St Joseph the Metropolitan of Astrakhan

The Hieromartyr Joseph, First Metropolitan of Astrakhan, was born at Astrakhan in 1579. After becoming a monk, St Joseph was made Archimandrite of the Astrakhan Trinity monastery at the age of fifty-two.

In 1656 he was at Moscow, after which he was chosen to be Metropolitan of Astrakhan. On May 11,1672, during an uprising of the townspeople, St Joseph suffered martyrdom at Astrakhan. This sad event was recorded in detail by two eyewitnesses, priests of the Astrakhan cathedral, Cyril and Peter.

The priests took the body of the martyr, dressed it in bishop’s vestments, and placed it in a prepared grave. On the following day, after serving a Panikhida, the saint’s body was taken to a chapel, and it remained unburied for nine days. The relics of the holy hierarch were placed into the grave, and were soon glorified by miracles.

St Joseph was glorified at the Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in April 1918.