Sainted Joseph, ArchBishop of Soluneia / Thessalonika
Commemorated on January 26
Sainted Joseph, ArchBishop of Soluneia / Thessalonika, was brother of the Monk Theodore the Studite, and together with him pursued asceticism under the guidance of the Monk Platon (Comm. 5 April) at the Sakudion Monastery. Because of his ascetic life, the monk Joseph was unanimously chosen archbishop of the city of Soluneia. Together with his brother he came out against the unlawful marriage of the emperor Constantine (780-797), for which after torture he was condemned to confinement on a wild island. The emperor Michael Rangabes (811-813) freed Saint Joseph from imprisonment. Under the emperor Leo V the Armenian (813-820) the sainted hierarch again suffered together with his brother the monk Theodore for their veneration of holy icons. In prison they subjected him to torture, but he remained steadfast in his faith. The iconoclast emperor demanded him to sign the iconoclast confession of faith; for his refusal they threw him into another more fetid prison. Under the emperor Michael the Stammerer (820-829) Saint Joseph was set free, together with other monks that had suffered for their veneration of icons. He spent his final years at the Studite Monastery, where he died in 830. Sainted Joseph, ArchBishop of Soluneia, is reknown as a spiritual melodist. He compiled three odes and stikhera of the Lenten Triodion, a canon of repentance for the Sunday of Prodigal Son and other church-song. He wrote several sermons for feastdays, of which the best known is the Sermon on the Exaltation of the Venerable Cross of the Lord.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.