February 4, 2011

Holy New Martyr Joseph of Aleppo (+ 1686)

St. Joseph the New Martyr of Aleppo (Feast Day - February 4)


Bravely Joseph you endured beheading by the sword,
And from God you received an unfading crown.

Τhe holy Νeomartyr Joseph was from the city of Aleppo in Syria. The Saint was slandered by some Turks, claiming that he had said that he would become a Muslim. However, because he didn't want to become a Muslim, the Turks grabbed him in anger and took him to the qadi (Muslim judge), while pushing and beating him up.

In court, the Turks gave false testimony that he had said that he would become Muslim but he refused at the end. As soon as the judge saw him, he said to Joseph: "Come on man become a Muslim and depart from the false Christian religion that you have, and come to the true one. I will keep you near me and you will become a great ruler."

When the Saint heard all these, he replied with great courage: "Behold, what kind of religion is this that you adhere to, and you want others to believe in it? You miserable and wretched people! Where do you find faith and you have even turned it out as being the true one? You miserable people! You don't even know when is your fasting time nor when is your Ramadan. You just sit and wait for the time when you can see the moon in order to begin your fasting, or better, your excessive eating. Then, you sit all night and eat until sunrise and then you fall asleep all day, as if dead in the grave. And when you wake up, you look forward for the time when the sun will go down, so that you can start filling up your stomachs again! Then you again watch out to see the moon, in order to have your Ramadan. And if it happens to be a cloudy night, others have it earlier and others more late, and everybody laughs at you. Is this your faith that you are telling me to believe in? Besides all these, how can I describe your other feeble and unholy beliefs? That God eats and drinks, that in Heaven, as you have imagined, you can enjoy food and drink and make more sexual indulgences than you already do here on earth.

He told them much more about their religion. When they heard all these, they began to grind their teeth with anger against him, and the court issued its decision for him to be beheaded. While beating him up, they led him to the place of executions. There, the Saint knelt down and accepted with joy the crown of martyrdom. He became a Martyr on February 4, 1686.