Wednesday, April 27, 2011

St. John el-Kabir

Christ is risen! Joyous feast! This Bright Wednesday we remember St. John el-Kabir, a devout Coptic Orthodox Christian who worked in the service of the Fatimid Caliphate in late tenth century Egypt. The Saint was known for his virtuous life, his charity, and his love for the Orthodox Faith. During his life the ruling caliph purged the upper echelons of the Egyptian government of non-Muslims, first beginning with his court and the armed forces before turning to the lower ministers and scribes (of whom St. John was one). Calling these lower notables before him, the caliph demanded that they embrace Islam.

St. John, hearing the caliph's demand, asked for a day to consider the matter. Returning home, he confessed his readiness to die a martyr and his desire to say farewell to his family and friends, exhorting them, "Not [to] ask for this vain glory [of government service], for you will loose the eternal glory of the Lord Christ."

The next day St. John returned to the court and confessed Christ before the caliph. Despite the caliph's arguments and threats the Saint remained steadfast in the Faith and was beaten and tortured, giving up his soul to his Savior in the year of mercy 1002. More on his life can be found here. May his blessing and prayers be with us all!

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