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July 27, 2019

Saint Joasaph, Metropolitan of Moscow (+ 1555)

Sr. Joasaph of Moscow (Feast Day - July 27)

Joasaph was first a monk and then abbot at the Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra since 1529. He enjoyed the favor of Grand Prince Vasili III. After Metropolitan Daniel had been deposed at the church sobor of 1539, Joasaph was elected Metropolitan of Moscow just three days later on February 5, 1539.

In his confession of faith, the beloved metropolitan wrote: “In everything I follow the holiest patriarchs, who observe the true immaculate Christian faith, established by the holy apostles and conveyed by God-bearing fathers, and not the one that Isidore brought from the unholy Latin cathedral, which beamed with mischief. In addition, I promise not to do anything from just pleasing the Grand Duke or many princes, even if they threatened me with death, forcing me to do something contrary to the divine and sacred canons.” Blessed Joasaph fulfilled his promise with complete firmness.

He is known to have opposed the supporters of the Josephites or "Non-possessors" and favored the opponents of monastic landownership. Joasaph was the one to solicit young Ivan IV's forgiveness for the disgraced Belskys and Prince Vladimir of Staritsa and render support for Saint Maximos the Greek, whom he helped get released from prison.

During the regency of Grand Duchess Elena Glinskaya, in the first five years of the reign of Ivan IV (1533–1538), Joasaph managed to keep his influence at the royal court, but in 1542, Joasaph fell into disgrace and was exiled to the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery and then transferred to the Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra in 1547, where he would remain until his death on July 27, 1555. Saint Joasaph is known to have authored a number of theological works.

On July 10, 1981, with the blessing of Patriarch Pimen of Moscow and All Russia, Saint Joasaph was included among the Radonezh Saints. In 1997, with the blessing of Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia and the decision of the Holy Synod, he was included in the number of Moscow Saints. On February 3, 2016, by the decision of the Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, he was canonized for general veneration.