John often carries appellations to his name: St. John the Evangelist or St. John the Divine (for his theological vision). His was the last gospel, written around the year 95, although it may have been as late as the first decade of the second century.
John was one of Jesus's twelve apostles. Born in Galilee, he was the brother of James the Greater, another apostle. John was a fisherman until, like James and Matthew and the others, he was called by Jesus to follow him.
One of the three apostles closest to Jesus (the others were James and Peter), John was, along with Peter, the first apostle at the tomb after the Resurrection. John was the only apostle at the Crucifixion, and it was there that Jesus placed his mother, Mary, into John's care.
The Gospels have been a continual source for inspiration for the saints. As St. Thérèse of Lisieux wrote, “Above all, it's the gospels that occupy my mind when I'm at prayer. My poor soul has so many needs, and yet this is the one thing needful. I'm always finding fresh lights there, hiddenand enthralling meanings.”
John is thought to have gone to Rome during the reign of the Emperor Domitian, and barely escaped being martyred there. In Ephesus (a sizable Greek city and prominent center of early Christianity, now part of modern Turkey), after the death of Domitian, he wrote the Fourth Gospel and three epistles. John is also the author of the book of Revelation, which opens with, “In the beginning was the Word. …”
John's gospel was directed at a Christian community around Ephesus. It contains only a bit in common with the synoptic Gospels. What stands out in John's words is how few miracles by Jesus are mentioned. Highlighted are Jesus's claims to divinity, but John also stresses Jesus's humanity, such as when he weeps over the death of his friend Lazarus.
John died in Ephesus, the only apostle who was not martyred. John's feast day is December 27. He is the patron saint of Asia Minor (the Near East).