January 9, 2011

Saint Joseph the New of Cappadocia

St. Joseph the New of Cappadocia (Feast Day - Sunday After Theophany)

St. Joseph was born between 1820 and 1830. He hailed from Kermir, in Cappadocia (near Caesarea), and his name was Joseph Kioseïrkoglou.

Tall, slender, pale, very handsome, and of Angelic countenance, he would wear a long garment like a rason and a small vest when censing.

The holy Joseph was a peddler and a pilgrim—a great man of prayer who sowed the word of God wherever he went.

On one of his journeys, he suddenly reposed around the age of thirty. After his burial, the Turks set a guard so that the Christians would not steal his Relics, since a light frequently appeared above his grave.

The relatives of the blessed Joseph instinctively knew that he was a Saint. For this reason, some time later, they decided to take possession of the Holy Relics of the sanctified peddler, in order to honor them and keep them as a blessing. The removal and transferal of these Relics took place in a miraculous way one night: They carefully dug as the guard slept, whereupon, with a light snap, the sacred bones all joined together of their own accord, so that the Saint’s relatives were easily able to gather them up with two shovels and depart.

Though pursued by the guard, who had awoken and understood what had happened, the Grace of the Saint helped them to escape unharmed with the invaluable treasure.

Having returned to Caesarea, his hungry and beleaguered relatives went to sleep somewhere on the road, saying:

“If you are a Saint, show us a sign!”

Suddenly, his five relatives were awakened by a slap on their faces... and there before them lay five fresh loaves of bread!

The family of St. Joseph divided his Holy Relics among themselves, honoring them and glorifying God for this great blessing.

Apparitions and miracles

One of the Saint’s relatives, who kept this priceless treasure at her house, frequently witnessed miraculous events.

When she would return home after working outdoors, she would try to open the door to enter, but was not, strangely enough, able to do so. She would then hear the sound of a censer inside, just like at the Divine Liturgy! Finally, when she would enter, the room where she kept the Holy Relics was filled with a Divine fragrance!

The Saint would distinctly appear both to this relative and to other devout visitors. Once, as soon as this relative entered her house, she found herself before a young man, who said to her:

“Do not be afraid! I am the Patron Saint of your house! I have come to tell you that such and such a neighbor vowed to bring me a container of oil, but did not bring it.”

And the youth immediately vanished.

She told her neighbor what had taken place, and the latter, staggered, confessed that she had indeed made such a vow.

Apart from his apparitions, the Saint also healed the infirmities of many faithful who came to the house and venerated his Holy Relics with faith.

After the death of this relative, the precious treasure was inherited by her daughter, whose sister-in-law once removed one of the Saint’s fingers. Her hands immediately broke out in pimples, but the doctors were unable to do anything to help her. The sacrilegious sufferer then saw the Saint in a dream telling her to return his finger. As soon as she had returned it, she became completely well.

It is also noteworthy that, during a great epidemic that struck Cappadocia, many people, including Turks, were healed using water blessed by the Saint’s sacred Relics.

Constantinople to Athens

After the catastrophe in Asia Minor, in 1922, St. Joseph’s relative moved to Constantinople, where she continued to preserve and honor the priceless treasure, which her pious daughter inherited after her death.

Once, her house’s Iconostasis caught fire and all of the Icons were burned. Though the fire advanced menacingly, as soon as it reached the wooden box containing the sacred Relics, it suddenly went out on its own!

Another time, when burglars broke into the house, turning everything upside down to find valuable objects, strangely enough, they did not see the gold jewelry laid out on the table! This was attributed to the protection of St. Joseph.

This protection was vividly evident again in 1978, when the relative decided to leave Constantinople and move to Athens. Greeks were strictly prohibited from bringing bones of the reposed into Greece. The Saint’s relative, however, could in no way separate herself from the invaluable family treasure. She then ardently prayed to St. Joseph, and the miracle happened: At the Turkish and Greek custom-houses, though the officers examined all of the luggage, they miraculously did not open, or even touch, the bag with the Relics!

On December 1, 1981, this relative reposed in the Lord and her pious niece, Nike Chatzatoglou, decided to offer the priceless treasure to the Holy Monastery of Sts. Cyprian and Justina, Phyle, Attica.

The Monastery had the especial blessing of receiving the Grace-filled Relics of the newly-revealed St. Joseph of Cappadocia on the Sunday after Theophany in the year of Salvation 1982 (January 11/24).

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Having been well-pleasing to Christ through thy virtuous life, when thou didst complete thy course thou becamest a companion of the Saints in the Heavens; wherefore, as thou dost enjoy the glory on high, O Joseph, intercede with the Master of all, we implore thee, that He grant us forgiveness of sins.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
As thou didst pass thy life in a God-pleasing manner, thou dost participate in the splendor of the Saints; with them, O Joseph, entreat that those who celebrate thy memory with love may be delivered from all corruption and necessity.

Rejoice, O all-renowned Joseph, who wast distinguished on earth for thine irreproachable life; rejoice, thou who in glory art equal in honor with the Saints, with whom do thou beseech Divine mercy for us.