April 8, 2016

Holy New Martyr John the Naukleros (+ 1669)

St. John the Naukleros (Feast Day - April 8)


You sailed the sea of fire in life,
And arrived at the calm harbor O Naukleros.

John was a boatswain (naukleros) from the island of Kos who was forcibly converted to Islam while not in a right mental state. When he came to his senses, he threw off the white Turkish turban from his head and Turkish clothing and put on the clothing of the Orthodox Christians. Breaking out in tears of repentance for what happened to him, he began to live as a Christian once more.

When the Turks saw that he reverted back to Christianity, they fell upon him and gave him a severe beating. He was then taken to prison where every possible way was made to bring him back to Islam and save his life. To all this John responded: "I believe in my Lord Jesus Christ and I confess Him to be the true God with all my heart and soul. He will come to judge the entire world, both the living and the dead. As for your religion, I reject it and I am ready to suffer whatever torments you inflict upon me for the love of my Christ."

Seeing that he remained steadfast in his faith in Christ, they beat him again and brought him before the judge, by whom he was sentenced to be burned alive. Thus on April 8, 1669 the Martyr of Christ was burned alive in Kos, and received the heavenly crown. A Divine Service was composed in his honor by Monk Gerasimos Mikragiannanites.

The Church of Saint John the Naukleros

The Church of Saint John the Naukleros in Kos Town was built in the early 15th century and originally dedicated to Saint John the Baptist (the patron saint of the Knights of Saint John who ruled the island at that time). It was in a ruined state before 1861, when the Community of Kos decided to undertake its conservation. After the earthquake of 1933, it was found that the church was built upon the important twin sanctuary of Aphrodite. So for the sanctuary to be revealed, it was decided in 1943 to relocate it in a northwest part of the area. In 1947 the church was dedicated by the Metropolitan of Kos, Emmanuel Karpathiou, to the Koan Neomartyr, Saint John the Naukleros (Boatswain).

Apolytikion in the Third Tone
You are a divine offspring of Kos, who praise your contests, all-praised John the Naukleros, and you emulated the trials of the Athletes, having completed the struggle through fire. Glorious Martyr, entreat Christ God, to grant us the great mercy.