Pope Joseph I of Alexandria

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Joseph I of Alexandria
52nd Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark
Papacy began 831
Papacy ended 2 November 849
Predecessor Simeon II
Successor Michael II
Personal details
Born 771
Menouf, Egypt
Died 2 November 849
Buried Saint Mark's Church
Nationality Egyptian
Denomination Coptic Orthodox Christian
Residence Saint Mark's Church
Feast day 2 November

Saint Joseph I of Alexandria (Abba Yousab), 52nd Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark.

He was the son of one of the rich nobles of Menouf, Egypt. When his parents departed and left him, certain believers raised him. When he grew up he gave most of his money as alms, then went to the desert of St. Macarius the Great and became monk with a holy old man. When Abba Marcus II became the 49th Pope of Alexandria and heard about Yousab's conduct, he called him. When Yousab wished to go back to the desert, Abba Marcus ordained him a priest and sent him back. He stayed in the desert for a period of time till the departure of Abba Simon II, 51st Pope.

The papal throne remained unoccupied until some of the bishops agreed with some of the laymen of Alexandria to choose a married man who had bribed them. When the rest of the bishops knew that, they detested their action and prayed to God to guide them to whom He choose. The Lord guided them to Abba Yousab and they remembered his good conduct and management while he was with the father Abba Marcus.

They sent some of the bishops to bring him. They prayed to God saying, "We beseech Thee, O Lord, if Thou have chosen this father for this honor, let the sign be that we find his door open upon our arrival." When they arrived they found his door open, for he was bidding farewell to some visiting monks. When he was about to close his door, he saw them coming, so he received them with joy and welcomed them to his cell. When they entered, they seized him and told him, "Axios" (i.e. He is worthy). He cried out and wept. He started to reveal to them his shortcomings and sins. But they did not accept his excuses and they took him to Alexandria and placed their hands over him.

When he sat upon the throne of St. Mark, he greatly cared for the churches. He bought, with what remained of his own income, properties and bestowed them on the churches. He continually taught the people and did not neglect any of them. However, Satan became envious and brought much sorrow upon him. The bishops of Tanes and Miser (Cairo), angered the people of their parishes (because of the matter of dues). Abba Yousab condemned their actions and asked them often to be merciful to their flocks, but they would not accept his behest. Their flocks cried out to him saying, "If you force us to obey them, we shall turn to another denomination." He exerted a great effort to reconcile between them, but it was in vain. He called the bishops from their parishes and told them about these two bishops and repudiated their works. The bishops excommunicated them.

When they were excommunicated, they went to the Governor in Cairo and brought a false accusation against this father. The Governor sent his brother, the Prince, with some soldiers to bring the Patriarch to him. When they came to the Patriarch, the Governor's brother drew his sword to kill him. But the Lord thrust aside his hand and the sword struck a pillar and was broken. The Prince became furiously angry, so he drew his dagger and drove it with all his might into the side of this father. The dagger did not do any harm to him other than cutting his apparel, and it did not reach his flesh.

The Prince realized that the Patriarch had divine grace, and heavenly protection guarded him from being slain. He respected him and brought him to his brother and told him about what had happened. The Governor also respected and feared him. The Governor asked the Patriarch about the accusation that was made against him. The Patriarch proved to him the falsehoods of these accusations and informed him about the matter of the two bishops. The Governor was convinced and honored the Patriarch and ordered that no one should disobey him in any ordination or removal of any bishops or in any other work concerning the church.

He continually preached to the sinners and admonished the disobedient, establishing the people in the Orthodox faith which he had received from his fathers. He interpreted to them what was hard for them to understand, guarding them with his teachings and prayers. God made manifest great signs and wonders through this holy father.

Having finished his life, he died in peace after having sat on the throne of St. Mark 19 years and having been a monk for 39 years, before which he had lived about 20 years.

Preceded by
Simeon II
Coptic Pope
Succeeded by
Michael II