October 9, 2018

Holy New Martyr John at Prousa

St. John the New Martyr at Prousa (Feast Day - October 9)

Saint John was a native of the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire that were already under Turkish occupation in his lifetime, sometime between the twelfth and fourteenth century. He took refuge at Prousa (Bursa) in Bithynia where he became a deacon and was promoted to a high administrative office. On the death of his wife, he married again and resigned his diaconate as the holy Canons require (17th Apostolic Canon). But he led a chaste and godly life, helping the poor and the victims of Turkish tyranny, and was zealous in attending the services of the Church.

His virtues aroused the envy of the devil, who spread false rumors about him among the Turks and they provoked him to enter into controversy over religious matters. The Saint's ardent confession of the truth of Christ as Lord and God brought upon him torments issued by the governor of the city, who had hm flogged and dragged by his hair. The matter was referred to the Sultan who, at the time, resided in Thrace. The noble confessor of Christ withstood the Sultan's inducements as well as his threats and was condemned to be burnt alive.

The executioners took him to an isolated place and tied him to a tree which, by an act of God, split into three boughs, to show that the Saint had fought to the death confessing the mystery of the Triune God. They lit a slow fire to prolong his suffering, and Saint John spent three hours in prayer in the midst of the flame before giving up his soul to the Lord.*


* This Saint is absent from all the hagiographical collections, but is mentioned in a notice from Iviron MS 512, fo 145a-147b.