The Church

John and his brother, James, were the sons of Zebedee. Like his father and brother, John was a fisherman on lake Gennesaret until, with James,he was called by Jesus to follow him. John was the youngest of the apostles. He and James were called,  “ sons of thunder” by Jesus because of their volatile temperaments. John was the apostle  closest to Jesus.  

According to tradition John went to Rome during one of the early persecutions under Emperor Domitian and miraculously escaped martyrdom by emerging from a cauldron of boiling oil unscrathed. He was exiled to the island of Patmos  where he began his writing with the Book of Revelation. Later, after the death of Domitian, John returned to  Epheus where he wrote the fourth gospel and  three epistles. He died there in about 100, the last surviving apostle and the only apostle who did not suffer martyrdom.

Johns writings are unique among the evangelists. In many of the events recorded by him,he writes as a playwright would, setting the stage, describing the characters, and presenting the dialogue which took place. Three examples of his quality found in his gospel are Jn4:5 – 42(the woman at the well): Jn9: 1 – 41 (the man born blind); and Jn 11: 1 – 45 (Lazarus raised from the dead).

St. John the Evangelist is often called St. John the Divine in England and in the Eastern Church.