Sainted Jona, Archbishop of Novgorod

Commemorated on November 5

      Sainted Jona, Archbishop of Novgorod, in the world named John (Ioann), was early on left orphaned and then adopted by a certain pious widow living in Novgorod. She raised the child and sent him off to school. Blessed Michael Klopsky, one time chancing to meet John on the street, foretold that he would become archbishop of Novgorod. John received tonsure at the Otensk wilderness-monastery, 50 versts distant from the city, and he became hegumen of this monastery. It was from here that the Novgorod people chose him as their archbishop in 1458, after the death of Sainted Evphymii. Saint Jona enjoyed great influence at Moscow, and during his time as hierarch the Moscow princes did not infringe upon the independence of Novgorod. The Moscow Metropolitan Saint Jona (1449-1461) was a friend of the Novgorod Archbishop Saint Jona, and desired to see him become his successor. Archbishop Jona built for the first time in the Novgorod lands a church in honour of the Monk Sergei of Radonezh (in 1463). Concerning himself over reviving traditions of the old days in the Novgorod Church, he summoned to Novgorod the reknown compiler of Saints' Lives Pakhomii the Logothete, who wrote on the basis of local sources both services and vitae of the best known Novgorod Saints.
      And to this time period belongs also the beginnings of the founding of the Solovetsk monastery. Saint Jona rendered much help and assistance in the organising of the monastery. To the Monk Zosima he gave a special land-grant letter of blessing (in conjunction with the secular authorities of Novgorod), by which was bestown over the whole of Solovetsk Island under the land-holdings of the new monastery.
      The saint, after his many toils, and sensing the approach of his end, wrote a spiritual last-instruction to bury his body at the Otensk monastery. On 5 November 1470, having communed the Holy Mysteries, the saint expired to the Lord.
      There has survived to the present day a Letter of Saint Jona to metropolitan Theodosii, written in the year 1464. The life of the saint was written in the form of a short account in the year 1472 (included in the work, "Memorials of Old Russian Literature", and likewise in the "Veliki Chet'i-Minei" ("Great Reading Menaion") of Metropolitan Makarii, under 5 November). In 1553, after the uncovering of the relics of Archbishop Jona, an account was compiled about this event, from the pen of the monk Zinovii of Otensk. A special work about the miracles of the saint is to be met with in manuscripts of the XVII Century.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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Sainted Jona,
Archbishop of Novgorod

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