Saint John the Short

Also known as

  • John Colobus
  • John Kolobos
  • John the Little
  • John the Dwarf
  • Yoannis Pi Kolobos



Born to a poor but pious family. From age 18, he lived in an underground cave he dug in the desert of Skete. Spiritual student of Saint Poemen and Saint Ammoes. Noted for being short of stature, short of temper, and conceited by nature; he did not grow in height, but as his faith increased, so did his gentleness and humility. In later life he was known for absent-mindedness, his thoughts being on the spiritual life. As a test of his new humble obedience, his director ordered him to water a walking staff stuck in the sand; John did so. It later blossomed, and John referred to it as the “tree of obedience”. To escape Berber invaders around 395, he fled Skete and lived for years as a hermit on Mount Queolzum, near the current city of Suez. Spiritual teacher of Saint Arsenius.



  • at Mount Qolzum of natural causes
  • when John died, his servant, who had been in a nearby village, had a vision of John being carried to heaven by a group of angels and saints
  • body moved to the desert of Skete in 515



Humility and the fear of God are above all virtues. – Saint John the Dwarf

MLA Citation

  • “Saint John the Short“. CatholicSaints.Info. 9 April 2020. Web. 25 September 2021. <>