Life of Saint John the Theologian – Chapter 9

4 May 20

The Life and Struggles of the
Holy Apostle and Evangelist
John the Theologian

Chapter 9

Myron and Apollonides

“In the city of Flora there lived a wealthy man, named Myron, Who was the father-in-law of the governor Laurence. He took us to his home. He had a wife named Phoni, Three sons who were orators, and a married daughter, Chrisippida. The eldest son, Apollonides, What is possessed by a demonic spirit of divination. No sooner had John and I entered the house, that the demon, fearing he would be cast out by John, move the youth to flee far outside the city. Now Myron noticed that his son fled as we entered, and said his wife: ‘This misfortune would not have occurred if these men were good. Perhaps it is as many say, that they are magicians, and have cast a spell upon our home, causing our son to flee. Phoni answered: ‘If these man or as thy sayest, perhaps they will cast out our other sons also.’ But Maren said to her I will not put them out now, but first I will intimidate them and put them through much suffering, thereby enjoining them to bring our son back alive; then I will punish them severely.’ By the grace of the Holy Spirit, John was aware of the conversation between Myron and Phoni, and said to me: ‘Prochorus my child, know that Myron is contemplating evil against us. Therefore, let us endure the temptations, because in this manner we shall increase our reward, and the light of Christ will shine upon these people.’

“Conversing with one another, a letter arrived for Myron from Apollonides. Written inside, said: ‘To my lord and father Myron; from Apollonides, the rhetor: Know, my father, that John the sorcerer whom thou hast received into thy home performeth evil magic, and, contrary to thy godly hospitality, the wretch hath deprived thee of thy child. The unclean spirit he hath brought upon me doth greatly agitate me, to the point where it hath driven me out of the city. I met Coenops [revered by the inhabitants as a god for his magic]and told him of my misfortune. He told me that it would be impossible for me to return home and assume my inheritance, or to enjoy the love of my brothers, if I did not first surrender John the exile, magician, and teacher of the Christians, to the beasts, that he be prey for them. Hasten therefore, my father, and put John to death. Show thy love and care for thy child. I salute thee!’

As soon as Myron read this, he locked us up securely in his house. He went directly to the governor, his son-in-law, and put the letter in his hands. When the governor read it, he was greatly incensed and wrath against us, principally because the letter mentioned the name of Coenops. Were, the governor was convinced and ordered us cast to the wild beasts. He sent soldiers, who removed us from Myron’s house and placed us in prison. After three days, we were brought to the tribunal of the governor, who addressed John: “Though thou art guilty and deserving of condemnation, our great and glorious emperor hath exercised extreme philanthropy in thy case by vanishing thee here, for thy rehabilitation, that thou mightest exchange thy evil ways. However, I see now a most insidious in that thou hast been treacherous with thy benefactors. What craft didst thou employ to drive my wife’s brother from his home? Confess, lest I torture thee! Tell us: what is thy religion?’ John answered him: ‘I hail from Jerusalem, and am a servant of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was crucified for the sins of men, and rose on the third day. He hath sent me to preach the glad glorious tidings and the light of His knowledge everywhere.’ The governor asked: ‘Because of thy silly speech thou hast been sent into exile, and dost thou yet persist in thy delusion? Cease, vile one, thy senseless teachings! Learn of the immortal gods, and not deify a man Who was slain on account of the confusion He created. Therefore, prate not, but return my brother-in-law to his home immediately.’ John answered the governor: ‘For me, to cease preaching is not possible, for mine every hope dependeth upon it. As pertains to the rhetor Apollonides, while he continued saying: ‘And if he hath anything to say against me, let him so say.’

“The governor then consented, though John was to be returned to prison in chains. But John said to him: ‘I beseech thee, permit me first to write a letter to Apollonides, , and then bind me with chains.’ Assuming that John would release Apollonides from the spell through the letter, the governor gave his permission. John wrote the following: ‘John, the apostle of Christ, to the spirit of divination who dwelleth in Apollonides the rhetor: I command thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, to come out of the image of God and never again to enter into any other man. Depart from this island and remain ever in the wilderness.’ I received the letter from John and immediately set out ot the place where Apollonides was, a distance of about six miles. I found him, and as I approached, straightway the unclean spirit came out of him. Apollonides then said to me: Why hast thou troubled thyself to come hither, O disciple of thy beloved teacher?’ I replied: ‘I came in search of thee, O learned one, that thou mayest return healthy and well to thy parents and kinfolk.’ Since the demon left Apollonides, he was calm and joy filled his soul. He commanded that a mule be prepared for me and a horse for him, and we returned to Flora. As soon as we arrived in the city, Apollonides asked me, ‘Where is the teacher?’ I told him: ‘He is in prison, bound with chains by the governor on account of thy flight and absence.’ When he heard this, he hastened to follow me to the prison. When the jailer saw him, he rendered homage to him and opened the prison. Apollonides beheld John in chains, prostrate on the ground, and he fell down and reverenced him. He the arose, loosed John from his fetters, and led him out of his cell saying to the jailer: ‘If anyone would ask ought of thee say that Apollonides released this man.’ So we returned to his house, where his parents and brothers were weeping, grief-stricken over his absence. The moment they caught sight of him, they were exceedingly glad and embraced him with tears.

“His father, Myron, then asked him: ‘For what reason didst thou depart and sadden us?’ Apollonides then began to relate everything in detail. ‘Many years have passed since I fell into a deep sleep on my bed. A certain man, standing on the left side of my bed, shook me and woke me from my sleep – and I perceived that he was blacker than a burnt and decaying stump; he had eyes which glowed like lamps and I trembled in fear. He said unto me: “Open thy mouth!” I opened and he entered into my mouth and filled my stomach. From that hour good and evil became known to me, and all that took place in the house as well. But when the Apostle of Christ entered our house, he tha t sat within me said: “Flee this place Apollonides, that thou mayest not die in torment, for this man is a sorcerer and wishest to slay thee..” I straightway fled to another city. But when I wished to return, he would not permit me, saying: “If John doth not die, thou canst not live in thy house!” When Prochorus arrived at that city in which I was staying, I saw him, and the unclean spirit straightway left me in the same way he had before entered into my stomach , and I felt the lifting of a great weight; my mind hath returned to its sese, and all is well with me.’

On hearing this, all fell at John’s feet, John then said to him: ‘Child, doth thou wish to behold the power of the Crucified? Know that, by His power, we are not only able to censure unclean spirits, but to cast them out by letter.’ And opening his lips, he taught them to believe in Our Lord Jesus Christ. Myron came to believe, and his wife and children; and all were baptized. Then there was great joy in the house of Myron. When the governor, Laurance, learned from Apollonides how he had been delivered from the evil spirit, he marvelled and rendered great homage to John, and set him at liberty.

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