The Holy Martyr John Kulikos

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 bon-fire.
      Christians gathered 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.