St. John the Russian

Saint John the Russian was born in South Russia [Ukraine] in 1690. St. John came from a Christian family and in 1711 he fought against the Turks in the battle for the recapture of the city of Azov.

In this battle he and other compatriots were captured and driven first to Constantinople and later to the village of Prokopio near Caesarea in Cappadocia in the possession of an Agha who had a camp with Genitsarians.

There he is tortured very harshly by the infidel Turks who, after kicking him, beat him with wooden sticks, spit on him, burn his hair and the skin of his head, and force him to live with the animals in a stable. St. John endures the torture to such an extent that the Turks call him a saint. His virtuous behavior made the Turkish Aga like him and let him free to practice his religious duties.

The work assigned to him was the care and cleanliness of the stable and the animals. At the age of 40 he became seriously ill and died. On May 27, 1730, Agas was given the freedom to be buried by Christians as prescribed by the church and Christian tradition. He was buried in the church of St. George and his holy skeleton was placed in a marble urn. In 1832 when the Turks looted and burned the church of St. George they were surprised and at the same time fearful because the relic of St. John was left intact, they immediately removed it and the relic was placed back inside the urn. The miracles continue to this day and many people of various religions take refuge to be healed. In 1924, during the exchange of populations, the Christians took the relic of St. John with them and carried it to their new homeland, Euboea. In 1930 a Holy Church was founded in honour of the Saint and every year thousands of believers from all over the world come to venerate the relic of the Saint along with his miraculous icon.