In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:1-5, ESV).
So begins the Gospel of Saint John, a simple fisherman transformed into a mystic theologian by Jesus the Word, an angry "son of thunder" transformed into the beloved apostle of love by Jesus the Word. Poet and prophet, John's words in Gospel, letters, and Apocalypse are among the most beautiful and meaningful in Scripture.
According to Church tradition, Saint John conducted his primary ministry in Ephesus in Asia Minor. During the reign of Emperor Domitian, he was exiled to the prison island of Patmos for his witness to the Lord Jesus. There, likely near the end of the first century, the Word of Jesus came to John in a series of visions which he recorded in The Apocalypse (Revelation) -- visions which assured a beleagured church of the ultimate triumph of Christ and the certain coming of the Kingdom of God.
John likely ended his life once again in Ephesus, the last living apostle of our Lord.
Collect of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist
Shed upon your Church, O Lord, the brightness of your light, that we, being illumined by the teaching of your apostle and evangelist John, may so walk in the light of your truth, that at length we may attain to the fullness of eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Metropolitan Athanasios of Lemesos: "Are there virtuous lay people in our contemporary world?" - (source) *Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!*
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