Saint Joseph the Merciful – Son of Bessarabia and Spiritual Father of Moldavia

On the occasion of the local proclamation of the canonization of Saint Joseph the Merciful, Metropolitan of Moldavia, at his native village of Răzălăi, Sîngerei District, Republic of Moldova, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania conveyed a message in which he referred to the Saint as a Son of Bessarabia and a Spiritual Father of Moldavia.

Please find below the full text of the message.

Saint Joseph the Merciful – Son of Bessarabia and Spiritual Father of Moldavia: full text

During its working session on 5-6 October 2017, the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church resolved to glorify Metropolitan Joseph Naniescu of Moldavia and Suceava (1875-1902), a holy hierarch with a theological background, a pious and merciful person, a wise teacher and spiritual father, founder of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Iasi, and a tireless shepherd of the faithful people.

It is noteworthy that Saint Joseph the Merciful was born in Bessarabia (Răzălăi village) exactly two hundred years ago (1818), he lived in Iasi, Buzau, Bucharest, Arges, and once again in Iasi.

This fact showed in a symbolic way the spiritual communion of Romanians from different regions who were united in the same faith and love of their nation.

This year on the feast of the Annunciation (March 25), marking the 100th anniversary of the Union of Bessarabia with the Motherland, we had the joy to solemnly proclaim at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Iasi the canonization of Saint Joseph the Merciful, Metropolitan of Moldavia, in the presence of the hierarchs of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church, of clergymen and participating faithful.

The Holy Scripture notes that ‘God is wonderful in His Saints’ (Psalm 67:36). This means that God – the only source of holiness – shares His holiness with humans as they seek God and fulfil His will in their lives.

That is why Saint Paul the Apostle urges us saying ‘Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord’ (Hebrews 12:14).

Since man was created in the image of the eternal and holy God and called to His likeness (Genesis 1:26-27), holiness is man’s true life, or the fulfilment of human nature.

In this sense, we are all called to a holy life according to the word of our Lord Jesus Christ ‘Be therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect’ (Matthew 5:48).

All people are called to become saints, but only those who respond to God’s calling and cultivate their communion with the Only Holy One through prayer and good deeds finally become saints.

Saints are God’s closest friends and the keenest to prayer among humans.

A Saint is the bearer of Christ’s humble love for the world and the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit who us with groanings which cannot be uttered wishes that every believer grow spiritually to resemble God (Romans 8:26-30).

The Orthodox Church venerates the saints as human icons of the work of the Holy Spirit, but also as the wisest teachers of men and their closest friends, since they are God’s closest friends.

Today, in the face of secularization, Saints teach us that if we forget God, we will quickly forget the eternal and unique value of every human being, for the sacred purpose of earthly human life is the pursuit of eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 6:33).

In the face of the temptation to gather material wealth, the Saints teach us to practice charity, that is, to discover the spiritual force of being generous and merciful as God is merciful (Luke 6:36).

In the face of the temptation to affirm ourselves through selfish love of dominion over others, Saints teach us how to find Christ’s humble love for all people.

Saints always teach us to discover through constant prayer the joy of communion in Christ’s Church, as the provision of the joy in the Kingdom of Heaven (Romans 14:17).

Today, by the will of God and the benevolence of His Eminence Metropolitan Teofan of Moldavia and Bukovina, a particle of the relics of Saint Joseph the Merciful, Metropolitan of Moldavia, is being brought as a spiritual gift, as a token of appreciation and blessing, to the Orthodox parish in St Joseph the Merciful’s hometown, the village of Răzălăi, Singerei district of the Republic of Moldova, because the holy icons and relics of Christ’s strengthen the godliness of the faithful and the communion of the Church.

Let us pray to Saint Joseph the Merciful, to all the saints of the Romanian people and to all the saints of God to illuminate our minds, to warm our hearts and to strengthen our will to love Christ and His Church more in the light, peace and joy of the Most Holy Trinity.


Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church


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