PATRIARCHAL AND SYNODIC PRAXIS OF THE PATRIACHATE OF JERUSALEM IN CLASSIFYING TO THE HAGIOLOGION OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH, THE NEW HIEROMARTYR SAINT PHILOUMENOS, MEMBER OF THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE AND SUPERIOR OF THE SHRINE AT JACOB'S WELL.
50th Session / September 11, 2009
The Holy Church of Christ in Jerusalem, founded on the divine-flowing blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, poured on Golgotha for the remission of sins and for the salvation of human kind, bore martyrs in its bosom, whose blood was shed as an offering and reciprocation of gratitude and love to Christ, who was willingly Crucified for them, and Resurrected from the dead.
First of these martyrs is the ‘proto martyr' and archdeacon Stephanos who, like his Saviour, had his life taken while praying for those who stoned him (Acts 7:60). Following him was Saint Jacob, the son of Zevedeos and brother of Evangelist Ioannis, whom "Herod the King killed with a sword" (Act. 12:1-2). After him was Saint Jacob, the Lord's brother and first Archbishop of the Church of Jerusalem, who was thrown from the ledge of the Temple, by the deniers of the Lord, and died as a martyr, praying for his persecutors. In his footsteps, his relative and heir to the Throne, Bishop of Jerusalem Simeon, in the days of Emperor Traianos, was tortured and crucified in Pella of Jordan, at the age of a hundred and twenty.
The apostolic period of the Church of Jerusalem is dignified by these four glorious spiritual jewels, but not less than the post-apostolic period of the Church, which is dignified by the beheaded Jerusalemite martyr Prokopios, by the Gaza martyrs Timotheos, Agapios and Thekla, by the beheaded martyr Pamfilos the founder of the Library of Caesarea, by the beheaded Promos and Elias in Askalon, Paul of Imneia, and by others true and admirable who were mercilessly tortured and died in martyrdom under the ruthless persecution of Diocletianos, in almost every city in the Holy Land of which " time would fail us to tell"(Heb. 11:32).
In this august chorus of martyrs of the first centuries in the life of the Church, who refused to denounce Christ, are also those who were persecuted during the following centuries in the name of Christ, for the truth and integrity of our Orthodox faith, such as the Patriarch of Jerusalem Zacharias who was abducted to Persia with the Holy Cross, and the Fathers of Saint Sabas monastery, who were slaughtered by the Persians.
In this holy charter are included the monks of the Order of Spoudeai who strove and gave their souls in defending the Holy Shrines, the tangible testimonies and proof of the earthly presence of our Saviour Jesus Christ. These included the notable by virtue and holiness, Patriarch of Jerusalem Leondios and the ever memorable member of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre Archimandrite Philoumenos, Superior of the Holy Monastery of Jacob's Well, who lived in our times.
He originated from Orounta, of the saint-giving island of Cyprus and arrived in Jerusalem at a young age, having from his devout parents an education and admonition of the Lord. He was also a novice monk at the Holy Monastery of Stavrovouni. He studied at the Patriarchal School, where he was distinguished and praised for his diligence and good ethos. Graduating from the school, he was ordained a schema monk and was integrated into the Order of Spoudeai, the guardians of the Holy and Vivifying Sepulchre of our Lord Jesus Christ. As a monk, he showed righteous imitation of the Saints and of the God-bearing Fathers of the Church. He was punctual in the everyday reading of the prayers and Church services, demonstrated temperance, fasting and frugality. When called upon to the axiom of priesthood by the Mother of Churches and he accepting, he proved to be a true steward of the mysteries of Christ to his commissioning to various holy shrines and in serving the flock as a Superior of: the Holy Monastery of the Saint Apostles of Tiberias, Superior of the Holy Monastery of Archangel Michael in Jaffa, Superior of the Holy Monastery of the Archangels in Jerusalem, director of the dormitory of the Patriarchal School, Superior of the Holy Convent of Saint Theodosios the superior of the cenobic life, Superior of the Monastery of the Prophet Elias and responsible for rite of the church ceremonies at the Monastic Church of the Brotherhood of Saints Constantine and Helen, Superior of the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ramallah, and lastly as Superior of the Holy Monastery of Jacob's Well in Nablus of Samaria.
He served at this "Jacob's well" (John 4:6) "In spirit and truth" (John 4:23), fulfilling the verses of the Lord's spoken commandment, "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth," (John 4:24) and although often threatened by a heterodox fanatic visitor to abandon the shrine, he never did.
He was at the Chapel of Jacob's Well performing the regular Vesper service, on the afternoon of 16th/29th November of 1979, when due to the hatred of the devil who hates good, he was deviously and violently attacked by a vile man who, with an axe, opened a deep cut across his forehead, cut off the fingers of his right hand and upon escaping threw a grenade which ended the Father's life.
The fragments of the grenade and drops of his blood left traces and stigmata that are still visible to this day on the walls of the Chapel, as an eternal memory of his martyrdom, crowning his sacred life. His life and his death is a confession of faith, a confession of blood, at the place where the Lord revealed to the Samaritan woman who said to Him "I know that Messiah is coming, He who is called Christ" (John 4:25) by telling her "I who speak to you am he" (John 4:26). Through his martyrdom he became a co-martyr with Saint Fotini the Samaritan, her sons and sisters. The central church is named in honor of her while the southern chapel within the church is dedicated and named after Saint Philoumenos, wherein his sacred relics are present and are a source of strength and healing to the faithful devotees who honor him. He is also a co-martyr with Saint Ioustinos the Philosopher and Martyr, who originates from Nablus, and is honoured in the northern chapel within the church.
Since Saint Philoumenos' death and martyrdom and from signs of God testified by people, he was already established as a martyred saint in the conscience of many honorable members of the church. Today, after the completion of thirty years since the day of his martyrdom, based on the Synodic decision of Our Holy and Sacred Synod, we officially place in the Synaxarion, the celebration of this new hieromartyr on this day of his martyrdom, 16th/29th of November each year, to the benefit of the souls and to the glory of Our Holy Triune God.
Today we announce this sacred ecclesiastical event to the congregation of the Church of Zion, and the sister Orthodox Churches so that from now onwards, they eternally celebrate the memory of the new hieromartyr Philoumenos with the intercessions of whom we may find grace and mercy so that with one voice and one heart we offer glory and praise to the glorified Holy Triune, our God who is glorified in His Saints.
Holy City of Jerusalem, September 11th 2009.
THEOPHILOS III Patriarch of Jerusalem
Metropolitan of Caesarea Vasilios
Metropolitan of Ptolemais Palladios
Metropolitan of Capitolias Issychios
Metropolitan of Eleftheroupolis Christodoulos, Elder Dragouman
Metropolitan of Philadelphia Venedictos
Metropolitan of Avila Dorotheos
Archbishop of Mt. Tabor Methodios
Archimandrite Kelladion, Elder Kamarasis
Archimandrite Demetrios, Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod
Archbishop of Constantina Aristarchos, Elder Chief Secretary