Saint Joannicus of Mount Olympus

detail of a Greek Orthodox icon of Saint Joannicus of Mount Olympus; date unknown, author unknown; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsAlso known as

  • Joannicius the Great
  • Joannicus of Olympus
  • Joannicus of Uludag
  • Ioannikios….
  • Ioannikos….
  • Ioninicus….



A swineherd in his youth, and a lazy one at that. Professional soldier in the Byzantine army for 20 years, and a dissolute one at that. Fought in wars against the Bulgars.

A friend who had become a monk led him to the faith. At age 40, Joannicus retired from the military and the world, becoming a hermit on Mount Olympus, Bithynia (modern Uludag, Turkey). He developed a reputation for holiness, and had to move several times to escape would-be spiritual students. Monk at Eraste.

A one-time supporter of iconoclasm, he fought it and defended orthodox teachings in the iconoclast movement of 818. He tried to be a peacemaker, arguing that the orthodox should try to understand and reunite with iconoclast priests.

Advisor to Saint Theodore the Studite and Saint Methodius of Constantinople. Prophet and miracle worker. His prophesied the restoration of images to churches, a prophesy fulfilled by Theodora, wife of emporer Theophilus. Friend of Saint Peter of Atroa; at the time of Saint Peter‘s death, he had a vision of Peter being lifted up a mountain into heaven. Highly venerated by the Greeks.


  • c.754 at Bithynia (in modern Turkey)



Additional Information


My hope is the Father, my refuge is the Son, my shelter is the Holy Spirit, O Holy Trinity, Glory to You. – Prayer of Saint Joannicus

With the rivers of your tears, you have made the barren desert fertile. Through sighs of sorrow from deep within you, your labors have borne fruit a hundred-fold. By your miracles you have become a light, shining upon the world. O Ioninicus, our Holy Father, pray to Christ our God, to save our souls. – Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone

We the faithful on this day all come together, righteous Joannicius, to keep thy sacred memory; and we beseech thee to intercede that we may all find great mercy with Christ our Lord. – Kontakion in the Fourth Tone

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Joannicus of Mount Olympus“. CatholicSaints.Info. 10 August 2020. Web. 28 July 2021. <>