My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True Lord, God, and Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Second Tone
O APOSTLE, beloved of Christ our God, hasten to deliver a
defenceless people. He that allowed thee to recline on His breast,
receiveth thee bowing in intercession. Implore Him, O Theologian, to
dispel the persistent cloud of the heathen, and ask for us His peace
and great mercy.
Kontakion Hymn. Second Tone
Who can tell thy mighty works, O virgin Saint? For thou pourest
forth miracles, and art a source of healings, and thou dost intercede
for our souls, as the Theologian and the friend of Christ.
Saint John the Evangelist and Theologian, the Holy Apostle and beloved disciple, was the son of Zebedee and Salome, the daughter of Joseph the Betrothed. Joseph the Betrothed also had four sons, Iakovos (James), Joses, Jude, and Symeon, with three daughters, Esther, Martha, and the aforementioned Salome. John, too, was called away from his fishermen’s nets to preach the Gospel when our Lord Jesus Christ, walking along the Sea of Galilee, chose His Apostles from among the fishermen. He had already summoned the two brethren, Peter and Andrew, when He then caught sight of two other brothers, Iakovos (James) and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were mending their nets in a boat with their father, and called them also. Straitway abandoning their boat and their father, they followed after Jesus Christ.
At the very time of his calling, John was called “son of thunder” by the Lord, for his theology would be heard like thunder throughout the world and would fill the whole earth. John followed after his Blessed Teacher, learning the wisdom that proceeded from His lips, and he was well-loved of Christ his Lord for his utter lack of guile and his virginal purity. The Lord honored him as the fairest of the Twelve Apostles, and he was one of Christ’s three closest disciples, to whom the Lord revealed His Divine Mysteries many times. Thus, when He intended to raise up the daughter of Jairos, He permitted none to accompany Him, save Peter, Iakovos (James) and John. When He prayed in the garden, there also He was not without John, for He said to His disciples, “Sit here, while I depart and pray there.’ And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee [Matthew 26:36-37], that is, Iakovos (James) and John. Also, when He desired to show them forth the glory of His Divinity on Mount Tabor, He likewise took only Peter, Iakovos and John.
As the Beloved Disciple of the Master, John was never separated from Christ. And Christ’s great love for him is evident in the fact that John rested his head on His breast. For, at the Mystical Supper, when the Lord foretold His betrayal and the disciples gazed at each other in bewilderment, wondering of whom He spoke, John rested his head upon the breast of his Beloved Master, as he himself relates in his Gospel. John also showed a reciprocal love for his Beloved Teacher, greater than that of the other Apostles, for at the time of Christ’s VOLUNTARY SUFFERING, they all fled, forsaking their Shepherd. He alone remained to witness all the torments of Christ, suffering with Him in his heart, weeping and lamenting with the All-Pure Virgin Mary the Mother of the Lord. “Then Jesus, having seen His Mother, and the Disciple whom He loved standing by, saith to His Mother,
Woman, behold thy son.’ Then He saith to the Disciple, ‘Behold, thy Mother.’ And from that hour the Disciple took her into his own home [John 19:26-27). And he regarded her as his own mother, and served her with much respect.
The Repose of Saint John the Theologian
“In our first visit to Ephesus, we were there for nine years, and then spent fifteen years in exile at Patmos, Greece. After twenty-six years had passed from time we were first in Ephesus, then Rome, and Patmos, and entered Ephesus again for nearly another six years, John came out of the house of his disciples–myself and six others-and said to ous, ‘Take spades in your hands and follow me.’ So we did as we were instructed and followed him outside the city of a certain place, where he said, ‘Sit down.’ He then went a little apart from us to where it was quiet and began to pray. It was very early in the morning; the sun had not quite risen. After his prayer, he said to us, ‘Dig with your spades a cross-shaped trench as long as I am tall.’ So we did it while he prayed. After he had finished his prayer, he laid himself in the trench we had dug, and then said to me. ‘Prochoros my son, thou wilt go to Jerusalem. That is where thou must end thy life.’ He then gave us instructions and embraced us, saying, ‘Take some earth, my mother earth, and cover me.’ So we embraced again and, taking some earth, covered him only up to his knees. Once more, he embraced us, saying, ‘Take some more earth and cover me up to the neck.’ So we embraced him again and then took some more earth and covered him up to his neck. Then he said to us, ‘Bring a thin veil and place it on my face, and embrace me again for the last time, for you shall not see me any longer in this life.’ So we embraced the Apostle again, grief-stricken. As he was sending us off in peace, we, lamenting bitterly, covered his whole body. The sun rose just then, and he surrendered his spirit.
“We then returned to the city and were asked, ‘Where is our teacher?’ So we explained what had just occurred in great detail. They begged us that we show them the site. Therefore, we went back to the grave with the brethren, but John was not there. Only his shoes were left behind. Then we remembered the words of the Lord to the Apostle Peter, “If I wish him to tarry while I am coming, what is that to thee?” (John 21:22). And we all glorified God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, to Whom is due glory, honor, and worship, unto the ages of ages. Amen.”
Each year, on the eighth day of Mary, a fragrant myrrh issues forth from the grave and, by the prayers of the Holy Apostle, the sick are healed thereby, to the honor of God Who is glorified in the Trinity unto ages of ages. Amen. (Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church)
“Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +
With sincere agape in His Divine and Glorious Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God