Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church Of Epirus
Troparion & Kontakion
Troparion (Tone 3)
Your holy martyr John, O Lord, / through his sufferings has received an incorruptible crown from You, our God. / For having Your strength he laid low his adversaries / and shattered the powerless boldness of demons. / Through his intercessions, save our souls.
Kontakion (Tone 2)
You appeared as a bright star announcing Christ with your radiance, / which is repulsive to this world, O martyr John; / by extinguishing the allure of false gods / you enlighten the faithful, / always interceding for us all.
St. John Kulikos of Epirus
Commemorated on April 18
The holy martyr John Kulikos was born in the Greek district of Epirus, in the city of Ioannina. His parents were pious, but he was orphaned at an early age, and he went to Constantinople. With the means left him by his parents, he built a small stall in the city bazaar and was occupied with trade.
He loved to work, honorably filled all his orders, and his business became successful. However, his soul did not yearn for earthly blessings, but for the Kingdom of Heaven.
Saint John lived during difficult times. Constantinople was under the dominion of the Turks, and Christians were subjected to oppressions. Many Christian tradesmen and merchants converted to Islam. Saint John reproached them for their betrayal of Christ. He also sustained the unwavering in their faith. The apostates were filled with hatred for Saint John while desiring his ruin. The saint knew this, but was not afraid. He was willing to suffer for Christ.
On Great and Holy Friday, he went to his spiritual Father and asked his blessing to seek martyrdom. The priest counseled the youth to examine himself and to prepare himself by fasting and prayer, so that at the time of torture he would not deny Christ. Saint John prayed ardently to the Lord to strengthen him. At night on Great and Holy Saturday he saw himself in a dream, standing in a fiery furnace and singing praises to the Lord. Interpreting this vision as an indication to go to martyrdom, Saint John received the Holy Mysteries and asked the priest’s blessing.
When Saint John arrived at the market, the vexed tradesmen began to reproach him that he had promised to renounce Christ, but that he was not fulfilling his word. In reply, the martyr declared that he was a Christian and had never renounced, nor would he ever renounce Christ.
Then the envious merchants had him arrested. The judge tried to persuade Saint John to accept Islam, for he respected him as a skilled master craftsman. However, the martyr steadfastly confessed himself a Christian. For several days, they wearied him with hunger and thirst, and beat him without mercy. They sentenced the martyr to be burned alive.
In 1526 A.D., Saint John met his sentence with joy. When they led him to the blazing fire, he went boldly into the midst of the flames. The torturers, seeing that Saint John was prepared to die in the fire, pulled him out and beheaded him with the sword. They then threw the martyr’s head and body into the fire.
Christians gathered up the bones of the martyr, which remained from the fire, and reverently brought them to the cathedral church.