December 16, 2016

The Church that Contained the Relics of Saint John the Russian in Prokopi of Cappadocia

Saint John the Russian was born approximately in 1690 in Ukraine. He is one of the most renowned saints in the Orthodox Church. Being a prisoner of war and a slave to a Turkish Agha, he became famous and respected even by his Muslim master for his humility, steadfastness of faith and benevolence. He reposed on 27 May 1730, some time after receiving Holy Communion, in Prokopi of Cappadocia.

Saint John was given a Christian burial by order of the Agha who, as a token of his love and great respect for the Saint, gave an expensive cloth to cover his relics. Three years later a light appeared over the tomb which was seen by many. At the same time, the Saint appeared in a dream to his father confessor revealing that it was the will of God that his relics be exhumed, for his body was incorrupt. Until 1924 the relics were kept in the Church of Saint George there in Prokopi. When, however, the exchange of population took place between Greece and Turkey, and many of the Christian inhabitants of Prokopi were resettled on the island of Evia (Euboia), the relics of their beloved Saint John were also moved and were received with great acclaim and veneration by the Greeks who built a majestic temple in his honor there in the village of New Prokopi. To this day, streams of pious Greek pilgrims make their way to this village on the island of Evia, where the wonderworking Saint answers the faith of their earnest petitions with his strong and quick intercession before the throne of God.

In 1950 the Church of Saint George in Prokopi (Ürgüp) of Cappadocia was totally destroyed, being blasted with explosives. The photo above was taken in 1914.