Righteous Joseph the Handsome

Commemorated on March 31

      Righteous Joseph the Handsome was a son of the Old Testament patriarch Jacob, and died in about the year 1700 before the Birth of Christ. His brothers by birth were jealous of him, because the father loved him more than the other brothers, and they feared him, since he told them about his dreams, foretelling his future greatness. The brothers decided to kill Righteous Joseph, but on the suggestion of the eldest of them, Reuben, they changed their minds and first threw Joseph into a pit, and then sold him to merchants who were journeying with a caravan to Egypt.
      In Egypt Joseph was sold to Potiphar, head of the imperial bodyguards, and thanks to his mind and virtues, he earned the trust of his master. Righteous Joseph was exceedingly handsome, and the wife of Potiphar wanted to force him into adultery. But the chaste youth turned away the temptation. Then out of malice and spite the wife of Potiphar slandered Righteous Joseph before her husband, saying that the youth wanted to defile her. Believing the lie, Potiphar locked up the innocent youth in prison. Situated in prison, Saint Joseph the Handsome gained fame by his wise interpretation of dreams. Having solved the riddle of Pharaoh's dream, foretelling the approaching years of famine and misfortune for Egypt, Righteous Joseph was set free and made first counselor of Egypt. When the famine befell also the native-land of righteous Joseph in Palestine, Saint Joseph was able to re-settle his father with all his family into Egypt. Before his end, Righteous Joseph gave instructions to transfer his bones from Egypt to the Promised Land, which was done under the holy Prophet Moses (Comm. 4 September), 1496 BC. Through his sons Manassah and Ephraim, Saint Joseph the Handsome is situated at the head of two of the tribes of Israel.
      The Bible (Gen. 37-50) testifies about the life of Righteous Joseph the Handsome.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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