John of Russia Day in Greece (27/05)

There is such a great holy Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches — John of Russia ( Ioannis Rossos, as all Greeks from small to great ) call him reverently, the only, perhaps, ascetic, received in the title name of the whole nation: « Russian » with a capital letter.

A simple soldier of the army of Peter the Great, who was captured in Turkish, spent 13 years there and, despite long tortures, refused to accept Islam. He accepted martyrdom for Christ in 1730. His memory and his miraculous relics located on the island of Eubeya honor all of Ellad, dozens, even hundreds of books have been published about him, thousands and thousands of pilgrims flock to him, and on Eubey, having remade the famous saying, they say: « All roads lead to St. John the Russian ».

Ivan Russky began to be honored on Eubey since the 20s of the 20th century, when the Eurasian Greeks moved to Greece, fleeing the consequences of a destructive war, and brought their shrines with them. So John ( Ivan ) Russian has become one of the most revered saints of Greece. Every year on May 27, tens of thousands of people come here to bow to the saint.

Ivan Russky was born in Ukraine ( then she was part of the single Russian state ) in 1690, in 1711 he was recruited into soldiers. After many battles in which he showed courage and courage, Ivan was captured by the Turks under Azov and was transported to Constantinople. From Tsarigrad he was taken to the town of Prokopio near Caesarea Kappodokiskaya in Asia Minor, and he was subordinate to a certain Aga who kept the Yanichar camp.

Captured from Ivan, they demanded to renounce the Orthodox faith in which he was raised. Ivan, although he did not refuse to serve Agi, was firm in his faith and did not agree to accept Islam. The Turkish nobleman was not used to being refused, and ordered Ivan to be subjected to all kinds of torture. The unfortunate was beaten with a thick wooden stick, kicked, strangled, burned with a hot iron. He suffered beatings and humiliation, but he did not leave his convictions, which caused involuntary respect among those who tortured him.

— Answer why you persist, why don't you want to go to our faith? — the pasha asked menacingly.

— I believe in my God Jesus Christ, — answered the Russian soldier. — I have no reason for torture and torment, from them my faith becomes even stronger!

Pasha was amazed at such impudence and ordered the disobedient torture to continue. For many years, the captive lived in a stable with cattle and endured hunger and torture. On May 27, 1730, at the age of about forty, Ivan Russky died.

Local Christians begged Ivan's body from the Turks and buried him. According to the custom there, three years later they opened the grave to restart the bones, and were struck: the body of the deceased was not touched by decay.

The Pasha who found out about this was even more angry. Once, at the time of the internal crisis in the Ottoman Empire, the Pasha sent by the Sultan decided to punish the rebellious Christians and ordered the relics of Ivan the Russian to burn. On his orders, the Janissaries threw the remains of the soldier into the fire. When the Turks left, the locals rushed to rake smoldering coals. But the body of the righteous was not damaged and only blackened by fire, and the glory of the saint was further strengthened.