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
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