Today’s commemorated saint is Saint John the Silent. He was born in 454 AD in Nicoplis, Armenia. His parents died when he was 18 and he built a monastery where he stayed with 10 young monks where they taught him hard work and devotion. John has built a reputation for leadership which led the archbishop of Sebastian to consecrate him bishop of Colonia in Armenia when he was 28. He didn’t really want the role nevertheless he was the bishop for nine years before returning to a life of seclusion. One night when John was praying, he saw a bright cross form in the air and heard a voice say to him, “If thou desires to be saved, follow this light”. The light led him to the monastery of St. Sabas which held 150 monks and after many tests, St. Sabas let John have a separate hermitage for uninterrupted contemplation. He was only 38 at the time and after three years he was made the steward of the monastery. John had never told anyone he was a bishop for four years, St. Sabas thought John was worthy to become a priest and presented him to the patriarch Elias of Jerusalem. John told the patriarch that he was a bishop which the patriarch told St. Sabas. John wanted to leave the monastery after that but St. Sabas convinced him to stay and promising to keep his secret and let him stay in his cell for four years speaking to no one. In 503 AD some disciples forced St. Sabas to leave the monastery which led John to move to a nearby wilderness were he spent six years being mute and only conversing with God and eating roots and herbs. When St. Sabas returned, he tried to convince John to come back but after spending so much time in silence, he was very reluctant. He returned with St. Sabas and stayed in his cell for forty years and didn’t turn anyone away who wanted his teachings. Cyril of Scythopolis wrote about John’s life and John recommend he join Laura of St. Euthymius but Cyril didn’t listen which led him to fall ill. John appeared to him in a dream and scolded him for not listening to him and said that he would find his salvation and get well if he went there. Cyril went the next day as he was told and got better instantly. John died in 558 AD at the age of 104 and had spent 76 years in solitude and was only interrupted nine years when he was the bishop.
Father, you have called St. John to the solitary life in which he prayed for others. Grant us signs we seek for discerning Your will and purify our hearts, dear Lord, that we may serve You more perfectly. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.