In 1764 Holy Catholicos Joseph, like Saint Gregory the Theologian, humbly stepped down from the archpastor’s throne and withdrew to Akhmeta in northeastern Georgia. With his own hands he cultivated a vineyard and distributed his harvest to the poor. The climate in that region was capricious—droughts were frequent, and hail would devastate the fragile crops, laying waste to the farmers’ labors. But while Saint Joseph was laboring there, the region suffered neither drought nor hail.
Through Saint Joseph’s prayers, the sick were healed and the blind received sight. Those who dwelt near him loved him deeply and put their hope in him. Saint Gabriel the Lesser remarked joyfully in one of his writings: “Once I saw and two times I kissed the hand of this holy man.”
Having lived in godliness to a ripe old age, Catholicos Joseph reposed peacefully in the year 1770.