October 4, 2019

Saint John the Lampadistes

St. John the Lampadistes (Feast Day - October 4)

Venerable John the Lampadistes lived in the 10th century and was from the village of Lampadou in Cyprus near Galata. His father was a priest named Kyriakos and his mother was named Anna, who were very pious and wealthy, and John was their only child, the fruit of prayer, after his parents were childless for a long time and turned to prayer. In his education, John exceeded his fellow pupils.

When John was still young, he once cut off a cluster of grapes from the vine and brought it home before the 6th of August - it is a custom for Orthodox Christians to not eat grapes until August 6th when grapes are blessed in church. For this John was punished and slapped by his father. John's intention however was not to eat the grapes, but to show his father the divine blessing of abundant fruitfulness, but he accepted the punishment without complaint. After praying with tears, he took the cluster of grapes back to the vine, and the cluster stuck to the vine as if it had never been cut. This was the first miracle of the young Saint.

When John was 18, his parents were encouraging him to marry a wealthy young maiden. However, before John was born and his parents were unable to have children, they made a vow to God that if He granted them a child then they would dedicate their child to God. Now that John was older, his parents wanted him to marry, but John longed to live a life dedicated to God as an ascetic. Wrestling with this conflict, John turned to prayer. As he knelt in prayer, he heard a divine voice within him say the following:

"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me." (Matt. 10:37-38)

Upon hearing these words, John ran to the young maiden and told her of his longing to live a life dedicated to God in purity, and he asked if she was willing to live the same life with him. When she declined his offer, the proposal for marriage was dissolved. The parents of the young woman saw this as an affront, and wanted to take revenge. A sorcerer offered to help them in their pursuit.

One day the parents of the young woman invited John and his father over for dinner, pretending to be friendly. Before they served John his food, they put some poison the sorcerer prepared for them in his food. A little bit of the poison would cause blindness, though a lot of it would mean certain death.

Since John was temperate in all things, he ate only a little bit of the food given to him, and was thus blinded. After forgiving those who blinded him, he went with his servant who also was named John and they went to Marathasa, to the Monastery of Saint Herakleidios. Near this monastery John lived in ascetic pursuits for four years, and became known for the miracles he worked, especially the healing of those demon possessed.

One day young John took his servant and they went to a place where there was no water and the heat was unbearable. The servant looked everywhere, but no water could be found. Disappointed, he sat down, feeling dizzy and hopeless. When he told John of their predicament, John lifted his hands in prayer, then struck the nearby rock with his hands. Just as with Moses, the rock then gushed forth water. Since then, until today, this holy water has quenched the thirst of thousands who have passed by it.

Three days before the blessed ascetic died, he regained his sight. He then saw three golden eagles flying around him. This was a manifestation of the Triune God calling John to Him. Indeed, on October 4th the soul of John flew up to heaven. He was only 22 years old. His parents, together with the monks of the monastery, buried his body in the church. Soon after, a church was built dedicated to him, and his relics were brought there. Today the Monastery of Saint Herakleidios is known as the Monastery of Saint John the Lampadistes. The head of Saint John can be found at Kykkos Monastery. Another portion of his relics is also at Stavrovouni Monastery. A church dedicated to him is also in Pelendri.

Saint John the Lampadistes continues to work miracles till today. Below is just one example:

In 1950 there was a resident of Famagusta who was in the village of Kalopanayiotis. He went there for spa treatment, because a wound on his body was growing daily. It was constantly inflamed and he could find no hope for healing after exhausting all medical advice. However, the medical board did come up with a possible treatment, but it was very dangerous and would probably ensure his death. Either way, the man felt dejected and hopeless, since he was likely to die whether he did the treatment or not. He then humbly prayed to Saint John, saying: "My Saint John, take pity on me. Take pity also on my family and make me well. Grant me my health, and I will celebrate your feast as long as I live."

The man repeated this prayer several times, until he suddenly saw a light fill his room, and Saint John was standing next to his bed, who said to him: "Fear not, my good man. Believe only in God. The doctors certainly know you are going to die. Not God however." Saint John then touched the wound of the man with his hand, and said: "There! With the grace of Christ your untreated wound is now healed."

The man then opened his eyes, and lay in his bed motionless for a moment. Coming to himself, he felt himself healed. He got up and sat on his bed. With his trembling hand he took off the bandages. The wound was gone. He was healed. He immediately got on his knees and thanked God with his whole heart, and thanked his doctor who performed the surgery, Saint John the Lampadistes.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Boast of Lampadou and praise of Cyprus, you were seen to be a wonderworker, our Venerable Father John. With fasting you overcame the flesh, your great might cannot be pondered with words, wherefore you received the grace to heal from heaven, as one who is inspired by God. Glory to Him Who gave you might, glory to Him Who crowned you, glory to Him Who works through you all manner of healings.