Commemorated on April 18
The Holy Martyr
John Kulikos was born in the Greek district of Epirus, in the city of
Ianina. His parents were pious, but he was orphaned at an early age, and he set
off to Constantinople. Of the means left him by his parents, he built a small
stall in the city bazaar and was occupied with trade.
He loved to work, he
honourably filled all his orders, and his business was successful. But the soul
of the saint yearned not for earthly blessing, but for the Kingdom of Heaven.
Saint John lived
during difficult times. Constantinople was under the dominion of the Turks, and
Christians were subjected to oppressions. Many a Christian tradesman and
merchant went over to Mahometanism. Saint John reproached them for their
betrayal of Christ and he sustained also the unwavering in their faith. The
apostates were thus filled with hatred towards Saint John and they desired his
ruin. The saint knew this, but was not afraid: in his soul grew the yearning to
suffer for the faith in Christ.
On Great Friday he
went to his spiritual father and asked blessing for the deed of martyrdom. The
priest counselled the youth to examine himself and to prepare himself for the
deed by fasting and prayer, so that at the time of torture he would not abjure
Christ. Saint John prayed ardently to the Lord to strengthen his powers. At
night on Great Saturday he saw himself in a dream, standing in a fiery furnace
and singing praise to the Lord. Interpreting this vision as an indication to go
to martyrdom, Saint John received the Holy Mysteries and asked of the priest
blessing to enter into the act of martyrdom.
When Saint John
arrived at the market, vexed tradesmen there began to reproach him that he had
promised to renounced Christ, but that he was not fulfilling his given word. In
answer to this the martyr in earshot of all declared, that he was a Christian and
had never renounced nor would he ever renounce Christ. Then the envious had him
arrested. The judge tried to persuade Saint John to go over to Mahometanism,
since he esteemed him as a skilled and respected master-craftsman. But the
martyr steadfastly confessed himself a Christian. Over the course of several
days they wearied him with hunger and thirst, and beat him without mercy. They
sentenced the martyr to burning in a bon-fire. Saint John met his sentence with
joy. When they led him to the blazing bon-fire, he went boldly into the very
midst of the flames. The torturers, seeing that Saint John was readied to be
burnt in the bon-fire, pulled him out and beheaded him with the sword
(+ 1526). They then threw the head and body of the martyr into the
up the bones of the martyr which remained from the fire, and reverently they
transferred them to the cathedral church.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.