Book of Saints – John the Almoner

detail of a painting of Saint John the Almoner; by Titian, c.1545; San Giovanni Elemosinario, Venice, Italy; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

(Saint) Bishop (January 23) (7th century) A wealthy citizen of the Island of Cyprus who, considering the death of his wife and two children as a call from God to the leading of a more perfect life, forthwith gave away in alms all that he possessed, and devoted himself to a life of prayer and good works. His fame of sanctity led to his being elected Patriarch of Alexandria (A.D. 608); but before taking possession’of his See, he bade the officials to briug him a complete list of “his lords,” meaning the poor of the city; and thenceforth provided for the needs of the seven thousand five hundred thus reported to him. On two days of each week he attended to the complaints of all who believed themselves aggrieved, nor would he suffer his servants to take food till all wrongs were redressed. All injustice was hateful to him, and he was implacable against the users of false weights and measures. It is said of him that he never uttered an idle word. In Alexandria he left seventy churches in place of the seven he had found there. He died in Cyprus, his native island, A.D. 619. Throughout his life God blessed his alms by multiplying his gold and so enabling him to do more for the poor and needy. Saint John of Alexandria has well deserved his surname of Eleemosynarius (Alms-giver).

MLA Citation

  • Monks of Ramsgate. “John the Almoner”. Book of Saints, 1921. CatholicSaints.Info. 14 June 2016. Web. 20 October 2018. <>