Fighter Against Judaizers' Heresy - St. Joseph of Volotsky

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The city of Volokolamsk is located 100 km northwest of Moscow. The Monk Joseph, in the world John Sanin, at the age of 20 left his home and went to live a life of asceticism in a monastery. He spent about 18 years under the guidance of the holy ascetic St. Paphnutius of Borovsky, after whose repose St. Joseph was elected abbot of the Borovsky monastery. 

But not all monks liked the strict rules of St. Joseph. Then he left the monastery and visited many Russian monasteries in order to become acquainted with monastic life in other places. After a short time, he organized his own monastery with a communal charter in the Volokolamsk forest. 

He trained a whole number of ascetic monks, among whom were many famous saints. And perhaps the most important thing in his life was his fight against the heresy of the Judaizers. He denounced everyone who was involved in heresy, regardless of rank or station. For this reason, he wrote an entire work, which is called “The Enlightener” and which still serves as a guide in theology.  

In the 20th century, you know for what reason the memory of this great saint of God was suppressed. Now his holy name, life, and works for the good of our Orthodox Church should be in demand with special force.

The struggle over this devilish heresy, which he and other ascetics fought for 40 years, ended in the victory of the Church of Christ. But this was, so to speak, only the first attack repelled. This heresy took its satanic roots far and deep and was and is so terrible in its essence that if it were not for the omnipotent help of God, it is unknown how it would have ended at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, in the history of our Fatherland and the Church. Even the upper layers of the Russian state of that time were affected by this Jewish heresy - Grand Duke John III, his daughter-in-law and courtiers, clergy, and even the head of the Russian Church, Metropolitan Zosima. It should be noted that heresies usually infect those people who are affected by carnal passions. Metropolitan Zosima was no exception, so this heresy also stuck to his heart.

It was a very dangerous time for our compatriots and the Russian land. After all, this heresy, one might say, is eternal, as it fights against the Church and persists from the very days of Christ.

Its creators, instigators, and sowers were those who took our Lord Jesus Christ to Calvary and crucified Him on the Cross. We, Orthodox Christians, need to stay awake, pray, turn to God more often for His all-powerful help, and not spend time in laziness, neglecting our salvation, but, on the contrary, serve with our God-pleasing life to glorify our Savior.

Today, the exploits and life of our compatriot, the father of the Russian Orthodox Church, St. Joseph of Volotsky, are especially relevant. He raised a banner in the struggle against the heresy of the Judaizers. Then Archbishop Gennady of Novgorod and other zealots of piety joined him. In 1488 alta local council of the Russian Orthodox Church was assembled, at which this heresy was condemned under great pressure, and Metropolitan Zosima was removed from the pulpit and a new primate of the Church was appointed in the person of the abbot of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, Simon. In 1504, a second council of the Russian Orthodox Church was held to condemn this heresy and its followers, which dealt a crushing blow to the enemies of the Russian Church and our Fatherland.

The successor of this holy work was Tsar Ivan IV ("Ivan the Terrible"). He was not menacing to his compatriots and subjects, but was a menace to demons and enemies of Russian Orthodoxy. Therefore, to this day, Freemasons and enemies of the Orthodox Church cannot forgive the pious Tsar John for cleansing Rus' from these enemies of the state and minions of Satan; they still deny his invaluable role and significance for the benefit of the Russian Orthodox Church and our Fatherland. But he did not finish off all the enemies of Russia, even Stalin reproached him for this, that Tsar Ivan the Terrible did not finish off five boyar families. And this muddy stream flowed and caused turmoil after half a century, i.e. at the beginning of the 17th century, when faith weakened, sins multiplied and foreigners poured into Rus': Catholics, Poles and Lithuanians, who seduced the Russian people with their morals and customs. This stream of evil remained in order to awaken us from laziness and sinful hibernation, and we, remembering these fighters for the purity of Orthodoxy and inspired by their defense and confession of the true faith, kept watch, prayed, and cared for our salvation. 

Today we honor the deeds of the great saint St. Joseph Volotsky. The present generation should give him greater honors.

In the 20th century, for well-known reasons, the memory of this saint of God was not fully in demand, but today we need to unearth his works, glorify and pray to him, so that through his intercession he will help us overcome all the turmoil and delusions instilled in hearts and souls by the same heretics this saint of God fought against. I urge everyone to pray to St. Joseph of Volotsky, that he strengthens us to resist this heresy, which he defeated 500 years ago, and inherit the Kingdom of Heaven with the help of God and through his prayers. Amen.

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