John's penchant for charity apparently went back to a childhood vision. As a boy, he met a beautiful woman with olive garlands on her head. She told him her name was Compassion, and said she was the eldest daughter of the Great King. I guess that sort of vision would stay with you.
|John, giving alms to the busted merchant|
John's humor about his charity was also admirable. He was given an expensive bed covering. He sold it and used the money to buy freedom for slaves. The donor saw the covering in the market, bought it again, and once again gave it to Bishop John. Once again, John sold it and gave the money to the needy. The man repurchased it... John's comment about the cycle: "We'll see who tires of it first."
He also had a stoic streak that might strike some as morbid. [Not me, though. I think it is just a good reminder.] He ordered a grave to be partially made for himself. Then he instructed one of his servants to announce at all state events: "My Lord, your tomb is unfinished; pray give orders for its completion, for you know not the hour when death may seize you." It was just as well that he never finished that grave, since he booted out of Egypt prior to the Sassanid takeover and died in exile.
His remains -- relics -- are now in a chapel that bears his name in Brataslava, Slovakia.