Saint John the Evangelist

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Roots of Saint John the Evangelist

Saint John the Evangelist was from Bethsaida, a poor village in Galilee. He was the son of Salome, daughter of Joseph, who was the betrothed of the Virgin Mary, and the fisherman Zebedee. Joseph had four sons from his first marriage: James, Yoses, Judah and Simon, and three daughters: Esther, Marta, and Salome. Jesus himself was also the uncle of St. John, as he was a kind of brother to Solome who was the mother of St. John.

Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee

While John and his brother Jacob were helping their father with fishing by the sea of Galilee, Jesus called on them to follow him and become fishermen who would catch men. They too immediately gave up everything to follow him and his heavenly teaching. John’s love for pureness and piety was higher than others, he was worthy of the title of “pure”, and his fervent love of Christ and the perfect life made him, among others, the “beloved apostle” making him known as ‘’Saint John the Beloved’’.

Time of Saint John the Evangelist with Jesus Christ


He was one of the three closest people to climb Mount Tabor with Jesus Christ (others were Peter, James, John). John saw the sacred shine in Christ’s body and heard the voice coming from the clouds: “This is my dear Son, I am pleased with him. Listen to him! ” (Matthew 17: 5). It was John whom Jesus wanted to sit on his right hand in His Kingdom, who was enthusiastic with his love (Matthew 20:21).

At the last supper, the Jesus made Saint John the Evangelist to sit beside Himself, who rested his head on his beloved Lord’s chest (John 13:23). When the Jews arrested Jesus, St. John followed him to the high priest’s palace (John 18:15). When the Jesus was crucified he alone remained at the foot of the cross with the Virgin Mary.

Crucified Jesus saw John standing, he said to Virgin Mary: “Woman, here is your son!” and to John: “Here is your mother!”. From that moment on, John took the Virgin Mary into his own home and later headed to Asia Minor ending their journey in Ephesus, Turkey (John 19:27).

Saint John the Evangelist by Jesus During the Crucifixion

At the time of the resurrection, Saint John the Beloved was the first to come to the tomb of Jesus. He was the first to bend down and see the linen cloths lying around (John 20: 5-6). He saw Christ after his resurrection, and when Christ breathed the Holy Spirit to them to preach the Bible to the world, he was there with the others (John 20:22). Saint John was also present at the Jesus’s ascension to heaven. Saint John the Beloved remained with Mother Mary after the other disciples were gone, accompanying the Virgin Mary and served her until her death.

Saint John the Evangelist Travels to Ephesus

When all disciples decided to travel around the pagan Roman Empire and spread the words of Christ, John decided to head for Asia Minor (Anatolia). Saint John and his companion Prochorus had a hard journey which took them fourty days to reach Asia Minor. They headed for Ephesus which was the capital of the Roman province of Asia. John performed several miracles in Anatolia.

See – Saint John the Evangelist in Asia Minor and Saint John the Evangelist in Ephesus

John’s Exile to Patmos by Emperor Domitian

Giant Bust of Emperor Domitian
in Ephesus Archeological Museum

Emperor Domitian heard of John’s fame and arranged a meeting with him. The Apostle’s belief claiming the Messiah is stronger than any earthly power angered Emperor Domitian greatly, and he exiled Saint John from Ephesus to Patmos Island in the Aegean Sea in hopes of lessening his influence (Revelation 1:9). During the journey, Prohorus and John showed God’s compassion by healing the dysentery of the soldiers accompanying them. As soon as the saint arrived at the island of Patmos, he saved Myron’s son, Apollonides, one of the notables of that region, from an evil spirit. This miracle happened with a word of John, who brought Myron’s household to faith and baptism in Christ; Shortly after, the governor of the island was also baptized. John slowly converted Patmos into a Christian land.

Book of Revelation Gets Written

John wrote the New Testament known as Revelation while he was exiled in Patmos Island. John said he saw Jesus in flesh, “his face was like the sun shining with all his might” in the likeness of a young man. To encourage John “who fell at his feet like a dead”, Jesus said:

”Do not be afraid! I am the first and the last. I am the alive. I was dead, but here I am alive for eternity. I have the key to death and the realm of the dead. Therefore, write down what you have seen, what is happening now, and what will happen next ”

Revelation 1: 1-19

Then in the following verses John was shown what would happen at the end of the world: the gathering of the power of sin, the coming of the Antichrist, his war against the believers, and his final struggle against Christ, and finally, Christ’s sending him, the devil, and his demons to hell for eternity. He has also been given the power to see the violent upheavals that will take place in the world ahead, the fiery end of all, and the final victory of man, the resurrection of all, and the final judgment.

Letters of Christ to Seven Churches of Apocalypse

Also in a moment of revelation Jesus told to Saint John to write the letters to Seven Churches of Asia or also known as the Seven Churches of the Revelation.

“Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”

Revelation 1:11

As we understand these letters were written by John’s hand but the one commanding that hand was Jesus Christ himself. Letters to Seven Churches hold a great importance since they were written by the Christ himself.

Return of Saint John to Ephesus and His Passing

After the demise of Emperor Domitian, many unjustly victims who were banished like Saint John were allowed to return to their homes. John the beloved was one of them. Saint John returned to Ephesus to spend the rest of his days in peace, bringing many to faith. He spent several years in Ephesus. It is commonly believed that Saint John the Evangelist ascended to heaven from where Saint John’s Basilica stands today.

Baptizing Pool at the Basilica of Saint John the Evangelist Nearby Ephesus

See – Saint John’s Basilica nearby Ephesus

Saint John the Evangelist Sights Tours in Turkey and in Ephesus

Saint John the Evangelist is one of the most important figures that I always mention in my tours. He is important not only for the Biblical tours in Turkey also to understand the workings and life of the first century Roman Empire.

Contact me to learn more about Saint John the Evangelist. You can book Seven Churches of Asia Minor tour guide service, Biblical Ephesus tour guide service and Biblical Sights in Turkey tour guide service with professional licensed Turkish Biblical tour guide. See you soon, Hasan Gülday.

Hasan Gülday

Hasan Gülday. Professional licensed tour guide working in Turkey.

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