José Muñoz-Cortes

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Brother Jose Muñoz-Cortes, with the Montreal Iveron Icon of the Mother of God.

Jose Muñoz-Cortes (1950, Chile - 1997, Greece) was a Chilean convert to Orthodox Christianity who became interested in monasticism, and became the guardian of the miracle-working myrrh-streaming Iveron Icon of the Mother of God (Montreal Icon). He was martyred on October 31 in his hotel room in Athens, Greece.

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Life

Joseph was born in Chile into a pious Roman Catholic family of Spanish descent. He was a boy of twelve when became acquainted with Archbishop Leonty of Chile and under his influence José was baptized into the Russian Orthodox Church two years later, with his mother's consent. He began to lead a monastic life as best he could within the confines of the world, although he did not enter a monastery. Later he moved to Canada and continued to observe this way of life.

A talented artist, he secured a job teaching art at the University of Montreal, and began studying iconography.

In the summer of 1982, Brother Joseph went to Mount Athos with a particular interest in visiting some sketes and monasteries specializing in icon painting. At the small skete of the Nativity of Christ, the abbot, Fr. Klimentos, greeted Brother Joseph's group warmly and offered traditional Athonite hospitality. Then he took them to see the skete's icon-painting studio.

Brother Joseph felt an immediate and strong attraction for an icon of the Mother of God, a contemporary (1981) copy of the ancient and revered Iveron Icon. It was one of the first icons which had been painted at this skete, by one Fr. Chrysostomos in 1981. He was disappointed to learn that it was not for sale, but to his great joy, as he was leaving the skete, Abbot Clement, unexpectedly handed the icon to him, saying that it pleased the Mother of God to go with him to America.

Brother Jose's gravesite and monument.

Back in Montreal, Brother Joseph began reading an akathist daily before the icon. A few weeks later, on November 25, he awoke and smelled a strong fragrance. The new icon was streaked with myrrh, miraculously emanating from the hands of the Mother of God.

For the next fifteen years, as myrrh continued to flow from the Icon, Brother Joseph devoted himself to its care, accompanying it on numerous trips to parishes all over the United States and Canada, to South America, Australia, and Europe. Brother Joseph was also faithful in fulfilling the countless requests for prayers that he received, daily commemorating scores of people, among whom were several dozen godchildren.

Martyrdom

Jose was tortured and murdered in a hotel room in Athens, Greece on the night of October 31, 1997, possibly by a group of Satanists. He had planned to return to Canada the following day to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the appearance of the miraculous myrrh on the icon.

See also

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Sources

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