Commemorated on July 2
(Iuvenalios), Patriarch of Jerusalem, occupied the throne of the Holy City
during the years 420-458. During this period great luminaries of the Church
enlightened the world: the Monks Euthymios the Great (+ 473, account about him
is under 20 January), Simeon the Pillar-Dweller (+ 459, account – 1
September), Gerasimos of Jordan (+ 475, account – 4 March), and many others.
Saint Juvenal was a
friend and conversant with the Monk Eythymios the Great. During the time of the
arch-hierarchical service of holy Patriarch Juvenal, the Eastern Church was
troubled by dangerous false-teachings, which he stood up against with a pastoral
zeal, safekeeping the flock of Christ. In the year 431, the Third OEcumenical
Council was convened in the city of Ephesus: it condemned the heresy of
Nestorius, which had arisen against the Orthodox confession of the Divine
nature of Jesus Christ. At this Council presided Saint Cyril, Patriarch of
Alexandria (+ 444, Comm. 9 June), and in the number of his like-minded
colleagues was Patriarch Juvenal. In the year 451, the Fourth OEcumenical
Council was convened in the city of Chalcedon: it condemned a new heresy – the
Eutykhian (Monophysite), which taught, that the human nature in Christ was totally
swallowed up and absorbed by the Divine nature. The holy fathers, among whom
also was Sainted Juvenal, condemned the heresy of Eutykhios and affirmed the
Orthodox confession about the conjoining in the Lord Jesus Christ of both
natures – the Divine and the human – without separation and without mixture.
The heretics however continued to confuse the minds of Christians. At the head
of the heretics stood Theodosios, who had won over to his side the widow of the
emperor Theodosius the Younger (+ 450), named Eudocia, living at Jerusalem. He
demanded that Patriarch Juvenal repudiate the position of the Chalcedon
Council, that is, that he should renounce the Orthodox dogma about the two
natures in Christ. His Holiness Juvenal would not consent to a betrayal of
Truth, and indeed bravely confessed the Chalcedon dogma afront the heretics.
Theodosios and his adherents deposed Patriarch Juvenal from the patriarchal
throne. The saint withdrew to an outpost of Orthodoxy – Constantinople, to
Patriarch Anatolios (449-458, Comm. 3 July) and the emperor Marcian. The
heretic Theodosios, under the patronage of Eudocia, occupied the patriarchal
throne in Palestine, but only for 20 months. Emperor Marcian, holding Saint
Juvenal in high esteem, brought about his restoration to the patriarchal
throne, and so the Patriarch-confessor returned to Jerusalem.
The saint made many
an effort for the restoration of Church peace. At the suggestion of the Monk
Simeon the Pillar-Dweller, the empress Eudocia made repentance before Saint Juvenal
and returned into communion with the Orthodox. After her followed in large part
the Jerusalem flock led astray by the heretics. Having set aright the
contentious heresies, and having established churchly oneness of mind and
propriety, Patriarch Juvenal died peacefully amidst the faithful flock, having
toiled in the hierarchical dignity for 38 years.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.