A chapter that seems to me of great value is what I call THE ABSENCES OF SANTIAGO. In the Acts of the Apostles it contrasts that of the three favorite apostles, there is the presence of Peter and John, in the absence of any mention of James. The presence of Peter and John stands out particularly in the scene of the healing of the birth cripple next to the Beautiful Door (Acts 31-11), with popular admiration and amazement that gave rise to the speech of Peter (Acts 312-26) to serve For the conversion of many, and that they might be rebuked by the Sanhedrin (Acts 41-22).
The prestige and presence of Peter then highlights in miracles such as the healing of a paralytic of Lydia and the resurrection of Tabitha in Joppa.
In front of this signified presence contrasts the emptiness of Santiago from which nothing is said until his martyrdom, which may be suggesting that Santiago was not present and well it is possible to interpret that this long and empty meaning translates an “Absence by distant and lasting trip”.
In the account of the death of James, it contrasts the brief mention of it in the scriptures (Acts 1:21-4): “At that time King Herod had some members of the Church arrested to mistreat them. He commanded to execute James, brother of John. ” This is all the news that is given, and instead there is abundant information about the death of the deacon Esteban, who, being a less relevant person, the Acts recounts his appointment and work in detail (Acts 6: 7), his arrest (Acts 6:8-15), his discourse (Acts 7: 1-53), his death (Acts 7: 54-60) and his burial (Acts 8: 1-3). From Santiago, on the other hand, nothing is said, nor is it mentioned if it were buried, which suggests that Santiago was not buried; In fact it could not be formally. How do you explain the emptiness of one of the favorite apostles? If the deacon Esteban died in the year 34 and they keep from him so many details, how is it that he does not keep a single comment or memory about some of the leaders of Christianity ?. It is a very significant difference that can be understood as a new argument about the ignorance by a clandestine evacuation of the body.
And of his Sepulcher?. There is no vestige of Jacobite sepulchral worship in Jerusalem. An anonymous pilgrim to the Holy Land, from the 6th century, known as the Placentino (from Piacenza) left a “skeletal” news about the tomb of St. James on the Mount of Olives. This is all there is about James the Greater from the earliest centuries to the present day, the testimony of some untranslated pilgrim in a localized and concrete cult over some definite tomb or mausoleum. This anonymous, isolated and unconfirmed fact, far from being a positive indication of the sepulchral cult of Santiago in the Holy Land, is precisely a criterion of lack of it, as if there were instead with James the Lesser and first bishop of Jerusalem or of the deacon San Estaban, or as with the tomb of Christ, or that attributed by some to Santa Maria, which, beyond their certainty, are true sepulchral cults.
All that remains of the memory of Santiago is that he was beheaded in Jerusalem, and in the face of the sepulchral lack contrasts with the worship that the Armenians render to the beheading of James the Greater in the Holy City. The Great Armenian Temple of Jerusalem (formerly Georgian) prides itself on having in the preferred place of the central nave, the throne or chair of James the Less (the brother of the Lord), and underneath the main altar is kept the tradition of being his Tomb, which occupies the preferred place of the Church. In other words, this temple has as main value the sepulchral cult to Santiago the Lesser. Dedicated to Santiago el Mayor there is only the chapel of the decapitation, where it is said that its head is buried but without real evidence of such relic, while the Armenian tradition itself states that the body was transferred to Spain, and the original text that Collection is from the beginning of the 7th century, translated into the Armenian language between 620 and 638, long before the discovery of the compostelan tomb. This tradition fits well with the fact that many Armenian pilgrims, before the discovery of Jacobean sepulcher, went to Compostela in the twelfth century, as recorded in the Codex Calixtino.
All this can only be interpreted as that the Apostle Santiago was not buried there. That is why the absence of his figure in the Scriptures, the lack of sepulchral worship, and the Armenian tradition, justify well something that tunes with the legend: that Santiago was absent for a long time, that on his return was executed, and then clandestinely evacuated to a faraway place.
Over the DECAPITATION OF SANTIAGO, Herod Agrippa, educated in Rome at the imperial court, being restored in the Jewish government, is seen as a fictitious and Romanized Jew, more linked to Rome than to Israel. Herod has to get along with the people and the Sanhedrin, and advised by him, ordered to arrest Santiago and condemn him for treason to Judaism, whose penalty, according to some Israeli tradition, is decapitation without burial. To erase his memory, the corpse was thrown to the Gehenna, or Valley of Hinon, a ravine near the southwest wall of Jerusalem, which became a garbage dump of the city where garbage and animal or criminal bodies were incinerated. To leave without burial was the greatest affront that could be made to a Jew, and this destiny so at hand in Jerusalem, that enjoyed a certain tradition, fits well with the destiny devised for a sentenced to decapitation by treason to the Judaism.
Great value here charges the LIBERATION OF PEDRO, arrested immediately after Santiago, also to execute him and obtain credit among the Jews. The Scriptures mention it very clearly, when after executing James says of Herod that “seeing that this proceeding pleased the Jews, he also seized Peter …” But the Scriptures recount their miraculous deliverance and that Herod, greatly upset by his frustrated purpose, retaliated against the guard. Regardless of whether or not it was a supernatural fact, the situation fits in with a liberating plot, in a nascent Christianity that had support in all sectors of Jewish and Roman society, particularly between the Sanhedrin and the Roman army, collaborators in a liberating plot that manages to save Pedro but did not have time to rescue Santiago, at least in life. Everything is also happening during the great debate between Judaism and Christianity, whose main exponent was the “openness to the Gentiles”, an issue that clashes head-on with Judaism that is intransigent in its concept of being the chosen people that awaits its liberating Messiah, who do not accept in the figure of Jesus Christ, generated the Jewish rejection and the persecution and arrest of the apostles and followers of Christianity, whom they judge traitors. Herod’s reprisal and the historical absence of a sepulcher in Jerusalem and Palestine give meaning to the clandestine evacuation of the body of St. James, and it was not in a stone boat, but in a well-caulked ship from which they periodically made the route between Palestine and the Hispanic Northwest.
The CONSERVATION OF THE BODY in such a long journey is another obstacle that far from being insurmountable, is well understood by the quotation in the Acts of the Apostles of Simon the Tanner (Acts 10: 6): “… that they bring Peter, who Is staying with Simon the Tanner, who has his house by the sea”. The façade of this house is preserved as a tourist visit of local interest. Simón the tanner is a professional in the preservation of bodies and skins, faithful to Christianity, residing in Joppa (Jafa), which hosts Pedro in his house, strategically located in front of the Mediterranean Sea, next to the lighthouse, in full conflict with the Judaism. On the terrace of this house Peter decided to open the doctrine to the Gentiles, which the scriptures report in the form of a visionary ecstasy (Acts 10: 9-16) which reveals to him that he should not consider profane or impure any man outside or not Jew (Acts 10: 27-29). And staying in this house was required by the centurion Cornelius, a Gentile described in the Scriptures as just and fearful of God, to whom Peter decided to grant baptism with his family. Cornelius is precisely a centurion of a court in the Hispanic city of Italica, so that Cornelius’ participation in the Jacobean crossroads, with a Roman guard seeking to escape from Herodian retaliation, may well justify that the fugue, with the body of the apostle Santiago treated by Simón el Curtidor, found a suitable route of evacuation from Joppe, by sea, and his destination could be very well the lands of Hispania.
In harmony with the absences of Santiago, the silence about his burial, the liberation of Pedro, the cult of burial of the Jews to their dead, and the presence of Simon the Tanner, it is logical to think of an initiative to rescue the body of Santiago And a form of fleeing from Palestine would have to be sought, in a fortuitously clandestine manner, probably in a hurry, given the risk of traveling with the body of one of the most outstanding leaders of an ideology rejected by Jews and Romans. The sea route was the best resource, from Joppe, the nearest port to Jerusalem, where his body could be conveniently treated and concealed, and then carried where it could be received, perhaps guarded by the hispanic guard of Italica who needed to flee from Herod . If he was preaching in the ends of the earth, why not return there, where they would probably find a suitable place for his tomb? Those who heard his preaching and venerated his legacy would gladly accept the location of his tomb, which would occupy a place of admired respect rather than famous worship. To guard his grave would be the last service, anonymous and clandestine, like the whole process, so that it is lost in the course of a history in which colonizations, wars, invasions, changes of creed, doctrinal struggles, and of course the cloak of the time. If this trip is clandestine, its repercussion should have been scarce; Just the right to leave a record in the local popular memory, settling there as a subliminal message.
Everything that has been argued up to this point makes sense of the escape to Joppa, the preservation of the body and the evacuation by sea, so that the old Jacobean Tradition is not a capricious and incredible option, but a coherent possibility and the most logical and feasible answer In the circumstances of the death of the Apostle James.