Joseph of Palestine- July 22 (Everyday Saints Series)

Joseph of Palestine- July 22 (Everyday Saints Series) July 22, 2020

Sea of Galilee, where Joseph built churches

Joseph of Tiberias, venerated as Jospeh of Palestine, was a convert from Judaism. He was a contemporary of Emperor Constantine, a Rabbinical scholar, and member of the Sanhedrin. Joseph’s mentor in the Jewish faith was Hillel II. He claimed, while an envoy of the Sanhedrin, to have been cast into the river by the Jews of Cilicia for having been caught reading New Testament books, and to have escaped drowning only by a miracle. It is said that he was so moved by Hillel’s deathbed conversion to Christianity, that he also converted.

After his conversion, Constantine gave him the rank of count, appointed him as supervisor to the church in Palestine, and gave him permission to build churches in Galilee (remember, Constantine ruled the whole show– government, church, everything– at this time). Specifically, though, Joseph wanted to build churches in Jewish towns without Christian communities, yet. He wanted to bring the Faith to his people in a tangible way. Joseph was able to achieve this! One of the churches traditionally attributed to him was the first Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes at Heptapegon, around 350 AD (I know, this probably doesn’t mean a ton to you unless you’re going on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Maybe you should go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land!).

Joseph was married and then married a second time after he became a widower. This was because he greatly opposed the Arian policies of Constantine’s successors. He wanted to avoid being roped into becoming a bishop for their sect, which was plausible because of his high position. Marriage saved him from that fate. Look at that, women saving the men, once again.

At some point, Joseph protected St. Eusebius of Vercelli while he was in exile after standing up to the Arians. Later, Joseph also protected St. Epiphanus. St. Epiphanus, in turn, wrote the biography of St. Joseph. I like these tidbits because it reminds me that no saint stands alone, that we need to rely on each other for our spiritual wellbeing and for our physical wellbeing. This, of course, ultimately points to us needing to rely on God for all our needs.

 

 

Image courtesy of  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Beach_of_Sea_of_Galilee_in_summer_2011.JPG

 

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