Icon of Saint John the Russian – S431

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Saint John was an able-bodied and devout Russian man who served in the Russian army in the Russo-Turkish War of 1710-1711.  Falling into the hands of the Tartars, Saint John was sold as a slave to a Turkish calvary commander, who took him to his home in Prokopia (now Urkiul, Turkey).  The Turks tried to convert all of the Christian captives to Islam by worldly promises or by threats or tortures.  Saint John was beaten, but did not deny Christ.  His calm faith soothed his master, who stopped beating him and made Saint John take care of the sheep and cattle, and live by the horse stable.

Saint John served his master with energy, and became beloved of him and the other servants.  By Saint John’s request he remained living near the horse stable to have time for nightly prayer.  Saint John was also merciful and was charitable even in his poverty.    In time many Christians there came to him for spiritual counsel, as there was at that time no priest to serve in Prokopia.  At the end of his life, Saint John asked for a priest, who secretly sent him Holy Communion in an apple, which he received and then died in 1730.  His relics were found  to be incorrupt three years later.

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