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Friday, November 26, 2021

Saint John the Theologian

Fr. Konstantinos Koutroubas
Fr. Konstantinos Koutroubas
Father Konstantinos Koutroubas Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church

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September 26 is one of the feast days of Saint John the Evangelist, Apostle, and Theologian.

Saint John was one of the 4 Gospel writers (Evangelists). He also wrote three Epistles and the Book of Revelation in the New Testament.

Saint John is the only Apostle of the 12 who did not abandon Christ at the Crucifixion and the one who took care of His Mother, the Panagia, because she had no other children. We are reminded about this in the Gospel reading for Liturgy for the feast.

Saint John is one of three Saints given the title “Theologian” because of the lofty, beautiful yet very real theology that he relates in his Gospel. Saint John’s symbol is the eagle.

Saint John is also referred to as the “Virgin” in the Kontakion hymn of his feast, as he remained one all his life, having never married. The Kontakion for the Saint is also chanted when the sacrament of Holy Unction Service is served.  This is a title of course we normally hear for the Panagia.

Saint John’s body was also translated into heaven, which is what we celebrate on September 26. We celebrate, as the Synaxarion says, his Metastasis, so it’s not only a Falling Asleep (The Synaxarion lists the Saint and feast days for each day of the year). This word Metastasis is also used for the Panagia’s Dormition on August 15. We know from the teaching of the Church that the Panagia’s body was translated to heaven, before the Second Coming of Christ and the General Resurrection of all mankind.

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Saint John also celebrates a feast day on May 8, when we celebrate the Synaxis, the Liturgical Gathering, in celebration of the Holy Powder, called Manna, which emitted from the Saint’s empty tomb in Ephesus. Through the Manna, miracles of both soul and body had occurred.

Together with all the holy 12 Apostles (including Saint Matthias, who replaced Judas) & Saint Paul, Saint John the Theologian also celebrates on June 30, which is the feast of all the Holy Apostles.

Saint John is also the Patron Saint of the Greek island of Patmos, where he wrote the book of Revelation. He wrote the Gospel and Epistles in Ephesus of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey), where he did a lot of his apostolic work. He spent 15 years on the island of Patmos, where he had been exiled.

At Hellenic College Holy Cross in Massachusetts, September 26 is another special feast day of the schools. Saint John was the beloved Saint of Bishop Gerasimos of Abydos of blessed memory, who is buried behind the chapel at Hellenic College Holy Cross.

We have treasure troves in the Orthodox Church, and my hope and prayer is that we all realize this.

May Saint John pray for us!

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