May 8, 2017

Synaxis of the Holy Dust That Proceeds From the Tomb of Saint John the Theologian

Commemoration of the Miracle of the Holy Dust of St. John the Theologian (Feast Day - May 8)


Not food but dust is dispensed for humanity,
Namely the Manna of your tomb O initiate of the Lord.
On the eighth is celebrated the blossoming of the son of thunder.

Our All-Good and Philanthropic Lord, not only glorified His Saints, who eagerly struggled for their love of Him, such as His sacred Disciples and Apostles, as well as His Prophets and Martyrs, and all those who pleased Him, and He made them worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the eternal good things, but even the places where they lived and were buried, these also, I say, He showed to be full of divine grace, and He makes them shine with many miracles. Likewise He has dispersed His grace on the tomb of John the Theologian, who we celebrate today. The tomb of this great Evangelist, in which he was buried, after having lived 120 years, during the reign of Trajan, when he was destined to be transposed, this tomb, I say, every year suddenly gushes forth until today dust, which locals call Manna, in a divine and paradoxical manner, and taking it, they use it to free themselves of all their sufferings, for the healing of their souls, and the health of their body, glorifying God and His attendant John.

We learn from the encomium of Patriarch Sophronios of Jerusalem to this John the Theologian, that his father was Zebedee, and his mother was Salome, who was the daughter of Joseph that was betrothed to the Most Holy Theotokos. Joseph had four sons: James, Symeon, Jude and Joses, and three daughters: Esther, Martha, and Salome. This Salome became the wife of Zebedee, and the mother of John. It follows therefore that our Lord was the uncle of John, being the brother of Salome the daughter of Joseph, who was the lawful father of the Lord.

We must know, that when our Lord was betrayed to the Jews and crucified, all the other disciples fled out of fear, yet only John remained, being the beloved one (for having loved the Lord with perfect love, fear was cast out of him, since perfect love casts out fear). He alone went to the Tomb, arriving first before Peter. He alone received the Theotokos herself. He alone on earth was born of three mothers, the first being Salome who gave birth to him in the flesh, the second being Thunder because he was given the name of thunder, for the Lord gave him and his brother James the name "Boanerges" which is translated as "sons of thunder" (Mk. 3:17), and the third mother he was born to by grace and position was the Lady Theotokos, for the following words of the Lord were directed towards him: "Behold your mother" (Jn. 19:27). The Theologian was with the Theotokos until her holy Dormition. After her Dormition he departed Jerusalem and went to Ephesus, where he preached the message of the gospel. While there he destroyed by his prayers the famous Temple of Artemis. Thus he liberated from the error of idolatry and brought to the light of the knowledge of God four hundred thousand people who were worshiping the false god Artemis.

They call the mountain Elibatos, on which was built the Temple of John the Theologian in old Ephesus. West of this mountain was the tomb of the Holy Apostle Timothy. The tomb of Mary Magdalene and the cave of the Seven Youths can be found on the neighboring mountain called Cheileton or Cheileon. The tomb of Saint Hermione the Prophetess, who was one of the four daughters of Philip, one of the seven Deacons, her tomb, I say, is on the neighboring mountain. On this neighboring mountain are also the holy relics of the Martyr Audaktos and his daughter Kallistheni, as well as other Martyrs and Bishops, namely Aristonos, Tyranos, Aristobulos and Paul of Hermopolis.

The Synaxis of John and the feast is celebrated in his revered and apostolic Temple, which is found in the place called Ebdomon.

Apolytikion in the Second Tone
Apostle beloved of Christ our God, hasten to deliver a defenseless people. He Who allowed thee to recline on His breast receives thee bowing in prayer, O John the Theologian. Implore Him to dispel heathen persistence, and to grant us peace and mercy.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Who can tell of thy mighty works, O beloved Saint? Thou didst pour forth miracles. Thou art a source of healing and dost intercede for our souls, as the Theologian and friend of Christ.