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The Octave (Saint John)

Apostle and Evangelist.

The Apostle John, whom Jesus loved, was a son of Zebedee, and the brother of that James the Apostle who was beheaded by Herod soon after our Lord suffered. He was the last of the Evangelists to write his Gospel, which he published at the request of the Bishops of Asia, against Cerinthus and other hereticks, and particularly against the then spreading doctrine of the Ebionites, who asserted that Christ had had no existence before Mary. It was therefore needful for the Evangelist to declare his eternal and divine generation.

In the fourteenth year of Domitian, whilst this same was stirring up the second persecution after that of Nero, John was exiled to the Island of Patmos where he wrote his Apocalypse, whereon commentaries have been composed by Justin Martyr and Irenaeus. When Domitian was killed, the Senate annulled all his act: on account of their excessive severity, and the Apostle returned to Ephesus during the reign of Nerva. There he remained until the time of Trajan, and founded and governed all the churches of Asia. There also in an extreme old age, he died, in the sixty-eighth year after the Lord's passion, and was buried near the same city of Ephesus.

The blessed Evangelist John lived at Ephesus down to such an extreme old age that he was with difficulty supported in the arms of his disciples and so was carried to the church. And being unable to articulate many words, he was wont to utter each time to the congregation the simple words: Little children, love one another. At last his disciples and brethren were weary of hearing these words so often, and asked him: Master, wherefore ever sayest thou this only? Whereto he gave an answer worthy of John: It is the commandment of the Lord, and if this only be done, it is enough.

From the Book on Ecclesiastical Writers and the Commentary on the Epistle to Galatians by Saint Jerome the Priest


MERCIFUL Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy bright beams of light upon thy Church: that it being enlightened by the doctrine of thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John may so walk in the light of thy truth, that it may at length attain to the light of everlasting life. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth ever one God, world without end. Amen.

The Anglican Breviary, Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation, Inc., New York, 1955, pages 294-295

Additional Information:

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