Toliara, Madagascar, June 16, 2021
Construction on the Church of St. Joseph the Hesychast at Madagascar’s first male monastery was completed one year ago. And on Saturday, June 12, the church was consecrated by Bishop Prodromos of Toliara and South Madagascar
Bp. Prodromos himself had laid the foundation stone for the church, together with the then newly-formed brotherhood, in December 2019.
Every diocese needs two lungs to fully function—parishes and monasteries, Bp. Prodromos told Orthodoxia News Agency. Thus, it was decided to found the Monastery of St. Joseph the Hesychast, who was canonized by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in March last year.
St. Joseph was chosen as the patron for the monastery because of his great importance for contemporary monasticism, Bp. Prodromos said.
“For us, St. Joseph the Hesychast, I think, for contemporary monasticism, is a new Anthony the Great, a Pachomius of our time. We know that his [spiritual] children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren have become novices and monastics in a number of monasteries on Athos, and monasticism on Mt. Athos has experienced a new flowering; they have tasted the fruits of St. Joseph the Hesychast,” His Grace explained.
“I thought about, I thought about our work here, and about monasticism here, and I realized it would be good if it was with the blessing of St. Joseph the Hesychast,” he continued.
He also noted that they had plans to found a monastery in his honor before he was even canonized.
There were about 80 people present at the consecration, the bishop said. Many people love the Church, and the young people love monasticism, so they wanted to personally experience this important event in the life of the new monastery.
The holy habitation will also be home to a missionary seminary, Bp. Prodromos noted.
“We must properly prepare new priests, who need to gain experience in life that they don’t have yet. In the monastery, action becomes experience. We, here in Madagascar, I confess before the Lord, have seen St. Joseph the Hesychast himself. And we have seen his presence in many ways,” the hierarch reflected.
Last August, a church was consecrated in honor of St. Joseph the Hesychast in Tbilisi, Georgia.