Saint Giovanni Theristi

statue of Saint Giovanni Theristi, location, artist and photographer unknown; swiped from Santi e BeatiAlso known as

  • Giovanni Terestes
  • Giovanni Theristus
  • John the Reaper



When his mother was pregnant with Giovanni, she was enslaved and taken to Palermo, Sicily by Saracen raiders; his father was killed in the same attack. At age 14, Giovanni returned to his parent’s home town of Stilo, Italy and was baptized by his bishop, Giovanni, at one of the old monasteries around the town. The area Christians, including the bishop, were surprised and suspicious that a young man dressed as an Arab wanted to become a Christian. As an adult, Giovanni was drawn to religious life, and became an Eastern style monk. He would help reapers in the field and then give all he had earned to the poor. A miracle worker, he once prayed for help to save a harvest that was about to be destroyed by a storm; an angel appeared and instantly harvested the crop, saving the peasants from starving. Founded the monastery at Bivongi, Italy; the house was later re-named in his hounour.




Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Giovanni Theristi“. CatholicSaints.Info. 29 January 2019. Web. 22 February 2019. <>