rus', the saint urged the Moscow prince Yuri Danilovich to make peace with the Tver' prince Mikhail Yaroslavich, and he advised Yuri journeying to the Horde for receiving the Great-princely throne. In 1304 the saint installed upon the Great-princely throne at Vladimir the holy Nobleborn Prince of Tver', Mikhail Yaroslavich (Comm. 22 November). Giving everyone example of intense spiritual life, Metropolitan Maksim was constantly concerned about the spiritual growth of his proverbial flock. Thus, the saint established rules about fasting, besides Great Lent specifying it for the Apostles', Dormition and Nativity lenten periods, and he defined when the fast on Wednesdays and Fridays is allowed (until the XIV Century in Russia they did not observe fast on the Mid-Feast and Leave-taking of Pascha). The holy metropolitan was particularly concerned with an affirmation of lawful marriage: "I write therefore about all this, so that ye my children, born in baptismal font and newly-sanctified, will take for your wife from the Holy, Catholic [Soborni] and Apostolic Church -- for the woman is unto the salvation of the man. If ye cleave to them in profligacy without marriage: what doth it benefit thee? No, but rather beseech ye and implore them whether young or old to be married in the Church". The saint reposed on 6 December 1305, and his body was buried in the Vladimir Uspenie cathedral. Over the place of the saint's grave was built a gilded covering, on which was written in gold lettering: "Maksim the Greek ordained in the year 6791 in the existence of the world and having come to Kiev in the year 1283 after the Birth of Christ, because of his sharing in the Tatar onslaught he resettled from Kiev to the Great-Russian city of Vladimir; Maksim shepherded the Church of Christ for 23 years, and he reposed in the year 6813." On the wall over the grave of the saint was put the Maksimovsk Icon of the Mother of God, written in the year 1299 in a vision to Metropolitan Maksim. An inscription about this vision was embellished on the left side of the crypt.