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St John the Russian was born approximately in 1690 in Ukraine.
Life in Slavery
The saint refused to adopt Islam and was humiliated and tormented for that by the Turks, who called him a kafir, which means "unbeliever". But as the time went by, the mockery had stopped due to saint's steadiness in faith, humility and diligence, and saint John became respected by his master and the household. He worked as a groom and lived in the stables. Other slaves mocked him for the zeal he was working with, but the pious man took no offence, trying to help them in their needs and comforting them when needed. For his sincere kind-heartedness, the saint had earned love and trust of the Agha who proposed him to live as a free man, in separate house. But he refused, saying: "My patron is Lord, and no one is above Him. He predestined me to live as a slave in a foreign land; seems, it must be so for my salvation".
In the daytime John worked and prayed, keeping strict fast, and when the night came, he used to go secretely to the cave-church of St. George, where he said the prayers of All-Night Vigil. Every Saturday he used to take the Holy Communion.
Soon the Agha became rich and one of the most influential people in Urgup. He decided, that it is due to the holy man, who lives in his home. Having become rich, the Agha decided to carry out the Hajj. During this travel, his wife was giving a dinner to the relatives and friends. When the master's favourite dish, pilau was being served, she told John, who was waiting upon the table: "How glad would your master be, if he could eat this pilau with us".
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