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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Like his older brother St. Theodore the Stoudite, Joseph (d. 832; also Joseph the Stoudite) underwent a religious conversion as a young man under the influence of St. Plato of Sakkoudion, whose monastery near Mt. Olympus in Bithynia both soon joined. In perhaps 796, Plato having died and the monastery having suffered a reversal of fortune (largely in consequence of Theodore's refusal to countenance what he considered the adulterous second marriage of emperor Constantine VI), Joseph followed Theodore into exile in Thessaloniki. In 799 the empress Irene (797-802) named Theodore head of the Stoudios monastery of St. John the Baptist in Constantinople; Joseph accompanied his brother there. In late 806 or early 807 Joseph was named metropolitan of Thessaloniki but in 809 he was again exiled, along with Theodore and others of their family, under Nicephorus I. Recalled after the latter's death in 811, he shared his brother's resistance to the iconoclast policies of Leo V (813-21) and so was again in exile from 815 to 821. It is not clear whether Joseph had been able to return to Thessaloniki in or shortly after 811; he certainly was not able to do so in or after 821. He is best known for his encomium of Thessaloniki's great saint Demetrius (BHG 535) and for numerous hymns that for a long time were mistakenly ascribed to his homonym St. Joseph the Hymnographer.

In 844, after the Triumph of Orthodoxy, Theodore's and Joseph's remains were translated into the Stoudios monastery and were there interred next to those of St. Plato of Sakkoudion. In the originally tenth-century Synaxary of Constantinople Joseph is entered under today; this is also Joseph's day of commemoration in the Roman Martyrology.  Modern Byzantine-rite churches celebrate Joseph on 14. July, the day under which he occurs in other medieval calendars.

Joseph of Thessaloniki as depicted (upper register, third from left, following Sts. Andrew Stratelates and Heraclius of Cilicia) by Michael Astrapas and Eutychios in a July calendar composition in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. 1313 and 1318; conservation work in 1968) in the church of St. George in Staro Nagoričane in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:
http://tinyurl.com/j9dqgq6

Best,
John Dillon
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