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St. John the Almsgiver

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John the Almsgiver (John Eleemon) Cypriot by birth, St. John was a widower probably over 50 when he was c. 608/610 appointed or acclaimed Patriarch of Alexandria. He was a wealthy man whose children had also died, and he sought to serve his masters, the poor, through the direct giving of alms and the establishing of hospitals. He is said to have sat openly available in church on Wednesdays and Fridays so that the poor could speak with him. John opposed Monophysitism and employed Sophronius (later Patriarch of Jerusalem) and John Moschus in his battle against the followers of Severus of Antioch. When the Persians invaded Alexandria, John returned to Cyprus, where he died peacefully c. 616/620. Sophronius and Moschus authored vitae of their friend and mentor. The body of St. John was kept at Constantinople until the XV Century, when the sultan gave it to King Matthias of Hungary. The relics were translated to Bratislava in the XVII century.

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