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The Holy Martyr John the Soldier

On August 12th (July 30th by the old calendar) the Church commemorates the holy martyr John the soldier.

St. John, of Slavic origin, served in the military under the reign of Emperor Julian the Apostate, and was sent together with other soldiers to kill Christians. Julian, the nephew of Emperor Constantine the Great, reigned from 361 to 363 A.D. He was called an apostate because though born a Christian, he renounced Christianity upon stepping onto the throne and became a zealous pagan. Wishing to weaken Christianity and revive the dying paganism in the Roman Empire, he first used cunning measures against the Christians, but afterwards turned to more violent means, although without actually initiating widespread persecution.

St. John, although seemingly executing the ignoble task given him by the Emperor, in reality secretly provided a great a deal of help to Christians. Being a Christian himself, he concealed his fellow-believers, aided them with money, food and clothes, while as to those who were thrown into prison, he visited them and comforted them with words of love, compassion and encouragement.

The holy martyr John the soldier
The holy martyr John the soldier

Upon discovering this, Julian ordered St. John to be brought to Constantinople, in order to be tried and executed. The saint was tortured at great length, but could not be broken, and finally he was thrown into prison, where he remained until the death of Julian the Apostate. Regaining his freedom, St. John continued to lead a righteous life to a ripe old age, spending time in prayer and fasting, visiting the sick and comforting the suffering. Thus he adorned his life and spiritually perfected himself. After living such a virtuous life, he departed for the kingdom of Christ and was buried in Constantinople among other strangers. After his death St. John wrought many miracles. St. John is an intercessor before the throne of God for all who are imprisoned, and he also uncovers thieves and helps find lost and stolen property.

Prayer to the holy martyr John the soldier

O mighty intercessor and saint of Christ, John the warrior! Have mercy upon thy servant who suffers misfortunes, affliction, and all manner of adversity. Save him from all evil and protect him from offenders, for thou hast been granted such grace from God. Amen.

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