Based on the Synodikon of the Solovetsk Monastery in northern Russian about 1500 AD -- the exact date is unknown -- the Priestmonk Jonah was born in the Pomeranian village of Varzuga in Russia's northern Murmansk district. After serving as a parish priest, he entered the Pechenga Monastery, where he became a close disciple of Saint Tryphon.
Saint Jonah was martyred in December 1589 -- one year before the beginning of the Russian-Swedish War -- during an attack on the monastery by Swedish-Finnish invaders. Tradition holds that he and his concelebrant, the Priestmonk Herman, were martyred during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, as they were receiving the Eucharist. They, together with 115 monks and laypersons killed during the invasion, were venerated throughout the Novgorod region. In 2003, they were formally glorified by the Russian Orthodox Church for Church-wide veneration.