May 27 – The Church venerates the memory of St. John the Russian
Today the Church venerates the memory of St. John the Russian.
John was born into a Christian family in what is today central Ukraine, in 1690. He joined the army of Peter the Great and took part in the Russo-Turkish War in the early 18th century, only to be captured by the Turks and sold as a slave to an Ottoman cavalry officer, who hailed from the Cappadocian town of Prokopio, modern-day Ürgüp.
St. John the Russian refused to convet to Islam and was humiliated and tormented for this by the local Muslims.
In the end, his master, seeing John’s steadiness in faith, humility and diligence, ordered that he be left in peace and treated with respect.
The relics of St. John are kept at the St. John the Russian cathedral in the village of Prokopi, on the large island of Evia, off mainland Greece, named after the ancient town in Asia Minor where the saint spent much of his life.