| Agent of Byzantium |
POD: c. AD 583
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
|Occupation:||Prior of a monastery|
Father John was the prior of the monastery in Ir-Ruhaiyeh when it was threatened by Persian invasion. At the time, he was in his mid-30s, with a round, smiling face and a beard. Father Abbot Isaac confided his concerns over the advancing Persians to John and convinced him that Ir-Ruhaiyeh should be abandoned for Constantinople.
As befit his position, John made the plans and supervised the preparations for the journey. One day, while having supper in the refectory, he heard a monk named Mouamet sing a most marvellous hymn. The monk had a reputation for producing sublime hymns and, after he had finished singing, John charged him with writing the song out three times for safekeeping. The monk obediently did so.
On the day of departure, Isaac and John stood outside the abbey's gates and John checked off each monk as he exited for what would likely be the last time. Of almost 300 monks, one was missing: Mouamet. John went to find him and tracked him down to the stables by his singing. The previous hymn had gloriously praised God. This was its complement, telling of the pangs of hell so graphically that ice walked John's back.
John put his hand on Mouamet's shoulder and he broke off singing, jumping in surprise. John told him gently that it was time to go. Mouamet stared blankly for a moment then came to himself and agreed. He did think he would be able to recover the thread of the song when he had the chance. They both left the monastery and started the long journey.