The Passing of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian
On September 16th/26th, we celebrate the passing of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist: John the Theologian. St. John is my favourite apostle and gospel writer. He is also honoured on his other feast day, May 8th, and during the Synaxis of the 12 Apostles.
We know John had a fiery temper, as did his brother James, who were called by Christ “Boaneges, which is, The sons of thunder.” – Mark 3:17. One great example of this temperament comes in Luke, when a city of Samaritains proved unwelcoming to Jesus. “And when his disciples James and John had seen this, they said: Lord, wilt thou that me we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” – Luke 9:54.
John’s (and James’) father was a fishermen, and therefore John was also a fisherman. Traditionally, we believe John is the youngest apostle, as well as the beloved disciple as described in the Gospel of John. John is also unique among the apostles, for he was the only to remain at the cross with Christ and the Theotokos. It is because of this that John is also the only apostle to die a natural death, rather than being martyred. (Although John did also suffer under the persecutions faced by the Early Church). His ministry occurred mainly in Jerusalem and Ephesus.
John is one of only three saints to receive the title of Theologian. (The others being Symeon the New Theologian, and Gregory of Constantinople).
Ways to Celebrate
- Read from John’s Gospel or Epistles. The daily readings are listed below, but you may want to ready more than that today!
- Pray to the Theotokos and take her into your home as your mother, just as John did at the cross
- Children can colour icons of St. John, as well as pictures of an Eagle (the symbol of John as a Gospel writer)
- John is known for focusing on the Divinity of Christ. Spend time on John’s feast day reflecting on the Divine nature of Christ
- Decorate your home in white for this feast day, as a sign of John’s virginity
Prayers and Tropars
Epistle: 1 John 4:12-19
Gospel: John 19:25-27, 21:24-25
Troparion: (tone 2)
O beloved apostle of Christ our God, hasten to deliver a people without defense. For He who received you when you leaned upon His breast, accepts you as you bow in prayer. Implore Him, O Theologian, to scatter the cloud of nations that besets us, asking peace and great mercy for us.
Kontakion: (tone 2)
O virgin apostle, who can recount your mighty works. For you pour out wonders and healings, and you pray for our souls as Theologian and friend of Christ.
Prokeimenon: (tone 8)
Their utterance has gone forth into all the earth, and their words into the ends of the world.
Verse: The heavens tell of the glory of God, and the firmament declares the work of His hand.
The Byzantine Life
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