Featured Saint 23/1

St John the Short

Claim to fame: He was born about the year 339, around the Theban region in Upper Egypt in a poor but holy family. His desire for monastic life led him since his early years to remote places where he trained himself for this austere life style. It was not long before he was led by Divine inspiration to leave his town. He retired, when only eighteen years old, into the wilderness of Skete (also called the Natroun Valley) and set himself with his whole heart to put on the spirit of Christ.

He went to become a disciple of the old hermit, Aba Pemouah (who was also the teacher of Saint Pishoy – the perfect man). Aba Pemouah tried to deter him from adopting this harsh monastic life. By night an angel appeared to him asking him to accept the young John as a monk. After three full days of fasting and prayers, the master and the disciple witnessed an angel blessing the new cloths John was to put on.


Quote: Even if we are entirely despised in the eyes of men, let us rejoice that we are honoured in the sight of God.


Fun fact: Aba Pemouah, who was his director for his first lesson, bade him to plant in the ground a walking-stick, and water it every day till it should bring forth fruit. Saint John did so with great simplicity, though the river was about 12 miles away from the stick. When he had continued his task, without speaking one word about it, into the third year the stick, which had taken root, pushed forth leaves and buds and produced fruit. The old hermit, gathering the fruit, carried to the church, and giving it to some of the brethren, said, “Take, and eat the fruit of obedience”. Postumian, who was in Egypt in 402, assured that he was shown this tree which grew in the yard of the monastery and which he saw covered with shoots and green leaves.


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