On Sunday, the 18th/31st of January 2016, the ceremony of the Canonization of Venerable John the New Chozebite by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem took place at the Monastery of Saints George and John the Chozebites.
During the Divine Liturgy, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem read the Canonization decree, as follows:
Synodal Act of Canonization of Saint John the New Chozebite
The area of the Cherith brook and the Monastery of Saint George the Chozebite within it, the place where we hold today 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. This is where, to escape the wrath of King Ahab, the Prophet Elias sought refuge, called by God: “Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there” (1 Kings 17:2-4). In the same area, Joshua asked God to make the sun “stand still over Gibeon and the moon over the Valley of Aijalon, so the sun stood still and the moon stopped” (Joshua 10:122-13).
In the early years of the New Testament, the holy and righteous 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, Mary 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 venerable 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, Saint John, Bishop of Caesarea in 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, Saint 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 especially blessed the Monastery through the presence of His chosen vessel, Saint 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 Saint 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. Alone with God, in the nearby yet secluded Skete of Saint Anna, he never ceased visiting this sacred Monastery of his repentance on Sundays and feasts. This immigrant who was embraced by our Church in Zion later also bestowed on him the office of the priesthood, in order to serve the needs of visitors to Monastery on pilgrimage, through the Mysteries of Confession and the Divine Eucharist, giving to them the immaculate body and honorable blood of our Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and eternal life.
Those who have known Venerable John attest to this day regarding his venerable 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 intercessions. Through these signs our God showed him to be wondrous among His saints, confirming these things through his incorrupt and revered relic, granting him every good and perfect gift from above coming down by Him the Father of Lights.
For these reasons, and for the strengthening of the faithful of the Mother of Churches in Zion and those pilgrims who have come to the Monastery of Chozeba from across the world, and to the glory of our Triune God, the Holy and Sacred Synod has decided to sanctify Saint John the New Chozebite and place him in the List 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
ISYCHIOS Metropolitan of Kapitolias, Patriarchal Commissioner
CHRISTODOULOS Metropolitan of Eleutheroupolis, Elder Dragoman
BENEDICT Metropolitan of Philadelphia
DOROTHEOS Archbishop of Avila
ARISTARCHOS Archbishop of Constantina, Elder Secretary-General
METHODIOS Archbishop of Tabor
THEOPHYLAKTOS Archbishop of Jordan
DEMETRIOS Archbishop of Ledda, Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod
PHILOUMENOS Archbishop of Pella
Archimandrite Nektarios, Elder Kamarasis
From the Secretariat-General
For more photos and videos of the Canonization, see here.