Orthodox America

  Golgotha Skete of the Crucifixion

The founder of Golgotha Skete, Saint Job (Joshua in schema), was a parish priest in his native Moscow, where he led a strict, almost monastic manner of life. His love for people was astonishing, and he was particularly responsive to the needs of the poor and those in prison. Reports of the good pastor reached the ears of Tsar Peter I, who chose him to serve as his confessor. Eventually, because of a false accusation, the tsar had the holy one exiled to the Solovki Monastery. There he was tonsured and the following year, 1702, he transferred for greater solitude to the Anzersk Skete of the Holy Trinity, where he was soon appointed superior. In 1710, in response to a vision of the Mother of God, he founded a skete on Golgotha Hill, a steep wooded hill some four miles from the Skete of the Holy Trinity. The monastic rule there was particularly intense: prayers were conducted 24 hours a day. Tsar Peter learned that Saint Job had been slandered and wanted him back as his confessor, but when the elder refused, the tsar did not force the issue and became one of the new skete's most generous benefactors. The Saint was vouchsafed the gift of clairvoyance, and reposed, as it had been revealed to him, on the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, March 6, 1720.

Under the communists, Golgotha Skete became the "epicenter" of the Solovki concentration camp. Here prisoners were sent for punishment; here many of them ascended their own Golgotha and acquired a martyr's crown. Thus was fulfilled the prophecy of the Mother of God: "This hill will turn white with the blood of countless sufferers."