The Priest-martyr Joseph, First Metropolitan of Astrakhan

Commemorated on May 11

      The Priest-martyr Joseph, First Metropolitan of Astrakhan, was born at Astrakhan in 1579. Having taken monastic vows, Saint Joseph at 52 years of age was raised to the dignity of archimandrite of the Astrakhan Trinity monastery. In 1656 he was at Moscow, after which he was elevated to the dignity of Metropolitan of Astrakhan. On 11 May 1672, during the time of an uprising of the townspeople, Sainted Joseph accepted a martyr's death at Astrakhan. This sad event was recorded in detail by eye-witnesses, priests of the Astrakhan cathedral Kirill and Peter. The priests took up the body of the martyr and, having dressed it in bishop's garb, they placed it in a prepared grave. On the following day, after doing a panikhida, the body of the saint was taken to one of the chapel churches and during the course of 9 days it remained unburied. The relics of the sainted-hierarch thereafter were placed into the grave and in a short while were glorified by miracles. The canonisation of the saint was done at the Local Sobor of the Russian Orthodox Church in April 1918.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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