Saint John the Russian – Antique Serigraph | Father Pefkis


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Saint John the Russian lived his earthly life with fasting and prayer. His profound faith in God has made miraculous events. The hagiography of Saint John the Russian has been crafted on carved wood by father Pefkis, former student of the Athonite Academy on Mount Athos.



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Hagiography with Saint John the Russian

St. John the Russian was born of devout parents in 1690 AD. in a village of so-called Small Russia. He served in the army at the time when Peter the Great reigned in Russia. He took part in the war against the Turks in 1711 AD. and was captured by the Tartars.

The Tartars sold him to an Ottoman Hipparchus officer who was descended from Asia Minor Procope. He took John with him to his village. Many of his captured compatriots were bombed by Ottoman threats and became Muslims.

Saint John, however, with wisdom, made patience in the slavery and mistreatment of his master and in the insults of the Ottomans, remaining faithful to Jesus Christ.

The Lord, seeing his faith and listening to his confession, softened the harsh heart of saint’s boss, and in the meantime he sympathized with John. This was contributed by the great humiliation and goodness of the saint. Hipparchus had instructed John to take care of the animals in the stable. John preferred to live and sleep there despite his boss’s prompting to stay in a room outside the stable.

Saint John the Russian lived with fasting, temperance and prayer. Approaching the end of his life, he grew heavily but still lived in the stable and put his body in deprivation.

Feeling the end, St. John asked to take Eucharist. As soon as Saint John the Russian received the body and blood of the Lord, he passed away. It was the year 1730 AD. The holy relic of the saint is kept in Neo Prokopi, Evia. The Church celebrates its memory on May 27th.

Characteristics of the icon

The icon has been crafted with high quality materials and the unique method of the loyal depiction of the forms that the Byzantine hagiography workshop of Father Pefkis follows. The details stand out with their vivid tone. The painted surface has been covered with pure beeswax in order to maintain intact with its bright colors.

The artwork has the signature of the Athonite academy student and well-known painter and priest father Pefkis.



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