Commemorated on September 23
He was born to Muslim parents in Konitsa of Albania — the
ancient region of Epirus. His father was a prominent ruler among the Muslims and
a member of the Sufi order, sometimes called dervishes, a mystical Islamic sect.
John himself became a prominent Sufi and settled in Joannina. Though not a
Christian, he attended to his conscience and lived a sober and prayerful life.
Over time, he became increasingly attracted to the Christian faith and, in
time, asked for holy Baptism. No Christian in his region dared to baptize him,
knowing the reprisals that would follow. So John migrated to Ithaka, was
baptized, and settled there in a village called Xiromeron, where he married and
lived as a simple countryman. In 1813, John's father somehow learned where he
was, and that he had become a Christian. He sent two Sufis to bring him back and
restore him to the Muslim faith. Because of this, the Ottoman authorities on
Ithaka learned who he was and brought him before a judge. To each of the judge's
questions John would only reply 'I am a Christian and I am called John.'
Realizing that no amount of persuasion or coercion would move him, the
authorities determined to behead him. At his execution, since they would not
loose his hands so that he could make the sign of the Cross, John cried out
'Lord, Remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom!' With these words he
submitted himself to a Martyr's end. The Turks intended to leave his body for
the dogs, but pious Christians retrieved it and secretly gave it honorable