Our Holy Father John was born in Constantinople, the Queen of Cities. At first he worked as a goldsmith, and everyone expected him to continue in that occupation. From his youth, however, he was inclined toward the monastic life. He also possessed a rare gift for continence and a natural love for fasting, and thus he was known as “the Faster.” Because of his reputation for virtue, he was ordained as a deacon by Patriarch John III, and later he received the grace of the priesthood. Saint John was found worthy to behold a vision which showed that he would become be a worthy recipient of God’s grace, for the spiritual enlightenment of his flock. He read the Holy Scriptures and other ecclesiastical books every day, thereby enriching his knowledge.
Once, when he was a young man, John was walking with Eusebius, an old monk from Palestine. Suddenly, a bodiless voice spoke to Eusebius: “Abba, do not walk to the right of the great John.” It was the voice of God, foretelling the great service to which John would shortly be called.
After the death of Patriarch Eutychius, Saint John was chosen to succeed him. He did not want to accept the office, but he was frightened by a heavenly vision, and so he consented. By the example of his own life he taught all believers to restrain their capricious desires and to control themselves. The hierarch was unable to abide his flock’s blatant disregard for the institutions of the Church. When the citizens of Constantinople decided to give in to their passions by attending a horse show in the Hippodrome on eve of the Feast of Pentecost, the hierarch fell on his knees before God and fervently prayed that the Lord would thwart their impious intention. As soon as the people began to make their way to the Hippodrome, a terrible storm arose with thunder, rain and hailstones so that everyone dispersed in fear and came to realize the inappropriateness of such entertainment.
St John was Patriarch of Constantinople from 582 – 595, and was the first to use the title “Ecumenical Patriarch.”
He was a great faster, intercessor and wonderworker right up to the time of his death. Distinguished for his abstinence and prayer, Saint John had such a love for the poor that he refused them nothing from his estate. After his death, his only personal possessions were found to be a wooden spoon, a linen shirt and an old garment. His writings on repentance and Confession are well known.
After a virtuous life of piety, during which he performed many miracles, Saint John reposed on September 2, 595. His grace-filled relics were entombed in the Church of the Holy Apostles.
Saint John is also commemorated on August 30.
Saint John became Patriarch during the reign of Tiberius, in the year 582, governed the Church for thirteen years and five months, and reposed in peace in 595. It was during this Patriarch’s reign, in the year 586, that the title “Ecumenical Patriarch,” not used before this, came to be instituted.
He is also celebrated on August 30. He was at first a goldsmith, but because of his great and many acts of mercy–and by God’s providence–he was ordained a priest. Once, when he was a young man, John was walking with Eusebius, an old monk from Palestine. Suddenly, a bodiless voice spoke to Eusebius: “Abba, do not walk to the right of the great John.” It was the voice of God, foretelling the great service to which John would shortly be called.
After the Blessed Eutychius, John was chosen to be Patriarch of Constantinople. He did not want to accept this but, having been frightened by a certain heavenly vision, he accepted. He was a great faster, intercessor and miracle-worker right up to his death. He reposed in the year 595 A.D. After his death, his only personal possessions were found to be a wooden spoon, a linen shirt and an old garment. His writings on repentance and confession are well known.
Apolytikion of John, Abp. Of Constantinople
A model of faith and the image of gentleness, the example of your life has shown you forth to your sheep-fold to be a master of temperance. You obtained thus through being lowly, gifts from on high, and riches through poverty. John, our father and priest of priests, intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls.
Source: oca.org / goarch.org / westserbdio.org