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Saint John the Chozebite

Posted in Uncategorized on January 5, 2014 by citydesert

Saint John the Chozebite (Hosevite), also known as Saint John Jacob the Rumanian, and
Saint John Jacob from Neam

Saint John the Chozebite, the son of Maxim and Catherine Jacob, was born July 23, 1913 in
the Horodistea district of Moldavia. He was named for the holy prophet Elias (July 20). In
1914, his father died in the war, and his mother succumbed to a disease, leaving Elias as an
orphan. His grandmother Maria raised him until he was eleven. She was a nun, so she was
able to educate him in spiritual matters. She died in 1924, so young Elias went to live with
other relatives. He had a great love for Christ and His Church, and longed for the monastic

He entered Neamts Monastery on August 15, 1933 when he was twenty years old. Here his
soul was nourished by the beauty of the services, the experienced spiritual instructors, and the
silence of the mountains. The young monk loved prayer, vigils, spiritual reading, and
solitude, and soon he surpassed many experienced monks in obedience, humility, and
patience. Seeing his great love for spiritual books, the igumen made him the monasterys
librarian. Elias gave comfort to many of the brethren by recommending specific books for
each one to read. Then he would advise them to read the book carefully, make their
confession, and not miss the services if they wanted to find peace.

John Jacob as a Monk (left)

His spiritual efforts attracted the notice of Archimandrite Valerie Moglan, who recommended
that Elias be permitted to receive monastic tonsure. He was tonsured on April 8, 1936 and
received the name John. From that time, the young monk intensified his spiritual efforts,
conquering the temptations of the demons, and progressing on the path of salvation.
St John made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with two other monks in 1936, and they decided
to remain there. The monk Damascene fell ill, however, and had to be taken back to Romania
by the monk Claudius after eight months.

At first, St John lived in Bethlehem near St Savas Monastery. Romanian monks had lived at
St Savas since the sixteenth century, and John struggled there for almost ten years. He was
made librarian of the monastery, and he fulfilled this obedience for about seven years.
In 1945 St John longed for the peace and solitude of the desert, and so he went to live as a
hermit. He was ordained as a priest in 1947, and became igumen of the Romanian Skete of St
John the Baptist by the Jordan. Pilgrims often came to him for Confession, Communion, and
consolation. In his free time he composed religious poems and hymns.

Fr John Jacob as a Priest

After five years, he and his disciple went into the desert of Chozeba near Jehrico. Here they
lived in asceticism for eight years in the cave where, according to Tradition, St Anna had
St John Jacob died on August 5, 1960 at the age of forty-seven and was buried in his cave. On
August 8, 1980 his relics were found incorrupt and fragrant. They now rest in the St George
the Chozebite Monastery.

St. George Orthodox Monastery, or Monastery of St. George of Koziba is a monastery

located in Wadi Qelt, in the eastern West Bank. The sixth-century cliff-hanging complex, with

its ancient chapel and gardens, is active and inhabited by Greek Orthodox monks. It is
reached by a pedestrian bridge across the Wadi Qelt, which many imagine to be Psalm 23s
Valley of the Shadow.

Saint John Jacob from Neam is celebrated on, 5 August, in the Romanian Orthodox Church
We learn several data on the life of Saint John from the book by Rev. Prof. Dr. Mircea
Pcurariu entitled Dacian-Roman and Romanian Saints. So, on 23 July 1913, a child was
born to the family of faithful Maxim and Ecaterina Jacob, plough people from Criniceni
village, located on the bank of the River Prut, county of Botoani, who was named Ilie. Six
months after his birth, Ecaterina, his mother passed away, so that his grand mother grew him
up, because his father Maxim Jacob was called back to the army and lost his life on the
battlefield in 1916. In September 1920 he starts attending the primary school in Criniceni,
where he turned out to be a gifted child with good behaviour. In 1924, his grand mother dies
too. Alone in the world, his uncle Alecu, his father elder bother, took him to his house and
looked after him till he went to the monastery. His uncle sent him to study first at Mihail
Koglniceanu Gymnasium in Lipcani, then at Dimitrie Cantemir secondary school in
Cozmeni; in 1932 he passed his school leaving examination at Cernui.
He joined the community of Neam Monastery when he was only 20 years old. The then
abbot, Bishop Nicodim Munteanul, the future metropolitan and then patriarch of Romania,
received him as brother in the community of the monastery monks, assigning him a job at the
monastery chemists. Willing to find a quieter place, in June 1934, he visited the monastic
settlements of Oltenia, where he remained for a while at Turnu Monastery, on Olt Valley,
where he was impressed not only by the beauty of the place, but also by the old tradition of
the hermitage life over here. After finishing the military stage, he came back to Neam
Monastery, called by the former abbot, who had become Metropolitan of Moldova in the
meantime. He was appointed librarian, so that he had the opportunity to read a lot and put in
good order the many books and manuscripts over there. He taught Romanian language
lessons for the brothers at the monastic school. On 8 April 1936, the new abbot,
archimandrite Valerie Moglan (future assistant hierarch of Iai) tonsured him into
monasticism, in the big church monastery dedicated to the Ascension of the Lord, with the
monastic name of John.
Having the approval of Metropolitan Nicodim, in November 1936, the young monk went to
the Holy Land together with some other monks. Once arrived there, he prayed at the holy
Orthodox places of worship in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron and in other Bible localities.
Then, pious John Jacob lived for two years in a cave in the Jordan desert. Afterwards, he
settled in the old monastic monastery of Saint Sava, situated on Jordan Valley, founded by

Saint Sava (439 532). Pious John lived here for eight years, doing various jobs: he took care
of sick people, was a chaplain, guide, assistant administrator and librarian. After eight years,
he was called to another service according to the will of God. The abbot of the Romanian
church in Jerusalem, archimandrite Victorin Ursache (later on Archbishop of America)
proposed the Romanian Patriarchate to ordain Pious John Jacob priest. Following the
laudatory recommendations of archimandrite Victorin, our Patriarchate appointed schimonk
John abbot to the Romanian skete of Jordan. He was ordained deacon and priest within the
Divine Liturgies celebrated in the rotunda of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. So, pious
hieroschimonk John was a pious diligent abbot in Jordan for five years, till 1952. As he
thought he was surrounded by too many people and too much worry that hindered him to
pray and meditate, and also sick, he decided in 1952, after spending a time in a hospital in
Jerusalem, to give up the abbacy of the skete and retire to the Monastery of Saint George the

Pious hieroschimonk John lived in a cave near this monastery dedicated to Saint Ana, in very
harsh conditions of life for the last eight years of his life. Pious John Jacob passed away on 5
August 1960, in this cave, missing his country and always praying God. He was only 47
when he died, having spent 23 years in the country and the other 24 at the Holy Places. His
body tired of fasting and vigil was laid in the third room of the cave for eternal rest, beside
other schimonks who had lived there.
The body of Pious John remained in Saint Ana cave for 20 years. According to a local
tradition, at the beginning of August 1980, the leadership of the Monastery of Saint George
the Hosevite opened the graves in the cave wishing to take the remains of the Pious to the
common grave. On 7 August 1980, his body, not rotten, namely his relics, was taken from the
cave and brought to the monastery. It was laid in a special ebony shrine with glass above
which was put then in the church.

The Holy Synod of our Church decided, during the working session of 20 June 1992, it was a
thing pleasant to God and useful to the Orthodox faithful from everywhere, and especially, to
the Romanians, that this Pious John the New, the Hosevite, should be ranked among the
saints. He is remembered and celebrated on the day of his passing away, namely on 5 August.
See also

Akathistos Hymn to Saint John Jacob the Romanian

(written by Saint John Jacobs disciple, father Ioanichius Paraiala)

Kontakion 1:
To thee, O great hermit of the Church of Christ, O pastoral adviser of the monks and
offspring of Moldavia, come all ye faithful Christians to praise and cry out:
Rejoice, O pious Father John the New from Hazeva!
Ekos 1:
The Creator of Angels and of mankind, our Lord God Almighty has chosen thee from the
beginning to leave all vanity of this world and with thy heart enflamed by divine love, thou
ran to the salvation of reclusory, for which wondering we sing to thee:
Rejoice, thou who from childhood hast loved God;
Rejoice, for been burned by thine divine love, thou ran away from all vanity;
Rejoice, thou who rose from faithful parents Maxim and Katherine;
Rejoice, thou who didst receive the name of the Holy Prophet Elijah at thy baptism;
Rejoice, thou who wast left an orphan since childhood;
Rejoice, for Maria thy grandmother took care of thee;
Rejoice that for a while she was thy earthly protector;
Rejoice for she had taught thee in thine Holy Christian Faith since childhood;
Rejoice, for thy childhood had been difficult;
Rejoice, for it hast helped thee to gain eternal life;
Rejoice, O pious Father John the New from Hazeva!
Kontakion 2:
Having followed the schools of the time in thy village and alienated from thy acquaintances
O father, thou hast kept in thy soul the yearning for the supreme serving of Christ, never
taking part in childish games but always singing from thy heart to Thee: Alleluia!
Ekos 2:
When thou wert only 10 years old, thy grandmother and only earthly comforter dying, thou
wert entrusted to see in the Holy Altar of the Church, a marvelous vision of Thy Resurrection
of Christ our Savior, for which we sing to thee:
Rejoice, for having a pure heart thou saw Christ our God;
Rejoice for at the grave at thy parents, thou often used to go to burn candles;
Rejoice, for God hast been thy only comfort, strengthening and hope;
Rejoice, thou who from early childhood didst show to be a fervent worker of the prayer of
Rejoice, for thy heart was not attached to vain things;
Rejoice, for thou hast taken Christ Pure Mother as thy protector;
Rejoice, for in thy loneliness, thou didst find quietness;
Rejoice, for in Gods will thou hast entrusted thy life;
Rejoice, O pious Father John the New from Hazeva!
Kontakion 3:
Having finished primary school in thy native village, the gymnasium then the secondary
school, thou hast confessed thy thoughts to thy Elder Abbot Eugene Laiu, wanting to
become a monk and to sing unceaselesily to Thee: Alleluia!
Ekos 3:
Giving up all the vanity for Christs love and praying before the relics of the Holy Martyr
John the New from Suceava, thou didst follow thy way to sacred Monastery of Neamt, for
which we sing to thee:
Rejoice, Allhappy soul loved by God;
Rejoice, for bishop Nicodim Munteanu didst accept thee;
Rejoice, for thou wert given the obedience to the sick;
Rejoice, for thou didst help many by learning the physicians skills
Rejoice, thou who didst wonder at thine creation;

Rejoice, thou who day and night un-ceaselessly prayed to Thy Heavenly Father;
Rejoice, for thy great zeal in reading spiritual councils;
Rejoice, thou who greatly loved thine Holy Church, thine people and the spiritual writings;
Rejoice, O pious Father John the New from Hazeva!
O Pious Father John pleasing Thee, receive from us this pious hymn and ardently pray to
Allmerciful God for thy nation and all Orthodox faithful that we may be delivered from all
snares, disgust, dangers and despair, and at the end of our lives intercede for us before thine
Heavenly Throne, O father, so together with thee we may sing the angelic praise: Alleluia!