Commemorated on September 15 and May 7
Bishop of Alaverdi, – was one of the Thirteen Holy Syrian (Cappadocian)
Fathers, the establishers of Georgian Monasticism (the accounts concerning them
is located under 7 May). He, as a "blossom of longed-for virginity",
from his early years chose the monastic vocation. Having arrived in Gruzia
(Georgia) with his teacher Saint John Zedazni (Comm. 7 May), Saint Joseph
settled in Kakhetia in the unpopulated and barren Alaverdian steppes. Here he
began his ascetic exploits. His spiritual strength was so great that even wild
beasts did not touch him, and the steppe deer came to him and nourished him
with their milk.
One of the Kakhetian
nobles during an hunt found himself on the Alaverdian steppes and was so
astonished, seeing Saint Joseph standing at prayer, that he remained with him.
Reports about this
personage becoming a monk and about the holy life of the Monk Joseph spread
throughout Kakhetia. People fervent for piety and the ascetic life began to
throng to the Alaverdian steppe to Saint Joseph. A monastery thus arose, and a
church in honour of the GreatMartyr George was built.
Chosen to lead the
monastery, Saint Joseph with fatherly love concerned himself about the brethren
of the monastery, and about the spiritual enlightenment of Kakhetia. Pagan
superstitions were still not eradicated, and Saint Joseph – with cross in
hand, often left the monastic solitude for preaching the Word of God.
Beholding the saintly
and immaculate life of the monk Joseph and his sincere desire to serve them,
the Kakhetian people willingly and joyfully accepted the Gospel teaching, and
abandoned their unbelief and pagan customs.
Saint Joseph composed
a catechism (lost in the XVI Century) by which he taught the flock entrusted to
him. Nearing the end of his life of lofty service, Saint Joseph secluded
himself in a tight cell for complete silence.
In the year 570
occurred his peaceful and blessed end. Sainted Joseph was buried in the church
of the holy GreatMartyr George in Alaverdi.
In the IX Century in
place of the former church was erected the great Alaverdi cathedral in which,
on the left side of the Altar at the north wall, – under a grave-cover rests
the body of Sainted Joseph.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.