Commemorated on March 31, June 15, October 5
Metropolitan of Moscow and WonderWorker of All Russia, was born in the city
of Galich into a pious Christian family. The father of the future saint was
named Feodor. At twelve years of age the youth took monastic vows in one of the
Galich monasteries, from which he transferred to the Moscow Simonov monastery,
where for many years he fulfilled various obediences. One time Sainted Photii,
Metropolitan of Moscow (Comm. 27 May and 2 July), visited at the Simonov
monastery and after the molieben, having blessed the archimandrite and
brethren, wanted also to bless the monks fulfilling obedience at the monastery
tasks. When he came to the bakery, he saw then the monk Jona asleep from much
work, and the right hand of the fatigued monk was bent in a gesture of
blessing. Sainted Photii asked not to wake him; he blessed the sleeping monk
and prophetically predicted to those present, that this monk would be a great
hierarch of the Russian Church and would guide many on the way to salvation.
The prediction of the
Saint was fulfilled. After several years Saint Jona was made bishop of Ryazan
In 1431 Saint Photii
died. Five years after his death, Saint Jona was chosen Metropolitan of All
Russia for his virtuous and holy life. When the newly chosen metropolitan
journeyed to Patriarch Joseph II (1416-1439) in Constantinople, in order to
accept confirmation as metropolitan, it turned out then, that shortly before
this the nefarious Isidor, a Bulgarian by descent, was already established as
Russian metropolitan. Spending a short while at Kiev and Moscow, Isidor
journeyed to the Council of Florence (1438), – where he accepted Uniatism. A
Sobor / Council of Russian hierarchs and clergy deposed metropolitan Isidor,
and he was compelled to flee secretly to Rome (where he died in 1462). Saint
Jona was unanimously chosen Metropolitan of All Russia. His consecration by the
blessing of the Constantinople Patriarch Gregory III (1445-1450) – was the
first time that it was done by Russian hierarchs in Moscow. On 15 December 1448
Saint Jona became Metropolitan and with arch-pastoral zeal he began to assert
piety among the flock, encouraging the Orthodox faith in the land by word and
by deed. And beneathe his exalted dignity he continued as before with his
personal monastic efforts.
In 1451 the Tatars
unexpectedly advanced on Moscow; they burned the surroundings and prepared for
an assault on the city. Metropolitan Jona with clergy made procession along the
walls of the city, with tears beseeching God for the salvation of city and
people. Beholding the dying monk Antonii of the Chudov monastery, – who was
noted for his virtuous life, Saint Jona said: "My son and brother Antonii!
Pray to the Merciful God and the All-Pure Mother of God for the deliverance of
the city and all Orthodox Christians". The humble Antonii replied:
"Great hierarch! We give thanks to God and His All-Pure Mother, – She
hath heard thy prayer and hath besought Her Son, – the city and all Orthodox
Christians wilt be saved through thine prayers. The enemy will soon take
flight. Only I alone am destined by the Lord to be killed by the enemies".
Just as the elder said this, an enemy arrow struck him.
The prediction of
Starets Antonii occurred: on 2 July, on the feast of the Placing of the Robe of
the Most Holy Mother of God, confusion broke out in the ranks of the Tatars, and
in unexplained fear and terror they turned to flight. Saint Jona built in his
courtyard a temple in honour of the Placing of the Robe of the Most Holy Mother
of God , – in memory of the deliverance of Moscow from the enemies.
The blessed end of
Saint Jona followed in the year 1461. By the grave of the Saint began to occur
In 1472 the relics of
holy Metropolitan Jona were opened undecayed and placed in the Uspensky Sobor /
Cathedral of the Kremlin (the feast of Transfer of the holy Relics is
celebrated 27 May). A Sobor of the Russian Church in 1547 established the
individual day of memory to Sainted Jona, Metropolitan of Moscow. In 1596
Patriarch Job established the celebration to Sainted Jona in the Sobor /
Assemblage of other Moscow Hierarchs, on 5 October.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.