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The New Martyr John of Monemvasia

October 21

The New Martyr John of Monemvasia was a child of exceptional temperament and was famed in his town for this. During the Turkish occupation, his father was killed, and he and his mother were sold off as slaves. Eventually being bought by the same slave, the mother and son were united. The master of Saint John admired the young boy’s hard work and good morals and requested to adopt him as his own son. The only catch was that he must accept the Muslim faith. The young John steadfastly refused so his master turned to flattery and then severe torture, however the faith of the young Martyr remained unwavering. The master eventually took him to the mosque in front of many Muslims who beat him severely, to which his only response was, “I am not a Muslim, I am a Christian and I wish to die as a Christian!” Every day, the master and his wife tried to seduce through flattery and even magic to give into temptation and convert to the Muslim faith, however the young John turned to prayer to the Most Holy Theotokos who protected him from such evil. Soon came the fifteen days of fasting for the Dormition feast. Wanting to break the young child’s fast, he tied him to a tree where he starved him for a few days. He then came with meat to entice him to break the fast, however he steadfastly refused to dishonour the Theotokos through eating meat. Even his mother tried convincing him to break the fast out of necessity, however he responded that she should have the faith that Abraham had who was willing to sacrifice his own son, and that being a priest’s son himself, he ought to focus on the small things, because if not, it would give way to bigger temptations. Having heard this, the Turkish master, in a rage, ran his sword through the young martyr’s heart, granting him the crown of martyrdom at the young age of 15.

Ἀπολυτίκιον
Ἦχος γ’. Θείας πίστεως.
Θεῖον γόνον σέ, Μονεμβασία, ἀνεβλάστησε, καρποφοροῦντα, Ἰωάννη τᾶς τῆς πίστεως χάριτος, τῶν γὰρ πατρῴων θεσμῶν ἀντεχόμενος, τοὺς ἐκ τῆς Ἀγαρ ἀθλήσας κατήσχυνας. Μάρτυς ἔνδοξε, Χριστὸν τὸν Θεὸν ἱκέτευε, δωρήσασθαι ἠμὶν τὸ μέγα ἔλεος.