PATRON SAINT - ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST
John the Divine as the son of Zebedee, and his mother's name was
Salome [Matthew 4:21, 27:56; Mark 15:40, 16:1]. They lived on
the shores of the sea of Galilee. The brother of Saint John,
probably considerably older, was Saint James. The mention of the
"hired men" [Mark 1:20], and of Saint John's
"home" [John 19:27], implies that the condition of
Salome and her children was not one of great poverty.
John and James followed the Baptist when he preached repentance
in the wilderness of Jordan. There can be little doubt that the
two disciples, whom Saint John does not name (John 1:35), who
looked on Jesus "as he walked," when the Baptist
exclaimed with prophetic perception, "Behold the Lamb of
God!" were Andrew and John. They followed and asked the
Lord where he dwelt. He bade them come and see, and they stayed
with him all day. Of the subject of conversation that took place
in this interview no record has come to us, but it was probably
the starting-point of the entire devotion of heart and soul
which lasted through the life of the Beloved Apostle.
apparently followed his new Master to Galilee, and was with him
at the marriage feast of Cana, journeyed with him to Capernaum,
and thenceforth never left him, save when sent on the missionary
expedition with another, invested with the power of healing. He,
James, and Peter, came within the innermost circle of their
Lord's friends, and these three were suffered to remain with
Christ when all the rest of the apostles were kept at a distance
[Mark 5:37, Matthew 17:1, 26:37]. Peter, James, and John were
with Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. The mother of James and
John, knowing our Lord's love for the brethren, made special
request for them, that they might sit, one on his right hand,
the other on his left, in his kingdom [Matthew 20:21]. There
must have been much impetuosity in the character of the
brothers, for they obtained the nickname of Boanerges, Sons of
Thunder [Mark 3:17, see also Luke 9:54]. It is not necessary to
dwell on the familiar history of the Last Supper and the
Passion. To John was committed by our Lord the highest of
privileges, the care of his mother [John 19:27]. John [the
"disciple whom Jesus loved"] and Peter were the first
to receive the news from the Magdalene of the Resurrection [John
20:2], and they hastened at once to the sepulchre, and there
when Peter was restrained by awe, John impetuously "reached
the tomb first."
the interval between the Resurrection and the Ascension, John
and Peter were together on the Sea of Galilee [John 21:1],
having returned to their old calling, and old familiar haunts.
Christ appeared on the shore in the dusk of morning, John was
the first to recognize him. The last words of the Gospel reveal
the attachment which existed between the two apostles. It was
not enough for Peter to know his own fate, he must learn also
something of the future that awaited his friend. The Acts show
us them still united, entering together as worshippers into the
Temple [Acts 3:1], and protesting together against the threats
of the Sanhedrin [Acts 4:13]. They were fellow-workers together
in the first step of Church expansion. The apostle whose wrath
had been kindled at the unbelief of the Samaritans, was the
first to receive these Samaritans as brethren [Luke 9:54, Acts
probably remained at Jerusalem until the death of the Virgin,
though tradition of no great antiquity or weight asserts that he
took her to Ephesus. When he went to Ephesus is uncertain. He
was at Jerusalem fifteen years after Saint Paul's first visit
there [Acts 15:6]. There is no trace of his presence there when
Saint Paul was at Jerusalem for the last time.
more or less trustworthy, completes the history. Irenaeus says
that Saint John did not settle at Ephesus until after the death
SS. Peter and Paul, and this is probable. He certainly as not
there when Saint Timothy was appointed bishop of that place.
Saint Jerome says that he supervised and governed all the
Churches of Asia. He probably took up his abode finally in
Ephesus in 97. In the persecution of Domitian he was taken to
Rome, and was placed in a cauldron of boiling oil, outside the
Latin gate, without the boiling fluid doing him any injury.
[Eusebius makes no mention of this. The legend of the boiling
oil occurs in Tertullian and in Saint Jerome]. He was sent to
labor at the mines in Patmos. At the accession of Nerva he was
set free, and returned to Ephesus, and there it is thought that
he wrote his gospel. Of his zeal and love combined we have
examples in Eusebius, who tells, on the authority of Irenaeus,
that Saint John once fled out of a bath on hearing that
Cerinthus was in it, lest, as he asserted, the roof should fall
in, and crush the heretic. On the other hand, he showed the love
that was in him. He commended a young man in whom he was
interested to a bishop, and bade him keep his trust well. Some
years after he learned that the young man had become a robber.
Saint John, though very old, pursued him among the mountain
fastnesses, and by his tenderness recovered him.
his old age, when unable to do more, he was carried into the
assembly of the Church at Ephesus, and his sole exhortation was,
"Little children, love one another."
date of his death cannot be fixed with anything like precision,
but it is certain that he lived to a very advanced age. He is
represented holding a chalice from which issues a dragon, as he
is supposed to have been given poison, which was, however,
innocuous. Also his symbol is an eagle.
"The Lives of the Saints" by the Rev. S. Baring-Gould,
M.A., published in 1914 in Edinburgh.