Feast Day: May 27th
The Life of Saint John: So the stable became his hermitage, where he Prayed and chanted Psalms…
Apolytikion: He that hath called thee from Earth unto the Heavenly abodes doth even after thy death keep thy body unharmed, O Righteous one; for thou wast carried off as a prisoner into Asia wherein also, O John, thou didst win Christ as thy friend. Wherefore do thou beseech Him that our Souls be saved.
Kontakion: The Holy memory, O Righteous Father, of thine illustrious contests hath come today gladdening the Souls of those who Venerate thee with reverence and faith, O John.
Doxastikon: Let the village of Prokopi leap for joy and cry out to God today: My beauty today shines greater than any other city, for behold the Divine offspring of Russia and the great treasure of the Venerable, John, who is truly the namesake of Grace, proceeds towards Heaven, leaving behind his Holy body for my Sanctification. Therefore, come, all you ranks of the Orthodox, let us celebrate his Divine memory, that we might partake of the Grace of him who intercedes on behalf of our Souls.
Hymn: You were led away like a stranger and a slave, by the hands of the Hagarenes, O Father, and lived a strange life, O Glorious one, living in a stable like another Job upon a dunghill, amidst struggles and trials, and ever shedding streams of fervent tears, which reached Him Whom you desired, O John, truly the namesake of Grace.
Hymn: A great and awesome wonder is seen in you, O Father! For many years after your burial in the tomb, O blessed one, your body is kept incorrupt! But through this you Glorify the Lord Who Glorified you.
Oikos: How shall I, wretched as I am, praise thy struggles, O Righteous Father? How shall I tell of the deep sea of thy tears? For by thine excellence in this life, thou didst attain to the choirs of the Angels; by abstinence, thou, who art truly wise, didst mortify the passions; and by submitting thyself to hardship, thou madest the flesh subject to the Spirit and didst put to shame the prince of darkness. Wherefore, as thou standest even now before the Master’s Throne, thou intercedest for them that honour thee with faith and reverence, O most Righteous Father John.
Hymn: Those who gather in your Church, we entreat you to deliver from every visible and invisible enemy which tyrannizes them, for under your fervent care we all take refuge.
Hymn: O Father, drive away the fiery arrows of the enemy from us, through your fervent intercessions to the Trinity, so that having been delivered, we may magnify you.
Hymn: The bright star from Prokopion, that noetically shines on all, the boast of the Righteous, and Glory of Cappadocia, the Divine John we honour in hymns.
Hymn: Entreat for peace from God, calmness of Spirits, patience until the end, Salvation of Souls, to us through your intercessions, to those who praise your wondrous deeds with longing.
Saint John lived in the stable at his master’s home. He felt happy and Blessed to live in the stable, because it reminded him of how Our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ was Born in a stable. Below is a photo of an area of the stable where Saint John lived in Asceticism.
One day while his master was in Mecca, Saint John Miraculously sent a copper dish to him from Prokopion. His master noticed the copper dish of his favourite food, and that it was from his household because it had his initials on it, and wondered at this Miracle.
“You cannot turn me from my Holy Faith by threats, nor with promises of riches and pleasures. I will obey your orders willingly, if you will leave me free to follow my religion. I would rather surrender my head to you than to change my faith. I was born a Christian, and I shall die a Christian.”
Every day Saint John worked diligently for his master on Earth, while he remembered his Master and Lord in Heaven ceaselessly Praying and keeping a strict fast as he went about his work.
When night time would come, Saint John would secretly go to the Cave-Church of Saint George the Great Martyr to Pray the All-Night Vigil, and each Saturday it was here that Saint John would receive Holy Communion. Before his Blessed Repose Saint John became very ill and could not walk to the Church so he asked the Priest to bring the Holy Communion to him, but the Priest was afraid to take the Blessed Sacrament to the home of a Muslim. So he hid the Holy Eucharist inside an apple, and Saint John Communed the Body and Blood of his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ before he went to his Heavenly Home.
Saint John was given a Christian burial by the request of his master, who respected him knowing this is what he would want.
Three and a half years later the Holy Body of Saint John was found to be incorrupt.
Years after residing in the Holy Church of Saint George, the Church was broken into and Saint John’s body burned, however Saint John arose and walked amongst the flames.
Saint Iakovos Tsalikis would often visit the Church of Saint John the Russian in Evia, to Pray and venerate his Holy Relics. The two Saints had a beautiful Spiritual closeness and relationship.
Saint Iakovos said: “Once, I saw the Saint alive inside of his Reliquary. I asked him: “My Saint, how did you live in Asia Minor, what Virtues and Blessings did you have?” The Saint replied: “I slept in the cave in which was the stable and covered myself with straw to take cover in the winter so I wouldn’t freeze. I had humility and faith.” Not long after, Saint John said to Saint Iakovos: “Wait, Father Iakovos, because now two people have come to Pray for a sick child. Wait until I go help him.” Immediately the Reliquary appeared empty, because the Saint left. In a short while, he returned, though I didn’t see how he did, but I saw him inside his Reliquary like a [living] man!”
Read some more moments shared between Saint Iakovos and Saint John the Russian.
Saint John the Russian, after his Blessed Repose, once appeared to a girl and told her: “Come and see my pillow which is full of tears. I am weeping for you the youth. I am especially Praying to God for the youth to support you.” In 1977, the Priest at the Church of Saint John the Russian in Evia opened the Holy Reliquary and saw the pillow on which the Saint was lying was completely clean, but beside his eyes it was wet with a large stain of tears.
In Melbourne, Australia, we are Blessed to have some Holy Relics of Saint John the Russian. At our Church of the Presentation of Our Lord to the Temple, in Coburg, we have a hat and a piece of the Holy Body of Saint John. Also, at our Church of Saint Paraskevi in St Albans, we have a piece of the Vestments on the Holy Relics of Saint John. Every so often, Saint John informs someone in a dream, whenever it is time, to change these Vestments on his Holy Relics.
The Miracle at the School: Saint John the Russian had risen up from his coffin and gone to the neighbouring school, where, with his own hands, he held up the collapsing roof…