October 28 – Job of Pochayiv; Jude Thaddeus

Job of Pochayiv (ca. 1551–1651) was born Ivan in Kolumja in Polish Ukraine (or Ukrainian Poland) (or both). He teethed on the lives of St. Sava (Jan 12) and John of Damascus and on the Divine Ladder (see Mar 30), and entered the monastic life as a serving boy at a young age. At twelve he was monkified and given the name Job, after which he endeavored to live his life after the manner of the biblical Job. (Sitting in the ashes and scraping his boils? The sources don’t say.) At 31 he was priestified and made igumen of the Exaltation of the Cross monastery near Dubno. There he buckled down and wrote his fingers off, defending Orthodoxy against Protestant heresies, against Socinianists (who were even more heretical than the Protestants), and against the incursions of Ukrainian Catholics (who were trying to convert all the Orthodoxen within a thousand-verst radius).

In about 1604, Job fled his fame and retired as a hermit attached to the monastery in Pochayiv (by the left foot, I think). He lived alone in a tiny cave, and spent his time kneeling (after he died they found knee prints in the rock floor), saying the Jesus prayer, and being bathed in Uncreated Light (which scared the willies out of his disciple and biographer, Dosyfey (Dosithea)). Having fled the world for a life of solitude, it was only natural that before long Job was elected igumen. He tightened up the lax discipline at the monastery, and defended it against repeated legal attacks by a local nobleman whose grandmother bequeathed it a portion of his inheritance. This guy actually raided the monastery and stole an icon Grandmama had donated; it was subsequently awarded back to the monastery by the courts.

Sometime after Job died at a ripe old age, he appeared to the Metropolitan of Kyiv, telling him to uncover his relics. Twice. Without effect. The third time he had to get fierce, and threatened the Met with harm from above. “Oh, it must be God’s will, then,” his eminence said. (If some dead guy appeared to you, telling you to updig his bones, how many visits would it take before you acted? Be honest.) When Job’s body was updug, it was found to be incorrupt and sweet-smelling, which is rare, but comparatively pleasing to gravediggers. Job made a few other posthumous appearances, including one (accompanied by the Mother of God and others) to defend the monastery from incursing Turks in 1675, who fled when they saw the sight.

The Apostle Jude Thaddeus (d. ca. 65) was one of the Twelve. He is called “Judas of James” in Luke/Acts, “Thaddeus” in Matthew (“Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus” in some manuscripts and hence the KJV), “Thaddeus” in Mark and “Judas, not Iscariot” in John. He is thus not the Judas who betrayed our Lord (Judas Iscariot); nor is he the Jude that Paul McCartney wrote the song about (Julian Lennon). Some people think Judas and Thaddeus were two different people, but those people don’t come to my parties nor invite me to theirs, so phooey on them.

Tradition takes us beyond the scant Biblical witness. Jude’s father was Clopas and his mother was Mary, a cousin of Mary the B.V. With Bartholomew he is credited as the first to preach the gospel in Armenia, and is thus one of the patron saints of that land. He is also said to have evangelized in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Libya (they called him the Wanderer, yeah the Wanderer. . .). He was martyred with Simon the Zealot in Beirut (unless it was in Persia), and the axe you see him holding in some icons indicates how. The bones of the two rest together in a single crypt in the left transept of St. Peter’s in Rome, unless they are somewhere in the Pamir Mountains of Kyrgyzstan. Jude is the patron saint of lost causes, desperate situations, and the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida. No comment.