Saint Philoumenos of Jacob’s Well in Nablus, West Bank
Commemorated on November 29
The holy martyr of the 20th century, Philoumenos the Cypriot, came from the village of Orounta of the province of Morphou. From a young age, he along with his brother Elpidios apprenticed the sacred letters of Christ near their grandmother. They namely studied the lives of the Saints and hymns of the Church. The Saint at the time, along with his brother left for the Monastery of Stavrovouni and stayed there for five years. Afterwards, they both left for Jerusalem. Saint Philoumenos stayed in Jerusalem for 46 years. The Saint found a martyred death by fanatic Zionist Jews who massacred him in the evening while he was doing vespers at the Well of Jacob where he lived, on November 29, 1979 a loyal guardian of the Holy Places and ways of centuries.
The week before, a group of fanatical Zionists came to the monastery at Jacob’s Well, claiming it as a Jewish holy place and demanding that all crosses and icons be removed. The group left with threats, insults and obscenities of the kind which local Christians suffer regularly. After a few days, on November 29th, during a torrential downpour, a group broke into the monastery; the saint had already put on his epitrachelion for Vespers. The piecemeal chopping of the three fingers with which he made the Sign of the Cross showed that he was tortured in an attempt to make him deny his Orthodox Christian Faith. His face was cloven in the form of the Cross. The church and holy things were all defiled.The body of the Saint was handed over to the Orthodox six days after his massacre, but retained its flexibility and was buried in the cemetery of Mount Zion.
After four years, as is customary his body was exhumed. It was found to be substantially incorrupt and had a beautiful scent. Then, the tomb was closed and was reopened during the Christmas of 1984, when the body was found to be partially incorrupt and was placed in a glass shrine in the northern part of the sacred Holy Altar in Mount Zion. Hieromartyr Philoumenos was ranked among the Saints of the Church of Jerusalem on August 30th 2008, and hence then, his incorrupt body was transferred to the pilgrimage of Jacob’s Well where he found martyrdom for the love of Christ. His memory is honored on November 29th.”
Troparion of Saint Philoumenos (Tone 4)
At Jacob’s Well you were proved well named:
loving Christ, confessing Him, pouring out your sacred blood.
Being faithful in small things you were set over great.
Worshipping in Spirit and in Truth,
you are now Guardian of the Holy Places forever.