Our Patron Saint

StJohn_Evangelist

The Holy, Glorious All-laudable Apostle and Evangelist, Virgin, and Beloved Friend of Christ, John the Theologian was the son of Zebedee and Salome, a daughter of St Joseph the Betrothed. He was called by our Lord Jesus Christ to be one of His Apostles at the same time as his elder brother James. This took place at Lake Gennesareth (i.e. the Sea of Galilee). Leaving behind their father, both brothers followed the Lord.The Apostle John was especially loved by the Savior for his sacrificial love and his virginal purity. After his calling, the Apostle John did not part from the Lord, and he was one of the three apostles who were particularly close to Him. St John the Theologian was present when the Lord restored the daughter of Jairus to life, and he was a witness to the Transfiguration of the Lord on Mount Tabor.

During the Last Supper, he reclined next to the Lord, and laid his head upon His breast. He also asked the name of the Savior’s betrayer. The Apostle John followed after the Lord when they led Him bound from the Garden of Gethsemane to the court of the iniquitous High Priests Annas and Caiphas. He was there in the courtyard of the High Priest during the interrogations of his Teacher and he resolutely followed after him on the way to Golgotha, grieving with all his heart.

At the foot of the Cross he stood with the Mother of God and heard the words of the Crucified Lord addressed to Her from the Cross: “Woman, behold Thy son.” Then the Lord said to him, “Behold thy Mother” (John 19:26-27). From that moment the Apostle John, like a loving son, concerned himself over the Most Holy Virgin Mary, and he served Her until Her Dormition.

After the Dormition of the Mother of God the Apostle John went to Ephesus and other cities of Asia Minor to preach the Gospel, taking with him his own disciple Prochorus. They boarded a ship, which floundered during a terrible tempest. All the travellers were cast up upon dry ground, and only the Apostle John remained in the depths of the sea. Prochorus wept bitterly, bereft of his spiritual father and guide, and he went on towards Ephesus alone.

On the fourteenth day of his journey he stood at the shore of the sea and saw that the waves had cast a man ashore. Going up to him, he recognized the Apostle John, whom the Lord had preserved alive for fourteen days in the sea. Teacher and disciple went to Ephesus, where the Apostle John preached incessantly to the pagans about Christ. His preaching was accompanied by such numerous and great miracles, that the number of believers increased with each day.

During this time there had begun a persecution of Christians under the emperor Nero (56-68). They took the Apostle John for trial at Rome. St John was sentenced to death for his confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but the Lord preserved His chosen one. The apostle drank a cup of deadly poison, but he remained alive. Later, he emerged unharmed from a cauldron of boiling oil into which he had been thrown on orders from the torturer.

After this, they sent the Apostle John off to imprisonment to the island of Patmos, where he spent many years. Proceeding along on his way to the place of exile, St John worked many miracles. On the island of Patmos, his preaching and miracles attracted to him all the inhabitants of the island, and he enlightened them with the light of the Gospel. He cast out many devils from the pagan temples, and he healed a great multitude of the sick.

Sorcerers with demonic powers showed great hostility to the preaching of the holy apostle. He especially frightened the chief sorcerer of them all, named Kinops, who boasted that they would destroy the apostle. But the great John, by the grace of God acting through him, destroyed all the demonic artifices to which Kinops resorted, and the haughty sorcerer perished in the depths of the sea.

The Apostle John withdrew with his disciple Prochorus to a desolate height, where he imposed upon himself a three-day fast. As St John prayed the earth quaked and thunder rumbled. Prochorus fell to the ground in fright. The Apostle John lifted him up and told him to write down what he was about to say. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord, Who is and Who was and Who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev 1:8), proclaimed the Spirit of God through the Apostle John. Thus in about the year 67 the Book of Revelation was written, known also as the “Apocalypse,” of the holy Apostle John the Theologian. In this Book were predictions of the tribulations of the Church and of the end of the world.

After his prolonged exile, the Apostle John received his freedom and returned to Ephesus, where he continued with his activity, instructing Christians to guard against false teachers and their erroneous teachings. In the year 95, the Apostle John wrote his Gospel at Ephesus. He called for all Christians to love the Lord and one another, and by this to fulfill the commands of Christ. The Church calls St John the “Apostle of Love”, since he constantly taught that without love man cannot come near to God.

In his three Epistles, St John speaks of the significance of love for God and for neighbor. Already in his old age, he learned of a youth who had strayed from the true path to follow the leader of a band of robbers, so St John went out into the wilderness to seek him. Seeing the holy Elder, the guilty one tried to hide himself, but the Apostle John ran after him and besought him to stop. He promised to take the sins of the youth upon himself, if only he would repent and not bring ruin upon his soul. Shaken by the intense love of the holy Elder, the youth actually did repent and turn his life around.

St John reposed when he was more than a hundred years old. He far outlived the other eyewitnesses of the Lord, and for a long time he remained the only remaining eyewitness of the earthly life of the Savior.

When it was time for the departure of the Apostle John, he went out beyond the city limits of Ephesus with the families of his disciples. He bade them prepare for him a cross-shaped grave, in which he lay, telling his disciples that they should cover him over with the soil. The disciples tearfully kissed their beloved teacher, but not wanting to be disobedient, they fulfilled his bidding. They covered the face of the saint with a cloth and filled in the grave. Learning of this, other disciples of St John came to the place of his burial. When they opened the grave, they found it empty.

Each year from the grave of the holy Apostle John on May 8 came forth a fine dust, which believers gathered up and were healed of sicknesses by it. Therefore, the Church also celebrates the memory of the holy Apostle John the Theologian on May 8.

The Lord bestowed on His beloved disciple John and John’s brother James the name “Sons of Thunder” as an awesome messenger in its cleansing power of the heavenly fire. And precisely by this the Savior pointed out the flaming, fiery, sacrificial character of Christian love, the preacher of which was the Apostle John the Theologian. The eagle, symbol of the lofty heights of his theological thought, is the iconographic symbol of the Evangelist John the Theologian. The appellation “Theologian” is bestown by Holy Church only to St John among the immediate disciples and Apostles of Christ, as being the seer of the mysterious Judgments of God.

The Akathist to Saint John the Holy Apostle and Evangelist JOHN the Theologian

Akathist to the Holy Apostle and Evangelist JOHN the Theologian

Kontakion 1

Chosen from fisher nets for the preaching of the Gospel, and from catching fish to catching men into the light of the true knowledge of God, O great Apostle, disciple, friend, and devoted companion of Christ, implore the one true Lover of mankind whom thou didst love with seraphic love to have mercy on us who seek thine intercession with Him and cry to thee:

Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Ekos 1

When the Sovereign Creator of the angelic hosts and of the whole universe took our flesh and appeared on earth for our salvation, on seeing Thee, O blessed John, as He was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He called thee with thy brother to Apostolic labor; and thou didst leave thy fisher nets and thy father in the boat, and from then on thou didst follow unswervingly in the Saviour’s footsteps. Therefore we cry to thee:

Rejoice, thou who for the love of Christ didst leave thine earthly father!
Rejoice, thou who found in Christ the heavenly Father!
Rejoice, thou who didst despise the world and its delusive pleasures!
Rejoice, thou who didst receive in exchange heavenly blessings!
Rejoice, thou who didst completely subdue thy flesh to thy spirit!
Rejoice, thou who didst subject thy spirit to thy sweetest Lord Jesus!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 2

Seeing the spotless purity of thy heart, undarkened by carnal pleasures, Christ the Lord judged thee to be worthy of the vision of mystic revelations, by which thou wast able to fathom the depths of theology and the knowledge of God and couldst preach it for all the world to hear. Therefore He called thee a son of thunder when thou didst call to Him: Alleluia!

Ekos 2

Enlightening thy soul with an understanding of the true knowledge of God, thou didst follow thy good and gracious Master, learning the wisdom that flowed from His lips. On account of thy perfect innocence and virginal chastity, thou was beloved of Christ thy Lord. So hearken to us who cry to thee thus:

Rejoice, zealot of guilelessness!
Rejoice, guardian of virginity and purity!
Rejoice! teacher of love for God and neighbor!
Rejoice, instructor of good morals!
Rejoice, mirror of humility!
Rejoice, light of Divine Grace!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 3

Thou didst clearly realize the power of Christ’s divinity hidden under the cloud of weak human nature when He raised to life the daughter of Jarius and then was transfigured on Tabor and chose thee with only two other disciples to be witness of such glorious wonders. Then, knowing that Christ was the True God, from the depths of thy heart thou didst cry to Him: Alleluia!

Ekos 3

Having great boldness towards Christ, the Son of God, Who loved thee, thou didst lean upon His breast at the celebration of the Mystical Supper. When the Lord foretold who His betrayer would be, it was only thee who didst have the courage to ask for his name. Therefore we cry to thee:

Rejoice, beloved disciple of Christ!
Rejoice, true friend of His!
Rejoice, thou who wast chosen by Heaven to lean on the Lord’s breast!
Rejoice, thou who didst boldly inquire about the secret of the betrayal!
Rejoice, thou who was nearest to Christ of all of the disciples!
Rejoice, for Christ revealed to thee far more of the divine mysteries than to the other disciples!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 4

When in a storm of rage and bestial fury the hard-hearted and ungrateful Jews rose up against Christ, the Sn of God, then all His disciples were seized with fear, forsook Him, and fled. But thou didst love Him so much more than the others, witnessed all of His tortures, and remained with Him constantly even to the Cross, and thou didst suffer in heart with the Virgin Mother of God as she wept and mourned. Amazed at the extreme compassion and long-suffering patience of God, thou didst cry to Him who suffered for mankind: Alleluia!

Ekos 4

Hanging on the Cross to which He was nailed to for our sins and seeing thee and His Mother standing before Him, the Saviour of the world have thee to the Most blessed Virgin Mother of God as Her son, saying, Behold thy Mother. Ad we rightly venerate such honor shown to thee as we sing praises such as these:

Rejoice, thou who wast granted to be the son of the Mother of God!
Rejoice, thou who wast thereby made in a special way a kind of spiritual relative of Christ!
Rejoice, thou who didst worthily serve and take care of the Mother of God!
Rejoice, thou who didst sustain and maintain Her throughout Her life on Earth!
Rejoice thou who at Her falling sleep didst accompany Her precious and holy body to the tomb!
Rejoice, thou who didst walk before Her bier with the shining branch brought by the Archangel Gabriel!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 5

Thou didst appear as a divinely moving star in Asia, where thou didst go to preach the Word of God, as the land indicated to thee by lot. But first he Lord allowed thee to be plunged in the sea. God’s Grace that always remained with thee kept thee alive in the deep, and after fourteen days He commanded a foaming sea wave to cast thee ashore. And then thy disciple Prochorus who was already bewailing thy death cried out with a loud voice to the wonderworking God: Alleluia!

Ekos 5

When the inhabitants of Ephesus saw the glorious miracles thou didst work in raising Domnus who had been killed by a demon while bathing, they loudly praised the power of the God Whom thou wast preaching to them and Who delivered them from their abominable idolatry, and they cried to thee:

Rejoice, servant of the true God!
Rejoice, expeller of demons!
Rejoice, thou who didst raise the dead by the power of Christ!
Rejoice, thou who didst restore them to life and health!
Rejoice, thou who didst call those in mental and spiritual darkness to the light of truth!
Rejoice, thou who by the enlightenment of the right faith didst guide men to virtue!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 6

As a God-bearing preacher of the Word of God in Ephesus, zealous to spread the Grace of the glorious Gospel, thou didst confirm thy teaching with awe-inspiring signs and wonders that staggered human comprehension. By prayer alone thou didst overthrow the shrine of Diana, so that seeing this the idolaters might know and discern the true God, to Whom we cry: Alleluia!

Ekos 6

When the full radiance of the light of Christ Whom thou wast preaching  was already shining in Ephesus, godless Domatian raised a persecution against the Christians. Then the provincial prefect sent thee bound with chains to Rome as an ardent preacher of the name of Christ, where thou didst undergo terrible tortures, on account of which we piously exclaim to thee:

Rejoice, thou who was flogged for confessing Christ!
Rejoice, thou who didst drink unharmed a cup of poison!
Rejoice, thou who didst survive unburned in a cauldron of burning oil!
Rejoice, thou who wast preserved whole by the power of Christ during cruel tortures!
Rejoice, thou who by thy supernatural immunity didst terrify Caesar who was torturing thee!
Rejoice, thou who didst convince the people there of the greatness of the God worshipped by Christians!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 7

When the torturer saw that even the cruelest tortures he could invent were powerless to kill thee, he took thee to be immortal and condemned thee to exile on the island of Patmos. But thou didst surrender thyself to the providence of God Whose Will it was to so order things, and thou didst thankfully sing to God Who makes all things work together for good: Alleluia!

Ekos 7

Thu didst show new wonders to the worshippers of idols, seeking to convert them to the faith of Christ when, sailing to thy exile, by thy command the sea cast up alive on the ship’s deck a young lad who had fallen overboard and had been drowned, a storm was lulled to a calm, sea-water was turned into fresh drinking water, a soldier was healed of a stomach ulcer and after thine arrival in Patmos, thou didst cast a diving spirit out of Appolonides. All who saw such wondrous signs accomplished through thee came to an understanding of the one God in three Persons and were baptized. We, however, honor thee:

Rejoice, thou who dost command sea and storm!
Rejoice, thou who dost expel satanic spirits from men!
Rejoice, thou who dost heal diseases by word alone!
Rejoice, thou who dost give help to all in need!
Rejoice, thou who didst save from being drowned in the sea!
Rejoice, who dost win unbelievers to the true faith!
Rejoice, Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 8

Amazing it was for the priests of Apollo to see that thou by a single word didst reduce to a heap of rubble the temple of their god and the idol in it. Astounded and enraged by thine audacity, they went to a magician who had the great power of Satan in himself, and requested him to avenge the dishonor of their god. In his spiritual blindness, not knowing the power that dwelt in thee, he tried to terrify thee by various phantoms, and to turn the people against thee. Afterwards, however, the wretched man himself sank into the sea and perished, the demons being powerless to save him; for thou didst put them under ban by the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whom the people glorified, having witnessed the miracle, chanting: Alleluia!

Ekos 8

Completely filled to overflowing with divine love, thou wast a repository of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Thou didst foretell future events, speaking of distant things as if they were close to hand, thou didst heal the sick and give relief to the wife of the governor of Patmos, the moment thou didst enter the house, while she was suffering, unable to give birth to her child. So accept from us sinners these praises:

Rejoice, repository of the Grace of God!
Rejoice, habitation of the Holy Spirit!
Rejoice, river flowing with miraculous powers bringing healing to the sick!
Rejoice, fountain of instruction that leadeth to understanding of the right faith!
Rejoice, thou who dost expose the cunning of evil Satan!
Rejoice, thou who dost defend the faithful from his snares!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 9

Zealously rooting out every sin from among the people to who thou wast sent, thou didst convict by thy word alone the deception of the idol worshippers who honored the demon which appeared to the people in the form of a large wolf, and thou didst lead any of them to belief in Christ. Also thou didst destroy the temple of Bacchus by thy prayers and thou didst tun the magician and his household to repentance by thy miracle. And having turned from sin to salvation they cried out to God: Alleluia!

Ekos 9

No eloquence of human wisdom can express, nor can the mind of carnal man comprehend what thou hast told us about the eternal being of the one God in thee Persons without beginning. For like Moses on the mountain amid thunder and flashes of lightning, thou didst receive from God the mystery and secret of theology, and thou didst proclaim to the world: He Who in the beginning was the Word, ever inseparably united to the Father, having the light of life is the cause of all existing creation, and the darkness can never swallow him. Illumined with the radiance of the divine life of truth, we honor thee as an intimate friend of the unoriginate Trinity, and we sing praises to thee as the most perfect theologian:

Rejoice, eagle that didst fly yo God’s fiery throne itself!
Rejoice, trumpet that didst proclaim to the world the pre-eternal and unoriginate God!
Rejoice, thou who didst reveal to us God’s heavenly mysteries!
Rejoice, thou who didst declare to us Christ’s humanity and divinity!
Rejoice, thou who didst teach us love for God and our neighbor!
Rejoice, thou who didst promise in return for this love, God’s indwelling presence!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 10

Wishing to save en’s souls, thou didst teach people by all possible means to believe in Christ as the Son of God, to keep a clear conscience, and to love one another, so as not only here but also in the abodes of the righteous to sing majestically to Almighty God: Alleluia!

Ekos 10

Beholding the walls of the heavenly Jerusalem in revelation, thou didst reveal to us what thou saw and what is to be, until the end of the world, telling us this in metaphorical and figurative language, so that only those that have wisdom can understand it. Marvelling at such supernatural wisdom given thee by God, we sing to thee:

Rejoice, thou who didst transcend human nature by thy knowledge!
Rejoice, container of mysteries uncontainable by the human mind!
Rejoice, thou who didst see ineffable revelations of God that can not be told!
Rejoice, thou who givest them to the faithful!
Rejoice, thou who didst experience the joys of the saints while still in this life!
Rejoice, thou who dost now enjoy them to a supreme degree!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 11

A song of thanksgiving and a heartfelt sacrifice of praise was offered to thee, O Apostle John, by that Christian who reduced to poverty and not having the means to pay debts he owed his creditors, fell into despair and was looking for a way of putting an end to his life by a violent death. But thou, in thy love and compassion for mankind, wishing to save him from temporal and eternal death, didst by the Sign of the Cross didst turn hay into gold and didst hand it to the poor man, so that he might pay his debts with that gold and maintain his household, and through thee who had shown him this kindness we sing to God: Alleluia!

Ekos 11

Thy radiant soul, on reaching maturity and the stature of the perfect man, knew that the time had come for thine appointed transition, for the corruptible nature to inherit the promised incorruption and what is mortal to be clothed with the promised immortality. Thus thou didst order thy disciples to bury thee alive, but when they came to thy grave in the morning and dug it out, they found it empty. Only then they realized that thou hadst accomplished thy transition by an unusual human death or falling asleep, and they sang to thee:

Rejoice, eagle who didst renew thy youth by drawing near to the Sun of the Divine Glory!
Rejoice, thou who didst transcend all the laws of human nature by such a transition!
Rejoice, thou who didst take thy seat on one of the twelve thrones as thy gracious Master promised!
Rejoice, thou who thus seated dost judge the New Israel of God’s people!
Rejoice, thou who dost enjoy the vision of the Sweetest Jesus on Whose breast thou didst lean before His Passion and Resurrection!
Rejoice, thou whose intercession dost obtain all blessing for us from His gracious compassion!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 12

Grace is given by God to the place where thy body was committed to the earth, so that n the day of thy burial it emitteth a fine dust for the healing of the sick, showing by this miracle how God glorifieth those who love
Him, that all who see it may unceasingly cry day and night to Him with heart and soul: Alleluia!

Ekos 12

While singing of thine apostolic labors and the miracles and healings which thou hast showered upon us and which thou dost continue to lavish upon us by the Grace of the Holy Spirit, we praise God Who dwelt in thee and Who hath given us such a leader to guide us  on the way of salvation, and Who showeth mercy to us in our infirmities. So accept from us, O holy Apostle, these praises:

Rejoice, most fervent proclaimer of faith in Christ!
Rejoice, outstanding teacher of Christ’s Church!
Rejoice, beginning and foundation of theologians!
Rejoice, revealer of divine mysteries!
Rejoice, model of virgins and rule of chastity!
Rejoice, speedy help and protector of the faithful who have recourse to thine intercession!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 13

O most glorious and all-praised apostle and Evangelist, devoted friend of Christ, beloved John! By thine all-powerful intercession with thy most gracious Teacher and our Master and Lord, implore for us all temporal and eternal blessings and a Christian end to our life, that with thee in the tabernacles of the righteous and with the angelic choirs, we may chant to the one God in three Persons: Alleluia!

Ekos 1

When the Sovereign Creator of the angelic hosts and of the whole universe took our flesh and appeared on earth for our salvation, on seeing Thee, O blessed John, as He was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He called thee with thy brother to Apostolic labor; and thou didst leave thy fisher nets and thy father in the boat, and from then on thou didst follow unswervingly in the Saviour’s footsteps. Therefore we cry to thee:

Rejoice, thou who for the love of Christ didst leave thine earthly father!
Rejoice, thou who found in Christ the heavenly Father!
Rejoice, thou who didst despise the world and its delusive pleasures!
Rejoice, thou who didst receive in exchange heavenly blessings!
Rejoice, thou who didst completely subdue thy flesh to thy spirit!
Rejoice, thou who didst subject thy spirit to thy sweetest Lord Jesus!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 1

Chosen from fisher nets for the preaching of the Gospel, and from catching fish to catching men into the light of the true knowledge of God, O great Apostle, disciple, friend, and devoted companion of Christ, implore the one true Lover of mankind whom thou didst love with seraphic love to have mercy on us who seek thine intercession with Him and cry to thee:

Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!