The Life of Saint John the Theologian – Chapter 16

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

Chapter 16

Coenops the Magician

“There was on the island of Patmos a certain magician by the name Coenops, who had lived in the wilderness and for many years held converse with unclean spirits. On account of predictions uttered by him, most of the inhabitants of the island considered him divine. The priests of Apollo, who were enraged at John for having destroyed the temple of Apollo and because he had made all the people followers of Jesus Christ, went to Ceonops and complained to him of Christ’s apostle, beseeching him to take revenge for the dishonor shown their gods, and they added that even the name of Ceonops was forgotten by the inhabitants. They also told him that Myron and Apollonides had John released from prison after they had complained to governor Aquila. Ceonops, however, did not wish to go to that city himself, since he had lived for many years in that place without leaving. But the citizens all the more often came to him with their request. Then he promised to send a wicked spirit to the house of Myron to seize the soul of John and deliver it to eternal judgement. In the morning he sent to John one of the princes of the evil spirits, commanding him to bring John’s soul to him. Arriving at the house of Myron, the demon stood in the place where John was. But John, perceiving the demon, said unto him: ‘In the name of Christ, I command thee not to leave this place until thou tellest me for what cause thou hast come hither to me.’

“Bound by John’s word, the demon was held fast and said to John: ‘The priests of Apollo came to Ceonops and besought him to go to the city and bring death down upon thee, but he did not wish to go saying: “I have lived in this place for many years, not going forth. Why should I trouble myself now over a worthless paltry man? Go your way, and in the morning I shall send my spirit, and he shall take his soul and bring it to me, and I shall give it over to eternal judgement.”‘ John then said to the demon: ‘Hath he sent thee at any other time to seize a human soul and bring it to him?’ The demon answered: ‘Indeed, he hath sent me and I slew a man, but never did I bring him the soul.’ John then asked: ‘For what reason dost thou submit to Coenops?’ The demon replied: ‘All the power of Satan is with him and he hath made a covenant with our princes, and we with him – Coenops obeyeth us and we him.’ Then Johnsaid: ‘I, an apostle of Jesus Christ, do command thee, evil spirit! Neither enter into the dwellings of men, nor return to Coenops, but go forth from this island into torment!’ Straightway the demon left the island. Coenops seeing that the demon did not return, sent another, but that demon suffered the same fate. Then two more of the princes of the dark powers did he send; one he commanded to go in unto John, but the other to keep watch to bring him back word. The demon that went in unto John suffered the same fate as those that came earlier; but the demon that stood guard, beholding the misfortune of his fellow demon, fled back to Coenops and related to him what had happened. Coenops was filled with wrath and, taking with him a great multitude of demons, went to the city. The whole cty rejoiced, seeing Coenops, and, approaching him, all bowed down in homage. Finding John amongst the people, Coenops was greatly incensed and said unto the crowd: ‘O ye blind men who have wandered from the true path, hearken unto me! If John is righteous, and all that he saith is true, let him converse with me and perform such wonders as I do; and ye shall see which of us is greater: John or I. If he seemeth more powerful than I, then I also shall believe his words and deeds.’

Coenops said to a certain youth: ‘Young man, is thy father alive!’ He answered saying: ‘He is dead.’ And Coenops said: ‘How did he die?’ The youth replied: ‘He was a sailor, and when his ship capsized, he drowned in the sea.’ Coenops said to John: ‘Now show thy power, John, that we may believe thy words: produce this boy’s father alive.’ John answered: ‘Christ hath not sent me to bring forth the dead from the sea, but to teach deluded people.’ Ceonops said to all the people: ‘Now will you believe me, that John is a liar who deceiveth you. Seize him and hold him fast while I bring forth the boy’s father alive. ‘

“Thy laid hold of John, and then Ceonops extended his hands and struck the water with them. When a splash was heard on the sea, all were afrighted; and eonops became invisible. All cried out: ‘Great art thou O Ceonops!’ And all of a sudden Ceonops came forth from the dea holding, as it were, the boys father. All were astounded. Ceonops sad: ‘Is this thy father?’ ‘Yea sir,’ the youth replied. Then the people fell at Ceoonops’ feet and would have killed John. But Ceonops forbade them saying: ‘When ye see greater than this ye may lay him.’ Then summoning another man he said: ‘Didst thou not have a son?’ And he answered: ‘Ye, sir, I had, but someone slew him out of envy.Ceonops cried out aloud, calling by name both the murderer and the slain, and both stood before him. Ceonops said to John: ‘Art thou not astonished, O John?’ Saint John replied: ‘Nay, I am not amazed by this.’ Ceonops sad: ‘Thou shalt see more, and then shalt thou marvel; and thou shalt not die until until I frighten thee with signs.’ John answered Coenops: ‘Thy signs will son come to naught.’ Hearing such words, the people fell upon John and beat him until they thought him dead. Then Ceonops spoke unto the people saying: ‘Leave him without burial; let the birds rend him to pieces!’ Leaving that place, they rejoiced with Ceonops.

“At 2:00 AM, when a great stillness reigned over the city, I approached John and heard him say: ‘Prochorus, my child.’ Weeping I replied: ‘What is it sir?’ He said to me: ‘Hasten to Myron’s house, where all the brethren have gathered, and inform them that John liveth yet and hath suffered no ill, and he shall come there again.’ Therefore, I left for Myron’s house and found all the brethren there weeping over John. All were astonished at seeing me, and I said to them: ‘Brethren, grieve not, but rejoice in the Lord, for our teacher liveth! He hath sent me to inform you all that ye may be at peace.’ When they heard from me that John was alive, they would not hear anything else. All arose at once and left quickly to find John, whom they found standing in prayer, after which they all exclaimed ‘Amen’, and then embraced one another. While all were weeping for joy and glorifying God, John said to them: ‘Brethren, see that none of you are deceived by the signs of Ceonops, for all he createth are phantoms. therefore, stay away from him and remain in peace in Myron’s hose, and ye shall behold the grace of God.’ With this and many other things did he encourage the brethren, and dismissed them in peace.

“It was not long before the heathen learned that that John was teaching in the place where they stoned criminals. Ceonops summoned a demon with whose help he wrought necromancy, and coming to that place Ceonops sad to John: ‘I plan to wreak upon thee yet greater disgrace and shame, for which cause I have left thee alive; come thou to the sandy shore of the sea. There thou shalt behold my glory and be put to shame.’ He then turned to the crowd that was following him, and said: ‘Hold this man while I show even greater signs than before; then I will send him into eternal punishment.’ When they reached the shore, many men and women were there who perfumed the area with incense and prayed. The moment they beheld Ceonops, they they fell down and paid homage to him. Three demons accompanied him, those whom people considered men that Coenops had raised from the dead. Ceonops then said to those holding John: ‘Do not release him, neither let any depart from this place until I have returned in glory.’ And clapping his hands together with great might, Ceonops plunged into the sea and was lost from sight. ‘Great art thou, O Ceonops!’ shouted the crowd, ‘and there is none greater than thee!’ Then John spread his arms in the form of a Cross and commanded the demons, who were standing therein human form, not to depart. He then prayed: ‘O God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who by the figure of Thy Cross didst enable Thy servant Moses to put Amalek to flight: bring down in the abyss of the sea the deceiver Ceonops, that he may never see the sun again, or be numbered among the living.’ And thus it happened, for there was a great peal of thunder, and the sea suddenly was troubled and waves were stirred up. And Ceonops did not emerge from the sea, but remained in the depths, like wretched Pharaoh of old.

“To the demons, whom the crowd considered men raised from the dead, John said: ‘In the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified and rose again on the third day, depart from this island.’ And they straightway vanished. But those who thought they had back those who were dead, hat is, the father who drowned and the son who was slain, were vexed with John. One said unto him: ‘Sorcerer, restore to me my son!’ The other said: ‘Banished one, imposter, give me my father!’ Then all were saying: ‘If thou wert a good man, thou wouldst gather together the scattered and lost! But because thou art perverse, thou hast cast out them whom our benefactor Ceonops brought back. Therefore bring back those men who have vanished or thou wilt die this instant!’ Some of the enraged ones moved to slay John, but others restrained them, saying: ‘Let us not slay him until the great Ceonops returns. He will tell us what to do.

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