Today is the feast day of St. James of Nisibis, a fifth century bishop in the Armenian city of Nisibis (now southeastern Turkey). The following excerpts come from Dr. Arra S. Avakian’s Armenia: A Journey Through History (Electric Press, 1999):
With a prevailing controversy among churchmen over the question of which mountain it was where Noah’s Ark came to rest, Patriarch James of Nisibis sought to reach the summit of Mt. Ararat to find the remains of the Ark and thust put the controversy to rest. Tradition has it that after several failed attemtpts to reach the summit, an angel appeared before him a piece of wood, advising him that it was form the Ark. Today That relic sits in a golden triptych in the museum to the rear of the altar of the Cathedral at Etchmiadzin (the main church of the Catholicos of All Armenians).
Tradition also has it that St. JAmes was endowed with supernatural powers. It is said that once, when passing throug the village of Artamed near Lake Van, he saw that while the young women of the village were washing clothes in the stream, they had allowed their legs to be uncovered. For punishment, St. James cursed them and caused their hair to turn white. Even today, it is claimed that the women of Artamed have tufts of white in their hair.
Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us!
St. James of Nisibis, pray for us!