Commemorated on March 6
The Monk Job of
Anzersk, in the world John, was born at Moscow in the year 1635. He began
his pastoral service in one of the parish churches. He lived strictly, like a
monk, in fasting and the constant prayer of: "Have mercy on me, O Lord!
Spare me, O Lord!". His love for people was amazing, and he always
sought out the opportunity to do good for neighbour. With total commitment,
Father John helped all that were needy, he concerned himself about the wronged
and innocently suffering, he encouraged the spiritually weak, and the
profligate he gently and wisely brought to their senses, and he consoled and
gave guidance. His house was always open for the needy – feeding them, giving
them a fatherly chat, he would send them off cheered up, clothing them for the
road, such as he was able. If he himself unexpectedly offended anyone, he right
out regretted it and immediately asked forgiveness.
News about the good
pastor reached even tsar Peter I, and the saint was summoned for priestly
service to the imperial church, chosen confessor of the tsar and the imperial
house. Using his influence at court, the saint strove all the more to be of
help to the poor. Visiting captives in the prisons, he had a good influence on
criminals through the Word of God, while the innocently condemned he encouraged
in patience, and those in debtors prison he helped pay off the debt.
With the advance of
years Father John, devoting himself to contemplation on God, emerged from his
house only for church services, though not ceasing his benevolent work through
persons of authority.
In 1701, falsely
denounced before the tsar (allegedly, having learned about some evil intent,
"he as a priest would not reveal the source"), the saint was banished
to the Solovetsky monastery and tonsured into monasticism with the name Job.
After many a tribulation the starets-elder Job was freed of obediences and he
lived as an hermit in silence in his cell. Learning about the holy life of the
ascetic and having ascertained, that the starets had been slandered, tsar Peter
I wanted the priest to return to him, but the Monk Job refused. In 1702
for greater silence he transferred over to the Anzersk skete‑monastery of
the Holy Trinity, where soon after the death of the Anzersk organiser Eleazar,
he was appointed its head.
Calling to mind the
words of the Lord: "To whom much is given, much also is expected of
him" (Lk. 12: 48), the PriestMonk Job exerted much toil and effort in his
new responsibilities. As a wise teacher he taught everyone in humble obedience
to God and its aspects as the first virtue, without which no one can be saved;
he instructed also about constant work and concern for neighbour. He himself
visited the sick, washed and bandaged their wounds, and often he healed them of
their infirmities through his prayer. Amidst this he never slackened with
church services nor his cell rule of prayer.
In 1710 the Monk Job
accepted the great Angelic form [i.e. schema-monk] with the name Jesus [or
"Joshua" in idiomatic English useage, as with the Old Testament book
of "Joshua", which in Slavonic is the book of "Jesus, Son of Navin"].
The Mother of God Herself soon delineated his ultimate path to SchemaMonk
Jesus: She appeared to him in a dream together with the skete-monastery's first
head and patron – the Monk Eleazar of Anzersk (Comm. 13 January), and She said
that on an hill, henceforth called a second Golgotha, on Anzersk Island,
shouldst be built a church of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and a
skete-monastery established. Accepting this wondrous dream as being God's
blessing, the Starets Jesus in 1714 resettled to Mount Golgotha and with the
help of his disciples, the schema-monk Matfei and the monk Makarii, he founded
the Golgotho‑Crucifixion skete-monastery, where he continued with his
In 1715 a wooden
church in honour of the Crucifixion of the Lord was built.
The aged builder, in
example for the brethren, himself often chopped wood, carried water up the
hill, and in the bakery kneaded dough. In his cell the elder constantly busied
himself with handicrafts, and the money which he obtained from this he divided into
three parts: for church needs, for the needs of the brethren, and alms for the
poor. For himself he kept nothing, having only of his own several religious
For his God-pleasing
life the monk was granted an especial revelation. Through his fervent prayers,
the MostHoly Mother of God Herself appeared to him in his cell and showed the
place on the hill, where to dig the well and get water, sufficing for the needs
of the monastery. When the wondrous water-spring was uncovered, the monk
explained to the brethren: "Never grieve nor despair, but always trust in
God. Remember His promise: "A mother would sooner forget her child, than I
would you"". With the help of God the holy saint was able to foresee
the wicked intent of some strangers who once came to him, and by his prayer:
"Lord, send down sleep upon Thine servants, beset with vain pleasing of
the enemy", – he lulled to sleep the malevolent for five days and nights,
and by this he led them to a sincere repentance. Another time he lectured
robbers, commanding them to stand motionless under their heavy load of loot for
two days, although these did not plead for forgiveness.
God revealed to Saint
Jesus the time of his approaching end. Quite some while before his death the
saint notified the brethren, that he would die on a Sunday at the rising of the
sun. Having devoted his whole life to the service of God and neighbour, and having
prepared himself for the appointed hour, the humble ascetic repented
contritely, such that it took very little for him to please the Lord.
The monk reposed, as
he foretold, on a Sunday – on the Sunday of Orthodoxy – in the morning at the
rising of the sun, on 6 March 1720.
In the pre-death
moments of the saint, his cell shone with an extraordinary light, there was a
fragrance and the Psalter-song was heard: "For I shalt go forth into a
place of wondrous habitation, yea even the house of God, in a voice of
rejoicing and confession, of the din of celebration" (Ps. 41 : 4).
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.