The Monk Ise (Jesse), Bishop of Tsilkan

Commemorated on December 2

      The Monk Ise (Jesse), Bishop of Tsilkan, was born at Syrian Antioch in a pious Christian family. While still a lad he felt the pull towards the spiritual life, and with the attainment of mature age, and the blessing of his parents, he set out to one of the Antioch monasteries, where at the time asceticised the Monk John Zedazeni (the account about him is located under 7 May).
      The Monk Ise was included amongst the number of the 13 holy Syrian (Cappadocian) Fathers (their general commemoration is 7 May), who were chosen by lot by the Monk John Zedazeni (as commanded him by the Mother of God). The Monk Ise arrived in Gruzia (Georgia) together with them, and with them he taught and instructed the people in the pious life, providing an example of sanctity and healing the sick.
      The reports of the deeds of the 13 Syrian Fathers spread about among the people such, that the Katholikos-Archbishop of Gruzia Eulabios (533-544) proposed having a council of bishops meet and choose certain of these ascetics to fill empty cathedra-seats. Because of the difficulty of whom to choose, since all alike were worthy of the dignity of bishop, they proposed to go to the city of Zaden, where the ascetics dwelt, and to choose those who at the time were celebrating the Divine Liturgy. In this manner thus became bishops: the PriestMonk Habib (the account about him is located under 29 November) and the MonkDeacon Ise, appointed to the Tsilkan cathedra-seat. Having arrived in his diocese, Ise was astonished by the rampant pagan rites, customs and superstition. He zealously concerned himself with the restoration of piety, preaching constantly and making frequent Divine-services. His work bore fruit in the Tsilkan diocese Orthodox piety was affirmed, and with it also was affirmed the Church of Christ. Continuing also his ascetic efforts, Saint Ise attained to great gifts of prayer and wonderworking. Through his prayer, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ there separated off from the River Xana a stream of water, which in following the course that the saint intended, formed the bed of a canal and stretched to the church of the MostHoly Mother of God (near Tsilkan). Having put his diocese in good order, Saint Ise set off preaching to the Ossetians and other mountain peoples of the great Caucasus Mountain range. He made the rounds of he ravines and the rocky crags with the Gospel and cross in hand, everywhere affirming the teaching of God's revelation.
      Saint Ise learned about his impending end through a revelation from above. Gathering his flock and clergy, he preached a spiritual instruction, communed the Holy Mysteries, and with hands upraised to Heaven he offered up his soul o the Lord. This transpired at the end VI Century. (The known exact day of the saint's death is 18 August). The venerable relics of Saint Ise, already glorified by healing at the time of his burial, were consigned to earth in the church of the MostHoly Mother of God at Tsilkan, betwixt the altar-table and the table of oblation. The Church subsequently enumerated Saint Ise to the rank of the Saints and set his day of memory as 2 December.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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The Monk Ise (Jesse), Bishop of Tsilkan

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