The Holy Martyr John the New of Ioannina.

Commemorated April 18 in the Orthodox Christian Menaion

From the Prologue

He was born in Ioannina, the ancient capital of King Pyrrhus. When his poor parents died, the young John went to Constantinople and there continued his trade, for he was a craftsman. The Turks had occupied Constantinople not long before this, and many Christians had, out of fear, denied Christ and accepted Islam. St John had his workshop right in the midst of these men who had become Turks. The more inflamed St John became with love for Christ, the more outwardly apparent this became to these apostates. He began to dispute with them about the Faith, and to reprimand them for their betrayal of Christ. They dragged him before the judge and falsely accused him of having earlier accepted Islam and having returned to Christianity. For this he was tortured - beaten and flogged with iron flails - and then cast into prison. On the second day, which was Easter Day, they brought him out for further torture, and John emerged full of joy and singing: 'Christ is risen from the dead!' He spoke courageously to his torturers, saying: 'Do what you will to me, and send me as quickly as possible from this transient life into life eternal. I am Christ's servant; I follow Christ, and I die for Christ that I may live with Him!' After that, John was bound in chains and taken to the place of burning. Seeing the great flames prepared for him, John ran forward and leapt into them. But his torturers, seeing how he sought death in the fire, pulled him out of it and sentenced him to be beheaded. When they had cut off his head, they threw it and his body into the fire. Later, Christians gathered the ashes and some of his precious and wonderworking relics and buried them in the Great Church in Constantinople. Thus he died a martyr's death and received the glorious wreath of martyrdom on April 18th, 1526.

From The Prologue From Ochrid by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
©1985 Lazarica Press, Birmingham UK

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