The Monk Joseph of Zaonikievsk

Commemorated on September 21 and June 23

      The Monk Joseph of Zaonikievsk, was in the world Ilarion, a pious peasant from the village of Obukhovo Kubensk in the region of the Vologda gubernia. For a long time he suffered an illness of eyesight and he fervently prayed for the help of the Lord, to the MostHoly Mother of God and to the Saints, in particular the holy Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian. His prayer was heard, and in 1588, by revelation of Saint Cosmas, the Monk Joseph went into the forest into a swampy place, to an icon of the Mother of God, from which he received healing. In gratitude the monk cleared a forest thicket at the place of the appearance of the wonderworking icon and built a chapel, in which he put the icon. He himself settled close by, taking the monastic form with the name of Joseph. Afterwards, with the blessing of Sainted Antonii, Bishop of Vologda, on the place of Joseph's ascetic exploits emerged the Zaonikiev monastery, called such from the name of the brigand Aniki who once dwelt in this forest. When the monastery expanded and the number of monks grew, upon the advice of the Monk Joseph, Antonii was chosen as hegumen. Joseph himself out of humility did not accept the leadership and, having concealed from the others his own strict exploits, he was perceived as a fool-for-Christ, – he stood on his feet at prayer in his chapel, and in the fierce cold he went about barefoot.
      The Monk Joseph reposed on 21 September 1612 at age 83, and was buried in the monastery founded by him.

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