Holy Confessor For The Old Calendar

Orthodox Life, Vol. 30, No.6., November-December, 1980

The discovery of incorrupt relics in the Monastery of Khozeva near Jerusalem By monk Ioasaph

In the remote sketes of the Greek monastery of Sts. John and George the Khozeva, the relics of a certain Hieromonk who reposed twenty years ago have been found to be incorrupt. This narrative concerns the Romanian priest John, who struggled in asceticism in the gorge of the brook Khozeva, which is situated in the wilderness of Judea thirty-five kilometers east of Jerusalem.

In view of the fact that during his lifetime Fr. John earned the respect of many for his pious manner of life, there is reason to suppose that we are here speaking of the manifestation of a new saint.

Below a short biography of Fr. John is outlined from materials obtained in conversation with Monk Ioannikos, his fellow ascetic, who now resides at the monastery of St. George of Khozeva (Chozevite)

Fr. John was born in 1913, in the Romanian province of Doroga, to poor family. Having first lost his mother (when he was six years old) and then his father (when he was nine), he was left utterly orphaned. Nonetheless, he succeeded in obtaining a secondary education and excelled in his inclinations toward literature and poetry. On completion of his education, he entered the famous Monastery of Niamets and soon became a rassaphore monk there. In 1936, Fr. John arrived in the Holy Land, where he made the acquaintance of Fr. Ioannikios, and together with him entered the Lavra of St. Sabbas the Sanctified.

A year later, Fr. John took the Great Schema. He continued to struggle ascetically at the Lavra until 1940, after which he departed for the Monastery of St. Gerasimos on the River Jordan, near the Dead Sea. However, the British authorities then in power soon took him into custody, since he was a Romanian national, and kept him in a building situated over the Lithostroton, on the site of Herod's Fortress Antonia. In 1941, they released him and he returned once again to the Lavra of St. Savva. In 1947, at the request of Patriarch Nicodemus of Romania, Patriarch Timotheos of Jerusalem ordered Fr. John to be ordained hierodeacon and then immediately Hieromonk; this was done so that he could be sent to the half-empty monastery of the Romanian Ecclesiastical Mission on the River Jordan near Jericho.

After his ordination at the Holy Sepulchre of the Lord, the newly ordained Hieromonk remained in Jerusalem, and then together with his inseparable companion, Fr. Ioannikios, departed for the Jordan. There Fr. John often encountered Fr. Ignaty, the Russian hegumen from the Oak of Mamre, who periodically paid visits there from Hebron to tend the nearby orchard of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission. Between them a close friendship grew.

Finding himself, however, under the jurisdiction of the Romanian Ecclesiastical Mission, the clergy of which are sent from Romania, Fr. John came into conflict because his views and convictions, for the most part over the question of the new calendar. Being a zealous proponent of the Old Calendar, he could not reconcile himself with the indifference to the question of his superiors, who considered themselves officially New Calendarists. He himself strictly continued to maintain the Old Calendar in the Divine Services since he was on the territory of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

Finally to put and end to the friction, in 1951, he decided to leave the Jordan, and with his faithful disciple Ioannikios he entered the Greek Monastery of St. George of Khozeva. (This article continues with pictures and text)

A complete biography of St. John of the Romanian was "Orthodox Life", Vol.34.,No.5., September-October, 1984. I was fortunate to venerate his holy relics on my pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1998. e able to obtain copies.

Reader Timothy Tadros (ROCA)

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