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Joseph the Hymnographer

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The future Saint Joseph the Hymnographer was born in Sicily in 816, the son of Plotinus and Agatha, who were Christians. In 830, he and his family moved to Greece to escape the Arab invasions of Sicily. After being brought up by pious parents, he became a monk at the [[monastery]] of Latmos in his youth. Due to his piety and love towards God as a monk, he was praised by Saint Gregory the Dekapolite, who brought Joseph to Constantinople. Together with Saint Gregory, Saint Joseph staunchly defended the reverence of icons and preached his stance to others.
This was during the time of iconoclastic [[heresy]] in the Orthodox Church in Constantinople where both the patriarch and the emperor, Leo the Armenian, were iconoclasts. Saint Joseph was chosen by the Orthodox monks of Constantinople as a messenger to Pope Leo III, who was still in unity with the Eastern Church, to obtain his assistance. During this trip, Joseph was captured by Arab bandits, who delivered him to the [[iconoclasts]] for imprisonment. While in prison he inspired others to stand strong against the [[heretic|heretics]]. It was also during his imprisonment that Saint [[Nicholas of Myra]] appeared to him in a vision and asked him to sing in the name of God. After six years of captivity Saint Joseph was freed from prison.
After being freed he returned to Constantinople where he founded a monastery dedicated to Saint Gregory Dekapolite, who was no longer living by this time. He also dedicated a [[church]] in the name of [[Apostle Bartholomew]], whom he honored greatly. While in strict fasting before the Feast of the Apostle Bartholomew, the [[apostle]] appeared to him in a dream and encouraged him to write hymns for the church. After writing his first hymn in honor of Apostle Bartholomew, Saint Joseph dedicated other hymns to Saint Nicholas, who freed him from prison, the [[Theotokos]], and other saints. He is credited with composing about 1,000 hymns.
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