Jump to content


- - - - -

Elder Joseph the Hesychast


  • Please log in to reply
29 replies to this topic

#21 Clinton R. LeFort

Clinton R. LeFort

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 13 posts

Posted 11 April 2008 - 03:57 AM

The relic of Elder Joseph's head is kept in St Anthony's monastery, in Arizona (USA), while the rest or his relics are kept in Vatopedi monastery. I have been told by serious people that his relics give always off a fragrance. The abbot of Vatopedi monastery, Fr Ephraim, spoke publicly in Athens about miracles performed through the intercession of Elder Joseph the Hesychast, even about some miraculous appearances of him.


Hello,

I have a minor concern about the method in which a person in the Orthodox Church is locally or universally Canonized. In the Roman Catholic Tradition, most recently, a miracle is required , to finalize the discernment of a persons holiness before God. In the case of St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina or in the latest case of the Servant of God, John Paul II, this is the same case. I understand that we are dealing with the community of the faith and in the Orthodox Church, the Ecumenical Patriarch's jurisdiction over matters of faith. In the case of Benedict XVI, he has the Congregation for the Cause of Saints as well as his theologians and faithful report on the experience of the servants of God and their knowledge of him/her, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the servants of God's virtues, life and writings and work. Those who know him either early or late in life and those who gain give a valid testimony of his heroic virtues, usually under oath. These witnesses of the servant of God are questioned by the Postulator of the Cause of Canonization, sometimes a process which can span many years or even centuries in some cases; that is, sometimes a person is never canonized since the miracle required for canonization is not given soon, though the Church recognizes the sanctity of the person.

In the case of Elder Joseph, after reading his letters adn biography, I understand that he has influenced many and even performed many miracles while in the body. He has many holy disciples still living, Elder Ephraim, etc.

Does anyone see the reasons behind certain criteria in these various rites for canonization and would anyone like to explain form an Orthodox view how they are traditionaly understood by the faithful?

Thank you

Clinton R. LeFort

#22 Fr Raphael Vereshack

Fr Raphael Vereshack

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,420 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 11 April 2008 - 04:34 PM

Dear Clinton,

Thank you for your post.

Within Orthodoxy, canonization is only the formal recognition of a veneration that already exists within the Church. This needs approval of a synod of bishops to be an official canonization. The bishops will study the validity of this on many different levels- holiness, virtue, miracles, etc

But we need to keep in mind that many saints are largely unknown and so not canonized. But yet they are still saints.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#23 Denys Kosovsky

Denys Kosovsky

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 27 posts

Posted 12 April 2008 - 11:28 PM

Does anyone see the reasons behind certain criteria in these various rites for canonization and would anyone like to explain form an Orthodox view how they are traditionaly understood by the faithful?
Clinton R. LeFort


Hello, Clinton,

Canonization simply requires that a man be a saint. The Church does need to recognize the saint. This is quite simple - studying the man's life and his teachings. It is the will of God that people who are not saints give themselves away through falling into sin 'ye shall know them by their fruits'. It is usually quite easy to do this.

Secondly, the Church checks that the man taught strictly in keeping with the Fathers. If any of their main postulates are ever challenged the man is a fake. Also if the man is not part of the one true Church he is never considered, there is no way he could be a saint for grace is present only in the true Church - everyone who has partaken in the holy Communion in the Orthodox Church knows this (That is only a reference to how the partaker always feels changed afterwards.)

Miracles are not that important. Because false pretend 'saints' also perform 'miracles' and are often convincing and charismatic.

Saints can recognize other saints. Therefore, the main support comes from a testimony of one such or widespread support. For example, Elder Joseph was praised by many spiritual giants on Mt Athos and the community has accepted him as a saint. This is no easy feat on Mt Athos where saints are aplenty.

Miracles after death are very important, for they prove final success. Only in death are even saints secure in their salvation. On Mt Athos the bodies are examined after a period of years after death, thousands of years of experience have made a fine science out of studying the remnants of monks in order to find out if they attained salvation, if they don't they require additional prayer. Elder Joseph's body would have been examined long ago. Testimonies of people whose prayers to Elder Joseph were answered would have been taken into account.

I presume there is more to it. A saint will know another saint. Given that the Church clergy is spiritually wealthy, they will have no difficulty telling a saint's teaching from a fake just by reading, because grace would reveal the truth.

Obviously there is a deal more to it than I know, but I hope this was helpful.

Denys

#24 Christophoros

Christophoros

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 405 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 27 February 2009 - 06:20 PM

For those who are interested, I see there is a new book in Greek entitled, My Elder Joseph the Hesychast and Cave-Dweller (1897-1959), by Elder Ephraim of Arizona, available from St. Anthony's Monastery's bookstore website, with the note: "An English translation of the book is currently being prepared."

#25 Kusanagi

Kusanagi

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 716 posts

Posted 27 February 2009 - 10:37 PM

Just wanted to add that in Romania there are particles of Elder Joseph's relics and they actually labelled the relics as St Joseph not Blessed or Elder. I believe it was in Sihla monastery they had them.

#26 Andrew

Andrew

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 363 posts

Posted 06 March 2009 - 04:34 PM

Hopefully the translation of Geronda Ephraim's biography of Elder Joseph will be completed soon. I think it's called Recollections of My Geronda - from what I've heard from those who have read it, it is the best and most authoritative account of Elder Joseph's life and miracles.

#27 Andrew

Andrew

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 363 posts

Posted 06 March 2009 - 04:35 PM

For those who are interested, I see there is a new book in Greek entitled, My Elder Joseph the Hesychast and Cave-Dweller (1897-1959), by Elder Ephraim of Arizona, available from St. Anthony's Monastery's bookstore website, with the note: "An English translation of the book is currently being prepared."


I should have read your post before I posted! At trapeza they read from this quite often at the monastery I visit.

#28 Clinton R. LeFort

Clinton R. LeFort

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 13 posts

Posted 11 March 2009 - 12:09 AM

Hello, Clinton,

Canonization simply requires that a man be a saint. The Church does need to recognize the saint. This is quite simple - studying the man's life and his teachings. It is the will of God that people who are not saints give themselves away through falling into sin 'ye shall know them by their fruits'. It is usually quite easy to do this.

Secondly, the Church checks that the man taught strictly in keeping with the Fathers. If any of their main postulates are ever challenged the man is a fake. Also if the man is not part of the one true Church he is never considered, there is no way he could be a saint for grace is present only in the true Church - everyone who has partaken in the holy Communion in the Orthodox Church knows this (That is only a reference to how the partaker always feels changed afterwards.)

Miracles are not that important. Because false pretend 'saints' also perform 'miracles' and are often convincing and charismatic.

Saints can recognize other saints. Therefore, the main support comes from a testimony of one such or widespread support. For example, Elder Joseph was praised by many spiritual giants on Mt Athos and the community has accepted him as a saint. This is no easy feat on Mt Athos where saints are aplenty.

Miracles after death are very important, for they prove final success. Only in death are even saints secure in their salvation. On Mt Athos the bodies are examined after a period of years after death, thousands of years of experience have made a fine science out of studying the remnants of monks in order to find out if they attained salvation, if they don't they require additional prayer. Elder Joseph's body would have been examined long ago. Testimonies of people whose prayers to Elder Joseph were answered would have been taken into account.

I presume there is more to it. A saint will know another saint. Given that the Church clergy is spiritually wealthy, they will have no difficulty telling a saint's teaching from a fake just by reading, because grace would reveal the truth.

Obviously there is a deal more to it than I know, but I hope this was helpful.

Denys


When I was living in Los Angeles and attending USC, I would frequently visit the Orthodox Bookstore in Glendale, CA. The first time I visited was for the "grand opening" of Living Spring Bookstore, and this is how I met Anastasia, who is a pious Orthodox Woman. At the same time I met her parents. Anastasia was traveling often to Greece, to the Holy Mountain area to obtain icons, prayer ropes, etc for her bookstore. I was truly inspired by her dedication. That day was to be a great turning point in my life, for I had the chance to speak with her pious Father and Mother throughout the 2 two three hours I was there. They told me of their visits to the Arizona Monastery where Fr Ephraim is living and indicated the kind of pious life the monks were learning from Fr. Ephraim and the traditions of the Fathers carried with them to Arizona.

Just recently I purchased the Letters of Elder Joseph, Monastic Wisdom,' and I feel that he reveals very much in his letter to his disciples, in the same way that the collected letters of Fr. Ephraim in 'Counsels from the Holy Mountain.' In both books the term 'theoria' is mentioned often. In the Catholic Church the Ascetics and Mystics speak of experiencing God in various unions, but no more clearly than in St. John of the Cross , who says in the Ascent of Mount Carmel, "the likeness between faith is so close that no other difference exists than that between believing in God and seeing him. Just as God is infinite, faith proposes him to us as infinite. Just as there are three Persons in one God, it presents him to us in this way. And just as God is darkness to our intellect, so faith dazzles and blinds us. Only by means of faith, in divine light exceeding all understanding, does God manifest himself to the soul. The greater one's faith, the closer is one's union. with God. " [Ascent , Bk II, Ch. 9] English translation. ICS, Kavanaugh & Rodriguez/

My point here is that the uncreated light is made approachable thru the Word Incarnate and the Economy of Salvation revealed thru Scriptures. What is difficult to grasp more and more is that union with God is union with God and not God and something else. I mean faith is faith, yet the Saints knew it was faith they were exercising, they had purified their minds and hearts to discern the unlikeness to faith as apart from the purity that comes thru faith. I think that the Elder speaks about this in some place, I think is relation to the CHANGES that occur int eh soul adn how important to notice these changes. Could someone help me understand this term better?

In the western tradition I see it as discernment or in the Counsels of the Desert Fathers as Discretion, which Cassian covers in his conferences.

May Christ enlighten your minds and hearts to know his will and strengthen your will to keep it always,

Clint LeFort

#29 John W.

John W.

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 142 posts

Posted 11 March 2009 - 04:48 AM

Just recently I purchased the Letters of Elder Joseph, Monastic Wisdom,' and I feel that he reveals very much in his letter to his disciples, in the same way that the collected letters of Fr. Ephraim in 'Counsels from the Holy Mountain.'


It must be stressed that this spiritual path known as hesychasm cannot be followed in a vacuum. Although the letters in Monastic Wisdom are not specifically doctrinal, they all presuppose doctrine even when they do not state it. Moreover, this doctrine entails an ecclesiology. It entails a particular understanding of the Orthodox Church and a view of salvation inextricably bound up with its sacramental and liturgical life.

Hesychasm is not something that has developed independently of or alongside the sacramental and liturgical life of the Orthodox Church. It is part and parcel of it. To attempt to practise it from active participation in this sacramental and liturgical life of the Orthodox Church is to cut it off from its living roots. It is also to abuse the intention of its exponents and teachers and so to act with a presumption that may well have consequences of a disastrous kind: spiritual, mental and physical.

Monastic Wisdom and Counsels from the Holy Mountain were written by and for those actively living not only within the sacramental and liturgical framework of the Orthodox Church, but also within that of the Orthodox monastic tradition.

Naturally, the monastic life provides conditions, such as quietness, solitude and regularity, indispensable for that concentration without which one cannot advance far along the spiritual path. But, provided that the basic condition of active participation in the sacramental and liturgical life of the Orthodox Church is fulfilled, then this path is open to all to follow, each to the best of his or her ability and whatever the circumstances under which he or she lives.

What is essential is that one does not follow it in an arbitrary and ignorant manner. Personal guidance from a qualified teacher (e.g. an Elder, Staretz, Geronda or Gerontissa) should always be sought for. If such guidance is not to be found, then active participation in the sacramental and liturgical life of the Orthodox Church will have an added importance in the overcoming of obstacles and dangers inherent in this quest.

(Heavily plagiarized from Introduction to the Philokalia Volume 1)

Edited by John W., 11 March 2009 - 04:52 AM.
Added "spiritual" to consequences.


#30 Niko T.

Niko T.

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 121 posts

Posted 02 September 2009 - 07:11 PM

I read somewhere that this year is the 50th anniversary of the repose of Elder Joseph the Hesychast.
Νὰ ἔχωμεν τὴν εὐχὴν τοῦ! May we have his blessing!




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users