James was from the city of Bythlaba and was of noble birth. He became the closest and most honoured friend of Isdiger (or Yazdegerd) I, King of Persia (reigned 399-420). Though a Christian from his youth, James renounced Christ because he was allured by the king's friendship and flatteries and became an important member of the imperial court.
When James’ mother and his wife learned of this, they wrote him a letter they begging him to repent and return to Christ. They said that they would have nothing more to do with him, since he had preferred a glory that is temporal to the love of Christ. Wounded in soul by these words, James came to himself, James wept over his error, and repudiated the worship of the idols. He then courageously confessed his faith in Christ the Lord to the king, Isdiger’s son and successor Bahram (or Varahran) V (reigned 421-438), who was the king by that time.
The king was enraged by James’ decision. He commanded that his entire body was to be cut up, piece by piece. Having been cut asunder limb by limb to his very hips and shoulders, the courageous martyr was finally beheaded, in the year 421.