St Juvenal the Patriarch of Jerusalem

Saint Juvenal , Patriarch of Jerusalem, occupied the throne of the Holy City during the years 420-458. During this period great luminaries of the Church enlightened the world: Sts Euthymius the Great (January 20), Simeon the Stylite (September 1), Gerasimus of Jordan (March 4), and many others.

St Juvenal was a friend and converser with St Euthymius the Great. During St Juvenal’s archpastoral service, the Eastern Church was troubled by dangerous false teachings, which he opposed with a pastoral zeal, safeguarding the flock of Christ.

The Third Ecumenical Council was convened in the city of Ephesus in 431. It condemned the heresy of Nestorius, which was opposed to the Orthodox teaching of the divine nature of Jesus Christ. St Cyril of Alexandria (June 9) presided at this Council, and among his colleagues was Patriarch Juvenal.

In 451, the Fourth Ecumenical Council met in the city of Chalcedon. It condemned the Eutchian [Monophysite] heresy, which taught that the human nature in Christ was totally swallowed up and absorbed by the divine nature. The holy Fathers, among them St Juvenal, condemned the heresy of Eutychius and affirmed the Orthodox doctrine of the union of two natures in the Lord Jesus Christ, the divine and the human, without separation and without mixture. The heretics, however, continued to confuse the minds of Christians.

At the head of the heretics stood Theodosius, who had won over to his side the widow of the emperor Theodosius the Younger (+ 450), named Eudokia, who lived at Jerusalem. He demanded that Patriarch Juvenal repudiate the Council of Chalcedon, that is, that he should renounce the Orthodox dogma of the two natures in Christ.

St Juvenal would not agree to embrace falsehood, and bravely confessed the Chalcedon doctrine before the heretics. Theodosius and his adherents then deposed Patriarch Juvenal from the patriarchal throne. The saint withdrew to Constantinople, to Patriarch Anatolius (July 3) and the emperor Marcian. The heretic Theodosius, under the patronage of Eudokia, occupied the patriarchal throne in Palestine, but only for twenty months. Emperor Marcian, holding St Juvenal in high esteem, placed him on the patriarchal throne once more, and so the holy confessor returned to Jerusalem.

The saint made many efforts to restore Church peace. At the suggestion of St Simeon the Stylite, the empress Eudokia repented before St Juvenal and returned to communion with the Orthodox. A large part of the Jerusalem flock, who had been led astray by the heretics, followed her. Having defeated the pernicious heresies, and having established oneness of mind and propriety, Patriarch Juvenal died peacefully among his faithful flock, after serving as a bishop for thirty-eight years.