On Thursday, July 28/ August 10, 2023, the Patriarchate celebrated the commemoration of our Holy Father John the new Hozevite from Romania, at the Holy Monastery of Hozeva, located at the bank of Brook Chorath, near Jericho.
On this feast, the Church, and especially the Church of Jerusalem commemorates that Saint John came to the Holy Land from Romania in the middle of the 20th century, and lived in utmost ascesis and humility at the Holy Monasteries of the Jordan River area, and in that of Saints George and John the Hozevites, he slept in peace and was deemed worthy to work miraculous signs, that is why he was canonized among the saints by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in 2016.
The feast of the Dormition of Saint John was celebrated with an all-night vigil at the Holy Monastery of Hozeva, and the Hegoumen and renovator of the Monastery, Archimandrite Constantine welcomed H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, who presided over the vigil with the following address:
“Blessed Father and Master,
The glorious feast of Saint John the New Hozevite, who came from Romania, has dawned for another year. The holy hymnographer characterizes him very successfully as the father of peace and silence and of prayer.
If we delve into the above characterizations, we will clearly perceive the work of each Monk, who, through his silent preaching, renounces the entire world. The monk leaves the world not motivated by hatred, but by love for God first and for his fellow man. He listens to the misery and pain of his brothers and effectively helps through prayer and almsgiving. And how does the monk perceive the world one could ask. But precisely through quietness and silence and prayer”, which were dominant throughout the life of the honoured Saint.
God does not ask the monks to go out into the world to help people walk, but He asks them to give them the light with their experience to lead them to eternal life. Should not the lighthouses always be placed on the rocks? What; should they go to the cities to be added to the traffic lights? The lighthouses have a different mission, the traffic lights have another. The monk is not a traffic light to be placed in the city at one end of the street and to light the passers-by so that they do not stumble. It is a distant Lighthouse, set high on the rocks, which with its flashes illuminates the seas and oceans so that the ships can be guided and reach their destination towards God”.
Blessed Father and Master,
Being such a man, a torch flamboyant in life, Sant John even after his dormition, through his intercessions, helps, comforts, inspires, sweetens the pain, and heals the illnesses of souls and bodies, as testified by the thousands of pilgrims of every race and language, who visit him, but as we also testify that as we have been greatly benefited by the Saint many times.
Let us commence the feast!”
Co-celebrants to His Beatitude were their Eminences, Metropolitan Isychios of Capitolias and Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina. The chanting was delivered by Leonidas Doukas, Christos Stavrou, Gregorios Zarkos, Nikolaos Papadimitriou, Vasilios Papadimitriou, Pavlos Papadimitriou, as the service was attended by monks of the Monastery and other Monasteries from Jericho and Jerusalem.
His Beatitude delivered the following sermon before the Holy Communion:
“For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light (Ps. 36,9).
Because You, Lord, are the source of life and with Your own light we will see the true light, exclaims the psalmist.
Beloved brothers and fathers in Christ,
The Grace of the Holy Spirit, who enlightened and sanctified and directed the footsteps of the holy Prophets Helijah of Thesbis and John the Forerunner in this holy place of Hozeva, brought us all together so that we solemnly honour the memory of our holy Father John the New Hozevite.
Our Holy Father John had been seized by Divine zeal since his childhood, left his homeland Romania and came to the Holy Land, where he retreated and hid himself like another Elijah in the caves of Brook Chorath, near the River Jordan (3 Kings 172-3) and where Saint George from Leukara of Cyprus founded his Monastery, which became a fountain of divine healings for those who believe in our Lord Jesus Christ who said, ““He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7,38).
This living water is none other than the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Son of God and our Saviour Christ according to the testimony of the Evangelist John (John 7, 39). This very Spirit is the source of light, as the Lord says “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8,12).
On this word of the Lord, Saint Cyril of Alexandria says: “Whoever follows me, i.e. whoever walks in the footsteps of my teachings will not be in the dark but will obtain “the light of life”, i.e. he will achieve the revelation/manifestation of the mysteries concerning me and the revelation, able to lead to eternal life”.
And we ask ourselves, what is eternal life? “Eternal life is the transcendence of the death of corruption, that is, of sin through the death of incorruption, that is, the death of the Risen Christ. In this death of Christ, our Holy Father John became a communicant and sharer, who listened to the order of Saint Paul saying: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death: just as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so, we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection” (Romans 6,3-5).
Our sanctified Father John not only walked in newness of life but also fore-tasted the future resurrection of Christ, as his incorruptible and fragrant whole-body relic testifies before our eyes.
The incorruption of his body was achieved by the spirit-bearing John, listening and applying in theory and practice, the exhortation of Saint Paul: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (Romans 12,1). Interpreting this word of Paul, Saint Chrysostom says: “What is rational worship? The things of the soul, the things of the Spirit (God is Spirit, and those who worship Him, shall worship Him in Spirit and Truth), (John 4:24); what is not seen in the body, what is not seen in the organs, is not in the places, which are leniency, sobriety, mercy, non-judgment, long-suffering, humility… “I want mercy and not sacrifice” (Hesiah 6:6)… and there are other miracles, indeed the holocausts, the bodies of the holy martyrs; there is a saint and a soul and body; that smell of fragrance is great”. [And in more detail; what is rational worship? Those that are offered with the soul, with the spirit (because the Lord said “God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him, do so in Spirit and in truth”), meaning what is not needed by the body, by organs, by places. And such are; leniency, temperance, charity, non-judgment, tolerance, humility, “I want mercy and not sacrifice”… however, there are other sacrifices, the real holocausts, the bodies of the holy Martyrs. Both the soul and the body are holy there, they have a great fragrance.
Indeed, my beloved brothers, our celebrated Father John loved God with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his mind (cf. Matt. 22,37), thus becoming a sacrifice pleasing to God. Because even the psalmist exclaims, “God is wonderful in His saints” (Psalm 67:36).
The Father of the Church, Saint Chrysostom, points out the value and power of rational worship, which leads the faithful Christian to the purification of the heart (God, create in me a clean heart – Psalm 50,12) and consequently to incorruption, says: “You can too if you want this sacrifice to be repeated… Let your body die and crucify, and you also shall receive the crown of this martyrdom”, [and simpler; you can too if you want to offer your body as an instrument and then will you yourself receive the crown of this martyrdom].
Our holy Church of Jerusalem boasts of boasting in Christ (Rom. 15,17), because the Monastery of Hozeva, by the intercessions of the Most Holy Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary and of the today honoured Saint John the New, continues to be a lodging of the holy and righteous men of God, and those who practised and are practising their monastic striving in this Monastery and Lavra “these are shining lamps everywhere on earth”, according to Saint Chrysostom.
We thank the Holy Triune God and after Saint Paul, we say: “Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen” (Eph. 6:24). Many happy returns.”
After the dismissal of the vigil, there was a monastic meal.
Source: patriarchare of Jerusalem