One of the most popular saints among Greeks today is St. John the Russian whose incorrupt relics are the boast of the island of Euboia. The multitudes who visit his shrine are such that there is daily bus service to the shrine from Athens. Countless miracles flow from his relics and icons, and even now-when the spirit of the world is having such an oppressive effect on traditional Greek piety–icons of the Saint are often found in buses and in nearly all Orthodox homes. St. John was neither a celebrated hierarch, nor an eloquent theologian, but a simple young man who spent the better part of his life in a stable.
The Saint performed many wonders even after his blessed repose. A descendent of the Agha told many of the following miracle:
“My children would not live except for a short time, and would die while yet infants. Their unfortunate mother, after she had lost hope in the wisdom of medicine, fled without my knowledge to the relics of the slave John, so that be might grant her a little child which would not die while yet young, so that we also might rejoice to see it as a young man or even a young girl …. In truth the righteous John heard the supplication of my wife. God granted us a strong little boy whom we called, as you know, Kole Guvan Oglu (that is, “Son of the Slave John”), and he lives through the power of God and the prayers of John even until today.”
Several times St. John has appeared in dreams and visions warning of impending dangers. Once he warned some Greek school children that the roof was about to fall; they had time enough to jump underneath their desks and when the roof fell, its beams came down upon the desks without striking even one of the children.
More recently we have heard about the miraculous healings of two severe cases of meningitis – one a 19 year old shepherd boy in southern Greece and the other a 3-year old boy in London.
Today a part of the right hand of St. John is enshrined in a special silver reliquary in the Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Boston, where many people come to venerate it and to ask the prayers of this simple Confessor of the Christian faith, knowing that the Lord – Who resisteth the proud – hears speedily the prayers of the meek.
(Based on a Life by Photios Kontoglou. The Orthodox Word, June-July, 1967)