Saint John the Theologian

Saint John the Theologian. Egg tempera and gold on panel. 8x10" 2023.

I recently finished this icon of Saint John the Theologian. It is based on several medieval icons, both eastern and western. He inclines his head as he did on the Lord's breast at the Last Supper. His posture shows his great sorrow as he witnessed the Crucifixion of the beloved Master, as well as his divine contemplation as he recorded in his sublime Gospel, which he holds.

John was the son of Zebedee the fisherman and Salome the daughter of Joseph, the betrothed of the Holy Theotokos. Called by the Lord Jesus, John immediately left his father and his fishermen’s nets and, with his brother James, followed Christ. From then on, he was not separated from his Lord until the end. With Peter and James, he was present at the raising of Jairus’ daughter and the Transfiguration of the Lord. At the Last Supper, he inclined his head on Jesus’ breast. When all the other apostles had abandoned the crucified Lord, John and the Holy Mother of God remained beneath the Cross. In obedience to the Lord, he was as a son to the Holy Virgin Mary, and carefully served and watched over her until her Dormition. John then lived and labored mostly in Ephesus. By his inspired preaching and miracles, he converted many to Christianity and shook paganism to its foundation. The embittered pagans bound him and sent him to Rome, to face Emperor Dometian, who had him tortured and flogged, which did him no harm. This terrified the emperor and, thinking him immortal, Dometian sent him into exile to the island of Patmos. There John converted many to Christianity by words and miracles, and confirmed well the Church of God. He also wrote his Gospel and Revelation on Patmos. He was over one hundred years old when he went to the Lord. Today, we remember a miraculous healing red dust called “manna” that bubbled up from his grave on May 8 every year for over a millennium. Through his intercessions, O Christ God, have mercy upon us. Amen.

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