The Holy New Martyr John Naukliros ("the Shipmaster/Skipper") (Greek: Ιωάννης ο Ναύκληρος ) was an Orthodox Christian during the seventeenth century who was martyred by Muslim Turks after he rejected their subjecting him to Islamic conversion rites while he was unconscious. His feast day is April 8.
The martyr John suffered a psychological sickness. One time, when he was found in an unconscious state, some Turks performed over him the rite of conversion to their religion. After he came to his senses he saw the seal of circumcision and a white turban on his head. He agonized over the evil that had befallen him and angrily tore the symbol of Islam from his head. He repented with tears before God, bitterly bewailing the indignity that had occurred, and continued to live as a Christian.
Once the Turks observed how he had recanted and again resumed his life as a Christian, they furiously rushed at John and savagely beat him, then threw him into prison as being an apostate. Neither lectures, beatings, nor threats bent his will, as John repeatedly asserted:
- "I believe with all my soul and heart in my Lord Jesus Christ and I confess him as true God Who will judge all the world, both the living and the dead. I despise that religion of yours, and am prepared to endure whatever tortures you subject me to for the love of Christ."
When they heard these words and perceived the staunchness of his opinion, they angrily seized John, buffeting and shoving him about on the way to the judge. Once there, they testified how John had become a Moslem and now had changed his mind. The judge gave the order and they beat him unmercifully. As they realized that even with a flogging he was not in the least dispirited, he passed down the final sentence - burning at the stake. Therefore, after suffering many torments they burned the martyr alive on the island of Kôs on April 8, 1669.
Thus he completed his life, receiving joyfully the martyr's crown and being made worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven.
A service to the new martyr John Naukliros was composed by the Athonite Monk Gerasimos Mikragiannanitis (1905-1991), the late contemporary hymnographer who has been honoured by the Ecumenical Patriarchate with the title of Hymnographer of the Great Church of Christ.
Cruising the seas in the fire of life,
Naukliros arrived at calm ports.
Πλεύσας θάλασσαν εν πυρί την του βίου,
Nαύκληρ’ έφθασας εις γαληνούς λιμένας.
- OCA saints pages version 2002
- Leonidas J. Papadopulos, Georgia Lizardos, et. al. (Transl.). April 8: New Martyr John the Nafkliros (The "Ship-Owner"). In: New Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke. St. Nectarios Press, 1985. pp.144-145.
- Ορθόδοξος Συναξαριστής :: Άγιος Ιωάννης ο Ναύκληρος