Saint James of Zhelezny Bor, a son of the noble Anosov (or Amosov) line, which had their lands at Kostroma Galich, was born in the second half of the fourteenth century. As a youth he went to St Sergiua of Radonezh, received monastic tonsure from him, and lived at the Trinity monastery for several years.
In 1392 St James settled in a dense forest near iron mines, at a place which was called the Iron Pines, at the banks of the rivulet Tebza. His sanctity of life was already known in his own time. In 1415 the wife of Great Prince Basil (1389-1425), Sophia (in monasticism Syncletica, + 1453) fell seriously ill before childbirth. The Great Prince sent a message to St James begging the monk to pray for his wife, and asking whether she would live. The saint told him to pray to the holy Martyr Longinus and foretold the happy birth of a son, Basil. (In 1450, this son, Great Prince Basil (1425-1462), visited the monastery of St James and prayed there with gratitude for his victory over Prince Demetrius Shemyaka).
The grateful Prince Basil generously rewarded St James and gave him money to build a monastery with a church in honor of the holy Prophet John the Forerunner. In 1429, the Khazan Tatars laid waste the surroundings of Galich. St James hid deep in the forest with his disciples. When they returned, they found the monastery in ruins. Everything had to be rebuilt.
The saint built a church dedicated to St Nicholas, and he dug out ponds with the brethren. On the example of the Trinity-Sergiev monastery a strict cenobitic rule was introduced. Many of the hungry and destitute people, devastated by the Tatars, were fed at the monastery.
After many years of common ascetical efforts, the monks entreated St James to be their igumen. He humbly submitted to their request and journeyed to Moscow, where he was ordained a priest.
St James died on April 11, 1442 and was buried at the John the Forerunner church of the monastery he founded.