John the Apostle

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Stain glass depiction of John the Apostle

John the Apostle (Saint John in Catholic and Orthodox traditions), also known as "John the Evangelist," was a disciple of Jesus along with his brother James. They were called the sons of Zebedee, which means the sons of thunder. Originally a disciple of John the Baptist along with Andrew, they turned to follow Jesus to become "fishers of men". John is called the "disciple whom Jesus loved" and is the author of the fourth gospel, The Gospel of John. John was with Jesus throughout his ministry, he stood faithfully at the Cross and raced to the tomb when he heard that Jesus had risen.

John was likely younger, and ostensibly less significant, than his brother the Apostle James, given that John was referenced in the Gospels merely as the "brother of James," and John may have been merely a teenager during the ministry of Jesus. For example, Mark 3:17 introduces John this way: "James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James," which strongly suggests that James was the older son of Zebedee, and John was James' younger brother.[1] See Mystery:Was John a Child?

St. John's later life was passed chiefly in Jerusalem and at Ephesus. He founded many churches in Asia Minor. Apart from the Gospel of John, John also wrote the biblical books of I John, II John, III John, and the book of Revelation while exiled on the island of Patmos. Tradition holds that John was the only one of the disciples who was not martyred. He died of old age in exile.

While Jesus was hanging on the cross, "there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own" (John 19:25-27).

Feastday: May 8, December 27.

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  1. Quoting ESV. See also Mark 5:37.