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St. John The Evangelist

John is thought to have been the youngest of the Apostles. He was the brother of the James the Greater and the son of Zebedee. Some scholars think that the Salome mentioned as one of the followers of Jesus was the mother of James and John. Jesus called John and James the “sons of thunder” because of their tendency to boldness (Mark 3:17). The two were fishermen with their father on the Lake of Galilee. They were likely followers of John the Baptist (John 1:35-42) when they first became followers of Christ; later, while they were in the boat fishing with Zebedee, Jesus called them to permanently become his disciples (Matthew 4: 18-22, Mark 1:16-20). John holds a prominent place in the Gospels. Along with Peter and James, he was witness to the raising of Jairus’s daughter (Mark 5:37), the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1), and the Agony in Gethsemani (Matthew 26: 37). In the Gospel of John, written either by John or one of his close disciples, John is always referred to as the “disciple Jesus loved.” He satxt to Jesus at the Last Supper and asked Him who would betray Him. He is likely the disciple who with Peter followed Jesus to the house of the high priest after His arrest. John stood at the foot of the cross with the Blessed Mother and Jesus entrusted her to his care. After the Resurrection, John ran with Peter to peer inside the empty tomb; seeing the wrapping which had covered the head of Jesus rolled up in a place by itself, John “saw and believed” (John 20: 2-10). John was one the “pillars of the Church” after Pentecost. He was with Peter, when Peter healed a lame man on the Temple’s steps (Acts 3: 1). The two Apostles were thrown into prison together (Acts 4: 3). Later, they visited new converts in Samaria together (Acts 8:14). John appears to have stayed in Jerusalem twelve years until the persecution of Herod Agrippa I caused the Apostles to scatter out and preach the Gospel in various parts of the Roman Empire. It is thought that John may have visited Ephesus at this point. Later, he came back to Jerusalem (around 51 A.D.) for the Apostolic Council mentioned by St. Paul in Galatians (2:9). St. John is thought to have written the three Epistles under his name and the Apocalypse (Revelations) as well as the Gospel of John. The author of the Apocalypse tells of being exiled on the Greek island of Patmos, because of his preaching of the gospel. An ancient source states that prior to this exile, John miraculously escaped unharmed after being thrown into boiling oil. Tradition has that John died on Patmos at an advanced age around 104 A.D.; he was the only one of the Apostles not to suffer martyrdom. Because of the soaring prose of his writings, John is depicted in Christian art as an eagle. His feast is December 27.

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