A Garner of Saints – Saint John the Evangelist

detail of a stained glass window of Saint John the Apostle; date and artist unknown; church of Saint George, Castle Way, Hanworth, England; photographed on 10 December 2004 by John Salmon; swipe from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

After Pentecost he went to Asia where he founded many churches. When the Emperor Domitian heard of this he sent for him and caused him to be put into a cauldron of boiling oil, but John experienced no harm. The emperor then exiled him to the island of Patmos, where, being left entirelyalone, he wrote the Apocalyse. On the assassination of the emperor, John was recalled to Ephesus, and all the faithful came out to meet him saying, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” As he entered the town they were bearing to the grave a woman named Drusiana. Her relations came to John and told him how ardently she had desired to see him before her death. Then he commanded that they should set down the body and unbind her and he said, “Our Lord will raise thee, Drusiana, rise, return home and prepare me some food.” And she arose and returned to the house and it seemed to her that she had only awakened out of sleep. Once as the philosopher Crato was haranguing the people in the market place, he showed how contemptible were the things of this world. Having convinced two youths he commanded them to sell their goods, buy precious stones with the proceeds and then to destroy the stones in public. While this was going on the apostle passed by and rebuked them saying that the money should have been given to the poor. Then Crato said, “If your master is the true God, make these stones whole again,” and John, taking the fragments, restored the stones to their former lustre. On this Crato and the youths believed, sold the stones and gave the money fo the poor. Two other youths, touched by this example, sold all they possessed and gave the proceeds to the poor, but one day seeing their former servants more richly clothed than themselves they repented of what they had done. John perceived their sadness, and one day as they were on the sea-shore he told them to gather bits of wood and pebbles, and then turned the heap into gold and precious stones, telling them to take it to the goldsmiths. When they returned the apostle preached to them conceming the evil of the covetousness of riches, and as he was speaking they brought him a man who had died thirty days after his marriage. His mother and wife fell at the apostle’s feet and besought him to raise the dead man. The apostle wept and then raised the dead man, ordering him to relate to the youths what had happened. And he spoke of the joys of Paradise and the pains of Hell, exclaiming “Unhappy youths, I have seen the angels weeping on your account, and the devils rejoicing.” When he had finished speaking the youths fell at the feet of the apostle and besought him to have pity on them. He then commanded that they should do penance for thirty days, and at the end of that time the gold and jewels became wood and pebbles once more, and the youths recovered the graces and virtues which they had possessed before. When John had preached in all Asia, the priests roused the people against him and dragged him to the temple of Diana to sacrifice. But the apostle offered a test, that if he should pray Christ to destroy the temple and it fell, they would believe. And as he prayed the temple fell and the image of Diana was broken in pieces. But Aristodemus, bishop of the idols, raised a great tumult against him. Then John offered another test. Two criminals were sent for from prison and on being given some poison prepared by Aristodemus, they fell down dead, but when the apostle received the cup he made the sign of the cross, drank the contents, and remained unharmed. Then Aristodemus said, I will believe if you will raise the two dead men. Accordingly John gave him his mantle, and when it was laid on the men they arose immediately. And John baptized Aristodemus, the proconsul and all his household, and they founded a church. When John had attained the age of ninety-eight years, the Saviour appeared to him saying “Come to me, my well beloved, for it is time for thee to sit at table with thy brethren.” And John rose and the Lord said to. him “Thou wilt come to rejoin me on Sunday.” When Sunday came the apostle assembled all the people in the church, and preached to them. After that he caused a square grave to be dug at the foot of the altar, and the earth to be carried out of the church. He then entered the grave and prayed, and after he had finished a great light surrounded him, and when it had disappeared the grave was found to be full of manna. Saint Edmund, king of England, never refused an alms to a beggar who asked it in the name of Saint John. One day a pilgrim asked his charity, and the king having nothing else, gave him his gold ring. Long afterwards an English knight received this ring from the hands of this pilgrim, in parts beyond the sea, who charged him to take it to the king and say, “He to whom and for whose sake you have given this ring, sends it back to you” from which it was clear that Saint John had appeared to the king under the guise of a pilgrim. The legend is also related of Edward the Confessor. When the Empress Galla Placida was returning from Constantinople to Ravenna, she encountered a terrible storm. Being rescued from its fury she built a church to Saint John in conformity with a vow, but she possessed no relics with which to consecrate the sanctuary nor could she obtain any. However Saint John took pity on her, and one night as she was praying he appeared to her in a vision, and as she threw herself at his feet to embrace them he vanished leaving one of his sandals in her hand.

Attributes

  • The chalice with a serpent issuing out of it, in allusion to the miracle of the poisoned cup. As an evangelist his symbol is the eagle. Part of his clothing is always green.

MLA Citation

  • Allen Banks Hinds, M.A. “Saint John the Evangelist”. A Garner of Saints, 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 20 April 2017. Web. 22 May 2017. <>