He was born in the diocese of Kastoria, of parents called Martin and Paraskeva. Working as a shepherd, James became rich and thus incurred the envy of his brother, who reported him to the Turks as having found some money in the ground. James fled to Constantinople, where he became poor. He was once the guest of a Turkish Bey. The Turks were eating meat, but James was fasting. The Bey said: "Your Christian faith is indeed great!", and he related how his wife had been sick in mind and how, after trying all doctors and medicines, he had taken her to the Patriarch for prayers to be read over her. As soon as the Patriarch opened the book to read, a heavenly light filled the church. When the prayer was ended, his wife was made whole. James, hearing how the Bey extolled the Christian faith, gave away all that he had and went to the Holy Mountain, where he became a monk in the monastery of Iviron. He lived in asceticism on the Holy Mountain, and suffered for the Faith at the hands of the Turks in Jedrene on November 1st, 1520. His wonderworking relics and those of his disciples are preserved in the monastery of St Anastasia near Salonica.