A century has passed since the birth of Elder Joseph of Vatopedi and 12 years since his blessed repose in the Lord. One of the most beloved elders of the Holy Mountain, Father Joseph fell asleep in the Lord, on his birthday, on July 1, 2009.
A miracle happened immediately after his passing into eternity: he smiled for more than 45 minutes after his death.
“Elder Joseph’s mouth had remained open for a long time immediately after his passing and despite all their efforts, the monks present were unable to close it.
In accordance with the Athonite custom, the Elder’s Body was wrapped in his monastic cloak which was then sewn up.”
“After a while, on the instructions of Abbot Efraim, the body was placed on a bier, and a hole was cut in the cloak to expose his face and another to expose his right hand for veneration.”
“To the astonishment of all, Elder Joseph’s mouth had not only closed but his face was now beaming miraculously with a smile! Not only his lips but his eyes and cheeks. And the colour had even returned to his lips and face.”
Elder Joseph was born on July 1, 1921, in the courtyard of the Holy Unmercenaries Monastery in Giolos, Cyprus, exactly during the festive Divine Liturgy celebrated on the feast day of Sts Cosmas and Damianos.
In the world, he bore the name of Socrates. He arrived at the Holy Mount Athos in 1946, at the age of 25, being one of the few cell disciples of Saint Joseph the Hesychast (the Spilaiotis or the Cave-dweller), whose holy and ascetic life is well known today.
After establishing the monastic brotherhood, the cell of Nea Skete was renovated and enlarged. He remained here until 1988, when the entire brotherhood settled at Vatopedi Monastery, thus reviving this monastery.
Until 1990, he dealt with the spiritual guidance of Vatopedi Monastery. The spiritual leadership was then taken by one of his disciples, abbot Ephraim.
As a token of divine providence, monk Joseph of Vatopedi fell asleep in the Lord on July 1, 2009, on his 88th birthday.