The Monk Job of Anzersk

Commemorated on March 6

      The Monk Job of Anzersk, in the world John, was born at Moscow in the year 1635. He began his pastoral service in one of the parish churches. He lived strictly, like a monk, in fasting and the constant prayer of: "Have mercy on me, O Lord! Spare me, O Lord!". His love for people was amazing, and he always sought out the opportunity to do good for neighbour. With total commitment, Father John helped all that were needy, he concerned himself about the wronged and innocently suffering, he encouraged the spiritually weak, and the profligate he gently and wisely brought to their senses, and he consoled and gave guidance. His house was always open for the needy – feeding them, giving them a fatherly chat, he would send them off cheered up, clothing them for the road, such as he was able. If he himself unexpectedly offended anyone, he right out regretted it and immediately asked forgiveness.
      News about the good pastor reached even tsar Peter I, and the saint was summoned for priestly service to the imperial church, chosen confessor of the tsar and the imperial house. Using his influence at court, the saint strove all the more to be of help to the poor. Visiting captives in the prisons, he had a good influence on criminals through the Word of God, while the innocently condemned he encouraged in patience, and those in debtors prison he helped pay off the debt.
      With the advance of years Father John, devoting himself to contemplation on God, emerged from his house only for church services, though not ceasing his benevolent work through persons of authority.
      In 1701, falsely denounced before the tsar (allegedly, having learned about some evil intent, "he as a priest would not reveal the source"), the saint was banished to the Solovetsky monastery and tonsured into monasticism with the name Job. After many a tribulation the starets-elder Job was freed of obediences and he lived as an hermit in silence in his cell. Learning about the holy life of the ascetic and having ascertained, that the starets had been slandered, tsar Peter I wanted the priest to return to him, but the Monk Job refused. In 1702 for greater silence he transferred over to the Anzersk skete‑monastery of the Holy Trinity, where soon after the death of the Anzersk organiser Eleazar, he was appointed its head.
      Calling to mind the words of the Lord: "To whom much is given, much also is expected of him" (Lk. 12: 48), the PriestMonk Job exerted much toil and effort in his new responsibilities. As a wise teacher he taught everyone in humble obedience to God and its aspects as the first virtue, without which no one can be saved; he instructed also about constant work and concern for neighbour. He himself visited the sick, washed and bandaged their wounds, and often he healed them of their infirmities through his prayer. Amidst this he never slackened with church services nor his cell rule of prayer.
      In 1710 the Monk Job accepted the great Angelic form [i.e. schema-monk] with the name Jesus [or "Joshua" in idiomatic English useage, as with the Old Testament book of "Joshua", which in Slavonic is the book of "Jesus, Son of Navin"]. The Mother of God Herself soon delineated his ultimate path to SchemaMonk Jesus: She appeared to him in a dream together with the skete-monastery's first head and patron – the Monk Eleazar of Anzersk (Comm. 13 January), and She said that on an hill, henceforth called a second Golgotha, on Anzersk Island, shouldst be built a church of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and a skete-monastery established. Accepting this wondrous dream as being God's blessing, the Starets Jesus in 1714 resettled to Mount Golgotha and with the help of his disciples, the schema-monk Matfei and the monk Makarii, he founded the Golgotho‑Crucifixion skete-monastery, where he continued with his much-toiled efforts.
      In 1715 a wooden church in honour of the Crucifixion of the Lord was built.
      The aged builder, in example for the brethren, himself often chopped wood, carried water up the hill, and in the bakery kneaded dough. In his cell the elder constantly busied himself with handicrafts, and the money which he obtained from this he divided into three parts: for church needs, for the needs of the brethren, and alms for the poor. For himself he kept nothing, having only of his own several religious books.
      For his God-pleasing life the monk was granted an especial revelation. Through his fervent prayers, the MostHoly Mother of God Herself appeared to him in his cell and showed the place on the hill, where to dig the well and get water, sufficing for the needs of the monastery. When the wondrous water-spring was uncovered, the monk explained to the brethren: "Never grieve nor despair, but always trust in God. Remember His promise: "A mother would sooner forget her child, than I would you"". With the help of God the holy saint was able to foresee the wicked intent of some strangers who once came to him, and by his prayer: "Lord, send down sleep upon Thine servants, beset with vain pleasing of the enemy", – he lulled to sleep the malevolent for five days and nights, and by this he led them to a sincere repentance. Another time he lectured robbers, commanding them to stand motionless under their heavy load of loot for two days, although these did not plead for forgiveness.
      God revealed to Saint Jesus the time of his approaching end. Quite some while before his death the saint notified the brethren, that he would die on a Sunday at the rising of the sun. Having devoted his whole life to the service of God and neighbour, and having prepared himself for the appointed hour, the humble ascetic repented contritely, such that it took very little for him to please the Lord.
      The monk reposed, as he foretold, on a Sunday – on the Sunday of Orthodoxy – in the morning at the rising of the sun, on 6 March 1720.
      In the pre-death moments of the saint, his cell shone with an extraordinary light, there was a fragrance and the Psalter-song was heard: "For I shalt go forth into a place of wondrous habitation, yea even the house of God, in a voice of rejoicing and confession, of the din of celebration" (Ps. 41 [42]: 4).

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.