John was born of wealthy and distinguished parents in Constantinople during the reign of Leo I. He was their only child. Drawn by an inclination for the spiritual life, the young John secretly fled with a monk to a monastery in Asia Minor. For six years in this monastery, he remained in the greatest abstinence, prayer and obedience toward the abbot. Then the devil assailed him with the temptation that he should leave the monastery, return home to his parents, and live with them there as a nobleman. Indeed, he did return to the home of his parents dressed as a beggar. He saw his parents but did not want to make himself known to them. He took up lodging as a beggar in their courtyard, living on the crumbs that the servants threw to him and enduring much ridicule from everyone. John lived thus for three years, constantly praying to God that He save the souls of his father and mother. When John fell ill and sensed death approaching, he made himself known to his parents – who recognized him by a precious book of the Gospels which they had given him is his childhood and which he had kept for himself as his only possession. And so, this young man, even though he was very wealthy, defeated the devil and saved his soul and the souls of his parents. He reposed in the Lord in about the year 450.
Source: St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid – Volume One.
- January 15: Venerable Paul of Thebes
Since thou hadst with fervour longed after the Lord from thy youth, thou leftest the world with its delights and nobly didst strive in valiant ascetic deeds. Thou didst pitch thy hut before the gates of thy parents; thou didst break the demons’ snares, O all-blessed Father. And therefore, as is meet, hath Christ God glorified thee, O John.
Since thou didst desire a poverty like unto Christ’s, O wise Father John, thou didst forsake thy parents’ wealth; and while holding in thy hands the most holy Gospel, O righteous one, thou didst follow after Christ God while ceaselessly praying to Him for us all.