Monday, October 21, 2019

How a Fifteen Year Old Child Martyr Shows Us the Right Path

By Fr. Elias Makos

The New Martyr John who was from Gouves in Monemvasia was a child, just fifteen years old, and his memory is celebrated on October 21st. He was made worthy to be martyred for his faith in God, and in a very tragic way.

His father was an Orthodox priest from Geraki who served with much reverence in the parish of the village of his wife called Gouves, and this is where John was born.

In the year 1770, when John was just a teenager and barely grown up, the hordes of the Albanian Hadji Osman invaded Gouves, and they slaughtered John's father before his very eyes. The young man held him up as being an excellent role model and he loved him, and this event made John grow in maturity even more.

John and his mother were captured and were brought to Larisa.

There John was sold to a Turk, who valued his many gifts and sought to adopt him in order to secure for him a better life, after, of course, he converted to Islam.

John didn't want to even hear about the possibility of becoming a Muslim. He declared he was an Orthodox Christian, who worshiped Jesus Christ as the one true God, just like his parents.

Soon the love of the Turk turned to hatred. And this hatred turned to rage.

This rage manifested itself through torture. After torturing John for not becoming a Muslim, he killed him on 21 October 1773 by driving a knife into his heart. A child of only fifteen showed us the path.

What path is this? It is the path of a genuine life.

It is not enough that we declare ourselves members of the Orthodox Church, and by this we think we have fulfilled our mission.

It is not enough to only have faith but there must also be consistency, and we find this in the person of a boy who did not yet have facial hair.

It is not conceivable to believe correctly and act wrongly. Our lives must be in harmony with our faith and should never be contrary to it.

It is like, for example, a coin with two sides. You cannot have one side without the other.

In order to not get caught up in our imperfections and the lack of a life which practices its faith, we must be people of both right faith and good works.

Otherwise as we get to know ourselves it will be revealed how our soul is suffering and our conscience is wounded.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.