Saint John, sometimes known as St John the Evangelist or John of Patmos or of Ephesus, was one of Christ’s 12 original disciples or apostles. Jesus called him "the Son of Thunder".
When he was being crucified, Jesus entrusted John with the care of his mother The Virgin Mary. John wrote in his Gospel that He said to his mother "Woman here is your son" and to John "Here is your mother". From that time until her death, John and Mary were never separated.
John took Mary to Ephesus to escape persecution and also because the disciples reasoned that the best places to start spreading the word of Christ would be from the big cities of Asia Minor such as Ephesus, Smyrna and Laodicea. The house he provided for Mary, just a short distance from the city of Ephesus, can still be seen today.
While they were in Ephesus John established the first Christian community there and is known to have preached in both the Temple of Artemis and the Great Theatre. He was later joined in Ephesus by St Paul. Paul was beheaded outside the city walls of Rome in AD 64 and John re-assumed leadership of the Church in Asia Minor.
Despite his great age, after Mary’s death John toured Asia Minor with St Peter.
An attempt was made on his life when he was handed a poisoned drink but, according to legend, the poison turned into a snake and fled.
John was later exiled to the nearby island of Patmos where he wrote his Book of Revelation or Apocalypse.
He returned to Ephesus in AD 95 and wrote his Gospel.
When he died at the age of 100, the only one of the Apostles to die naturally of old age, he was, in accordance with his wishes, buried near the summit of Ayasuluk Hill. St John’s Basilica was later built over his grave and many thousands visit it every year.
St John’s words still live in his Gospel, the Apocalypse, and the Acts of the Apostles.