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ST.IOSAF THE DIVINE PROTECTOR OF THE BELGOROD LAND

The Holy Trinity Cathedral in Belgorod in XVIII century The Holy Trinity Cathedral in Belgorod
(the main cathedral in Belgorod in XVIII century)
Then Belgorod was the centre of the Belgorod goubernia (province) and the Belgorod Eparchy one of the biggest in Russia. But the spiritual life in the province was in a very bad condition. The priests did take care for the religious and moral education of their parish. Many churches, especially in villages became dilapidated and were not repaired for years.

Bishop Ioasaf worked hard on to improve this situation. He inspected all places of his eparchy regularly. He gave much attention to the religious and moral state of the local clergy, work of s˝hools in the eparchy. Ioasaf considered the aid to poor people to be one of his main goals. Very often he visited poor people personally bringing them spiritual and material help. Iosaf also often called on sick people and healed them.

Transferring the body of Ioasaf from Graivoron to Belgorod Transferring the body of Ioasaf from Graivoron to Belgorod
Bishop Ioasaf served in the Belgorod Eparchy till the end of his life. His selfless labour in this course made Bishop Ioasaf well-known all over Russia.

Bishop Ioasaf passed away on December,10,1754 in the age of 49 in the village of Graivoron. On December,15 his body was carried from Graivoron to Belgorod for burial. The coffin with his body was placed in the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Belgorod for farewell.

And only on February,28,1755 the coffin with the body of Bishop Ioasaf was carried to a special crypt in the south-western part of the Holy Trinity Cathedral that was made by order of Ioasaf himself.

But some time after it turned out the body of Bishop Ioasaf was not subject of corruption. The rumour about this spread over Belgorod and region very quickly.
Sick and maimed people came to the coffin of Ioasaf and many of them got recovered. The talk about the miraculous power of Bishop Ioasaf's hallows began to spread by word of mouth all over Russia. Every year more and more pilgrims came to the coffin of Ioasaf. Many people not only in Belgorod but in other region of Russia began to consider Ioasaf a saint long before his canonization. The portraits of Bishop Ioasaf were hanged near icons in many houses.

In 1883 the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Belgorod was transferred into a monastery cathedral. In spite of the fact Belgorod was no more a eparchial town the stream of pilgrims did not diminish. People continued to go to Sanctifier's coffin.

Several times the eparchial authorities at local people's request applied for canonization of Bishop Ioasaf. And at last in 1910 Emperor Nickolay II proposed the Holy Synod to canonize Bishop Ioasaf. And the Synod supported this proposition and canonized Bishop Ioasaf. The day of September,4,1911 was set the day of celebration of incorruptible hallows of Sactifier Ioasaf.


Sacred procession in Belgorod on September,4,1911 Sacred procession in Belgorod on September,4,1911
Sacred procession in Belgorod on September,4,1911
(contemporary photos)


This memorable day became one of the most important events in the history of Belgorod. Very many people from very different places of Russia from the Western border to the Far East came to Belgorod. The whole number of people that took part in this celebration was more than 200 thousand. Very many state persons visited Belgorod for the celebration and three months after Emperor Nickolay II with his family visited Belgorod too.

After this celebration more and more people came to Belgorod from any places of Russia. Now the hallows were inside the cathedral in a special shrine made of silver.



The Holy Trinity Cathedral
The Holy Trinity Cathedral in Belgorod
(a comtemporary painted photo. Unfortunately this cathedral did not remain till nowadays)
The shrine with the hallows of St.Ioasaf in the Holy Trinity Cathedral
The shrine with the hallows of St.Ioasaf in the Holy Trinity Cathedral
(a photo of the beginning of XX century)
Emperor Nickolay II near the hallows of Bishop Ioasaf
Emperor Nickolay II near the hallows of Bishop Ioasaf

The Cathedral of Transfiguration Of Lord The Cathedral of Transfiguration Of Lord (Preobrazhensky)
(a modern photo)
Patriarch of Moscow and Whole Russia Alexy II and  Archbishop of Belgorod and Stary Oskol Ioann in the Cathedral of Transfiguration on September,16,1991 Patriarch of Moscow and Whole Russia Alexy II and Archbishop of Belgorod and Stary Oskol Ioann in the Cathedral of Transfiguration on September,16,1991
After the October revolution the shrine was opened and the hallows of St.Ioasaf were taken out from Belgorod.
For many years the whereabouts of the hallows was unknown. And only 70 years after they were found in the Museum of Religion and Atheism in Leningrad.

After identification the hallows were returned to Belgorod and placed in the The Cathedral of Transfiguration Of Lord (Preobrazhensky).

On September,16,1991 the incorruptible hallows of St.Ioasaf were solemnly transferred to The Cathedral of Transfiguration Of Lord. Patriarch of Moscow and Whole Russia Alexy II took part in this ceremony. It was the second appropriation of St.Ioasaf hallows. He came back to the Belgorod land and sacrified it by his presence again.


The shrine with the hallows of St.Ioasaf in the Cathedral of Transfiguration The shrine with the hallows of St.Ioasaf in the Cathedral of Transfiguration  Archbishop of Belgorod and Stary Oskol Ioann near the shrine with the hallows of St.Ioasaf Archbishop of Belgorod and Stary Oskol Ioann near the shrine with the hallows of St.Ioasaf  Monument to St.Ioasaf in Belgorod Monument to St.Ioasaf in Belgorod

A Sunday school attached to the Cathedral of Transfiguration works in Belgorod from 1991. In this school the pupils study Bible chairs, the church regulations, make pilgrim travels and take part in church holidays.

In 1992 in the Cathedral of Transfiguration The Orthodox Community of St.Ioasaf was founded. The members of this community are people of very different professions: engineers, teachers, architects, workers and others do the job for moral and spiritual education of people, restoring churches and organazing charitable actions.

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