John the Theologian
ByzCatholic, Feasts

John the Theologian

St. John the Theologian

John the Theologian is my favourite apostle, and Gospel writer! We celebrate his main feast day on May 8th. We also celebrate John during the Synaxis of the 12 Apostles, and on his dormition: September 26th. He is one of the sons of Zebedee (together with St. James from last week’s article). Tradition is that his mother was Salome, one of the myrrh-bearing women. We know he was present at the Transfiguration. And that after the crucifixion, he took the Theotokos into his home, and cared for her as his own mother.

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As for John’s ministry – he stayed in Jerusalem with St. Peter for a long time after Pentecost, until he traveled to preach in Asia Minor. Later in his life he traveled to Rome. (And tradition is that there he was thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil but survived unharmed). John the Theologian was the only apostle to die a natural death.

Quick Debate: John or Not John?

Although some people today contest that John wrote his Gospel book, it was never contested in the early church. Aside from the beloved disciple mentioning that he was a firsthand witness to the crucifixion (John 21:24), Irenaeus (born c. 130) and Tertullian (born c. 155) also testify that the Apostle John wrote his Gospel book. We also know that John’s Gospel was written before the destruction of Jerusalem, because it assumes we are able to use the city as a reference (John 5:2). Plus there are many other details in the gospel which suggests a firsthand account of the events, rather than a retelling of passed down information.John the Theologian

Ways to Celebrate

Make these Eagle Snacks posted by ByziMom for the feast of the Dormition of St. John the theologian.

Honour the Theotokos as your mother, as did John. If you have trouble with developing your relationship with Mary as your mother, try praying to St. John for guidance. For more on prayers to the Theotokos, check out our article here.

Read from the Gospel of John! Find a biblical comentary on John and follow along. I personally love reading about some of the wordplay in John’s gospel which makes for some tricky English translations.

Prayers and Tropars of John the Theologian

Matins Gospel: John 21: 15-25

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.

The Byzantine Life

If you enjoyed this week’s article, you might also be interested in reading about celebrating Easter throughout the season, or about Pentecost.

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1 Comment

  1. Really enjoyed this post as I was unfamiliar with the tradition surrounding John’s death. And the Eagle snacks look fun to make, great idea! Will share it with our kids. Dan

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