July 23, 2020 - Epep 16, 1736
Departure of St. John, of the Golden Gospel
On this day, St. John, the owner of the Golden Gospel, departed. This saint was born in the city of Rome. His father was a rich man whose name was Atrofius (Trabius). His father gave him a copy of the Gospel of St. John written in letters of gold and bound with a golden cover and from this he was generally known as John of the Golden Gospel. John rejoiced exceedingly with this gift. A monk, who was on his way to Jerusalem, came to visit his father's house. John asked the monk to take him with him. The monk told him that he was going to Jerusalem and not to the monastery. He also told him that he was young and could not endure the rough life that the monks practiced. Nevertheless, John was sincere in his intention, so he embarked on a ship, without telling anyone, to the monastery of that monk. When the Abbot saw him, he refused to accept him because of his young age, and explained to him that the monastic life was difficult for one like him. John pleaded with him, and when the Abbot saw his firm intention and strong conviction, he accepted him. He shaved his head, and arrayed him in the holy garb of the monastic life. John devoted himself to the ascetic life with many worships. The Abbot often advised him saying, Have pity on yourself, and do as the rest of the brethren. But John used to answer, saying, The power of God and your prayers support me.
Seven years later, he saw in a vision, who told him, Rise, and go to your parents, that you might receive their blessings before your departure from this world. This vision was repeated on three consecutive nights, and he told the Abbot about it. The Abbot told him that this was from God, and advised him to go to see his parents. When he left the monastery, he found a poor man wearing ragged garments, he took them from him, and gave him his own monk's garb. When he arrived at his father's house, he lived for three years, near the door of the house, in a small hut made of straw. He ate, during this time, the fragments from his father's table which the servants threw to him. Whenever his mother passed by him, she was disgusted by his smell and the appearance of his clothes. When his departure drew near, the Lord made it known to him that after three days he would depart from this world. St. John sent and called his mother. Without telling her that he was her son, he made her swear to bury him in that hut with whatever clothes he had on. Then, he gave her the golden Gospel and said to her, Whenever you read in it, remember me. When his father returned to the house, she showed him the Gospel, and immediately he recognized that it was the Gospel of his son John. They came in haste to St. John and asked him about the Gospel and about their son. He asked them to assure him that they would not bury him except in the clothes that he had on, and then he told them that he was their son. They wept with a great weeping. When the nobles of the city of Rome heard that, they gathered to see this righteous monk. After three days, he departed and his mother clothed him with the clothes that she had prepared for his wedding day before he went to the monastery. Thereupon she fell sick, and her husband remembered the oath that they had given. Immediately he removed the clothes of his son and clothed him with the old ragged cloth that he had on and buried him in the hut in which he had lived. Many miracles were manifested from his body. Then they built a church in his name and placed his body in it. May his prayers with us. Amen.