Archimandrite Justin Popović (1894-1979), canonised formally on 2 May 2010
The Archpastoral Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) officially canonised Simeon Popović, who died in 1941, and Archimandrite Justin Popović, who died in 1979. Well known in Russia, Archimandrite Justin wrote prophetically that there would come a time when evil would come wearing an appealing disguise. As reported on Friday by the website Pravoslavie.ru, the SPC Archpastoral Council unanimously approved the proposal of the ruling bishops for the canonization of these saints. The formal glorification will take place on 2 May, during the liturgy. Recently a book by Justin Popović was published in Russia, Догматика Православной Церкви (The Dogma of the Orthodox Church).
Archimandrite Justin was born in 1894 in the town of Vranje in southern Serbia in a very devout family. After graduating from seminary in 1914, the future Archimandrite Justin served in a medical company in a military hospital in Niš. In 1916, he became a monk. Then, Fr Justin studied at the Petrograd Theological Academy, Oxford, and the Theological Faculty of Athens University. After his studies, he was a seminary professor, engaged in missionary activity, and wrote theological works. From 1921 to 1925, Fr Justin kept a prayer diary. For example, on 15 January 1921, he wrote, “In total, I did 1,000 reverences and read 1,150 prayers”.
St Simeon Popovich of Dajbabe (1854-1941), a monastic who lived in Crna Gora (Montenegro) and founded the world-famous Monastery of the Assumption, he painted the icons in the church, which was cut into a cave.
During the German occupation of 1941-45, Fr Justin hid in various monasteries, doing translations of the lives of the saints and patristic writings. Once, a leader of the liberation movement, Dragoljub Mihailović, asked Fr Justin to explain the relationship of the Church to the state. Fr Justin said, “The Church should obey the authorities, as long as they maintain the divine order in the world, if they act as the servants of God, and if they live according to the commandments of God. If the government rejects God and acts against God, then, it turns into a veritable personification of violence and it thereby ceases to be of God, it becomes a power of the devil”.
In 1945, when Serbia fell under Communist rule, Archimandrite Justin was dismissed from his teaching post at Belgrade University, he was accused, through rumours, of insanity, and he was arrested. Until the end of 1946, he was imprisoned. The Communists wished to shoot Archimandrite Justin as an enemy of the people, but he was saved by a personal appeal made by Patriarch Gavrilo Dožić. When Archimandrite Justin was released from prison, he could not find a refuge, no monastery dared to shelter him for long. In the spring of 1948, Archimandrite Justin settled at the convent of Ćelije, living there until his death. All this time, the security police monitored Archimandrite Justin and periodically summoned him for questioning. His movement and social interaction were controlled. In 1960, Archimandrite Justin wrote a stirring manifesto on the situation of the Serbian Orthodox Church. It stated, amongst other things, “For a full fifteen years, the godless Communist régime planned a systematic war against the Serbian Orthodox Church with the ultimate ideological purpose of completely destroying [the Church]”. However, no further significant repressions ensued. Archimandrite Justin died in 1979.
In his book Догматика Православной Церкви: Эсхатология (The Dogma of the Orthodox Church: Eschatology), Archimandrite Justin wrote prophetically about what will happen on the earth before the arrival of the Antichrist. “The narrow-minded fans of the evil one will succeed in wickedness, they will use a drop of honey in their poison of evil, evil will come wearing an appealing disguise, and lawlessness would multiply with inhuman force”. In addition, Archimandrite Justin wrote later in this book, “All the activities of the Antichrist and all his forerunners in the human race have one purpose… to proclaim that all the laws of God and the laws of Christ are corrupt, treacherous, and fatal to people and for mankind in general. Therefore, they want to reject them and replace them with other laws, with opposite content and inverted sense”.
30 April 2010