Amphilochius of Pochayiv
|Amphilochius of Pochayiv|
Portrait of Saint Amphilochius
27 November 1894|
|Died||1 January 1971(aged 76)|
|Venerated in||Ukrainian Orthodox Church|
|Canonized||11 May 2002|
Amphilochius of Pochayiv was born Yakov Varnavovich Golovatyuk on 27 November 1894 in the village of Mala Ilovytsya (Mala Ilowica in Polish), in Shumskyi raion of Ternopil oblast in western Ukraine, at that time part of Austria-Hungary. The village of Mala Ilovytsya is located in the Ilovetska valley, which is 7 km (4 mi) wide, and is surrounded by the Kremenets mountains. It is the northernmost village of Ternopil oblast, off the main roads and surrounded by forested areas. A remarkable tree grows in the village, a 350-year-old ash tree.
Yakov was one of 10 children. His father, Varnava, was an able craftsman, and experienced bone-setter. Yakov often assisted his father in caring for people who came for help.
In 1912 he was drafted into the army of the Tsar. During the First World War he served in Lutsk and then in Tomsk, where he was a medical attendant at the hospital. Later he was posted to the front where a number of his best friends perished, and he was captured as a prisoner of war by the Austrians, though he later managed to flee.
Joining Pochayiv Lavra
Having returned home, he intended to marry but the priest blessed him and told him to join Pochayiv monastery. Yakiv humbly accepted and went to the Uspens’ka (Dormition) Lavra in Pochayiv in 1925. On 8 July 1932 he was tonsured a monk through postryh (clipping of hair ceremony) and took the name Joseph (Yosyp in Ukrainian). On September 27, 1936, he was ordained a hieromonk.
Amphilochius spent much time praying in front of the miraculous icons of Pochayiv. He was appointed the caretaker of the God’s Mother’s Foot. God’s Mother’s Foot is a rock footprint left after apparition of Virgin Mary in Pochayiv around 1240.
His earlier work with his father and experience as a medic during the war gave him some skill in healing, and many people came to the Lavra seeking his help. The Archimandrite Abbot of the monastery of the lavra blessed Hieromonk Joseph in this work and allowed him to settle in a small house near the cemetery of the monastery, so as not to disturb the other monks. There the venerable Amphilochius spent 20 years ministering to the sick.
The Soviet regime which seized power after the war wished to stem the constant stream of people seeking healing from the pious monk. Fr. Joseph resisted their attempts to close the Lavra, and was subsequently incarcerated in a psychiatric hospital where he was injected with drugs.
- (Ukrainian) By First Ukrainian Orthodox TV Channel
- (Ukrainian) By Olena Karetnyk of Orthodoxy in Ukraine
- (Ukrainian) Detailed biography of Saint Amphilochios, Pochayiv Lavra Website, Ukraine