Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Synodical Act of Canonisation of St.John the New Chozebite - the historical background and life of Orthodoxy's newest saint

In a singularly resplendent and moving Orthros and Divine Liturgy,the canonisation of St.John the New Chozebite was celebrated by His Beatitude Theophilos III,Patriarch of Jerusalem and All Palestine,as well as other hierarchs and lesser clergy both from the Patriarchate and the Romanian Orthodox Church,as well as other autocephalous Orthodox Churches,at the Monastery of St.George Chozeba,Palestine,before the sacred relics and icon of the new saint on 31 January,2016.*
The area of the Cherith brook and the Monastery of St.George Chozebite within it,the place where we hold this Joint Patriarchal Liturgy,have proven to be sites of revelation of God's miracles for the salvation of man since the days of the Old Testament,His Beatitude said in his Canonisation decree for St.John the New Chozebite.This is where,to escape the wrath of King Ahab,Prophet Elias sought refuge,called by God.His Beatitude went on to mention that Joachim and Anna prayed there and became ancestors of God as by divine intervention they were liberated from the shame of childlessness and bore a child,Maria the ever virgin,through whom the Only Begotten Son and Logos of God,Jesus Christ,became incarnate by the Holy Spirit.
During the first years of the monastic angelic community,shown to us by our Lord Jesus Christ,this area was inhabited by the five holy fathers of the Monastery of Chozeba:Promos,Elias,Yannaios,Aian and Zenon,who led a holy life to sanctification.After them,in the fifth century AD,St.John,Bishop of Caesarea,Palestine,an opponent of the heresy of Monophysitism,expanded this first skete into a large monastic centre.Then,men,churches and cells were lost to the Persian rage in 614 AD.From the ruins and the ashes of destruction,St.George the Chozebite,hailing from Cyprus,went on to restore the Monastery and turn it once more into a pole of attraction and a monastic centre for hundreds of monks.
In the mid-twentieth century,God blessed the Monastery par excellence through the presence of His chosen vessel,St.John the New Chozebite.Leaving behind his earthly homeland of Romania,relatives and friends,he arrived in the Holy Land as a pilgrim and received the monastic schema at the Monastery of St.Savvas the Sanctified,where he would live a monk's life for a decade.He then went on to lead an ascetic life at this monastery of Chozeba,hence why he has been called "the Chozebite."He also lived in the desert of the Jordan River,emulating the example of the Baptist and subjecting himself to asceticism,fasting,vigilance and prayer...Those who have known St.John attest to this day the holy life and the help he offered through prayer and spiritual guidance.Others attest that after his dormition they were cured of their illnesses by his mediation.
For these reasons,and for the strengthening of the faithful of the Mother of Churches and those pilgrims who have come to the Monastery of Chozeba from across the world,and to the glory of the Triadic God,the Holy and Sacred Synod has decided to sanctify St.John the New Chozebite and place him in the Canon of Saints of the Church of Jerusalem,his memory to be observed on the 28th of July of each year,the day of the translation of his holy relics.
In the Holy City of Jerusalem,22 December 2015
THEOPHILOS III,Patriarch of Jerusalem
KYRIAKOS,Metropolitan of Nazareth
Here are affixed the signatures of the rest of the Holy and Sacred Synod.