July 29, 2015

Saint John the Soldier of Constantinople

St. John the Soldier (Feast Day - Gr. July 29, Slav. July 30)


Forasmuch as barbarians, without knowing, are a thing of demons,
Till the end you veered armed with Christ.

The Holy Martyr John the Soldier served in the imperial army of the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363). He was sent with other soldiers to seek out and kill Christians. While appearing to be a persecutor, John rendered great help to the Christians. He freed those who had been arrested, warned others of dangers threatening them, and assisted in their flight. John showed charity not only to Christians, but to all the destitute and those needing help. He visited with the sick, and he consoled the grieving. His own life, also, he adorned with prayer and fasting and the acquisition of the virtues. When Julian the Apostate learned about the actions of the Saint, he ordered him locked up in prison.

In the year 363 Julian the Apostate was killed in his war with the Persians. John was set free and devoted his life to the service of his neighbor, and he lived in holiness and purity. He died in his old age and buried in Pandekti, which was reserved for the burial of foreigners.

The precise year of his death is unknown, and the place of burial of St. John the Soldier was gradually forgotten. Then he appeared to a certain devout woman, to whom he revealed his name and life story, and indicated the location of his tomb. This became known throughout the region. His uncovered relics were placed in a church of the Apostle John the Theologian in Constantinople. The Lord granted the relics of St. John the Soldier the power of healing. Through the prayers of St. John, the aggrieved and sorrowing received comfort.

St. John the Soldier is revered as a great intercessor in sorrows, poverty and difficult circumstances, especially for those imprisoned. We also pray to him for the uncovering of thieves and the recovery of stolen articles. There is an icon in the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev depicting John the Soldier with prayers and kontakia to the Saint, saying:

O mighty intercessor and saint of Christ, John the Soldier! Have mercy upon thy servant who suffers misfortunes, affliction, and all types of adversity. Save him from all evil and protect him from offenders, for thou hast been granted such grace from God.

O mighty and all-gracious martyr John, glorious and terrifying, warrior of the Heavenly King. Accept the supplication of thy servant and from present misfortunes, from those who plot, from evil plunder and from ordeals yet to be, deliver me who cry faithfully unto to thee: Hallelujah.

O miracle-worker John, thou hast been shown to be a truly faithful servant and soldier of God, the all-good Sovereign; for, having suffered, in manly fashion, for the Faith and finished thy course in benediction, in the heavens thou dost behold the Lord and Creator of all most splendidly, and helpest men who suffer amid all manner of trials. Thou dost strengthen soldiers in battle, rescuing them from capture by the enemy, from wounds, sudden death and cruel misfortunes. Wherefore, entreat Christ the Master, O ever-memorable one, that He deal mercifully with us in every circumstance, that He lead us not into temptations, but save our souls, for He is a lover of mankind.