Tradition claims that St. James the Greater was martyred in the year 44, roughly 11 years after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
His martyrdom is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles:
“About that time King Herod laid hands upon some members of the church to harm them. He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword” (Acts 12:1–2).
This makes his martyrdom one of the earliest in the Church’s history and a powerful example to us today.
Here is the collect prayer for his feast, looking to his martyrdom for strength.
you accepted the sacrifice of Saint James,
the first of your apostles to give his life for your sake.
May your Church find strength in his martyrdom
and support in his constant prayer.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.