A delegation from Putna Monastery visited the Romanian community in the United States of America between May 17 and June 1. Abbot Melchisedec Velnic offered the Romanians a fragment of the relics of Saint Jacob of Putna.
During the itinerary, the delegation’s first stop was at “Saints Constantine and Helen” Metropolitan Cathedral in Chicago to celebrate the patronal feast and the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Cathedral.
Abbot Melchisedec brought the holy relics for veneration.
“What brought Saint Jacob the closest to God? The boundless love, the wide heart he had, the unceasing prayer for which he fought”, said the Abbot.
“Here, St. Jacob of Putna wanted a particle of his relics to come here in America to you. So, my beloved, whenever you get the chance, cry out to him. Whenever the children don’t listen to you, tell him, and he’ll know what to do. Whenever there is an impasse in the family between husband and wife, complain to him, and he will solve it,” said Archim. Melchisedec.
Next, the delegation went to “Saint Demetrius the New” Monastery in Middletown.
His Eminence Metropolitan Nicolae of the two Americas celebrated the Divine Liturgy on May 27, with Abbot Melchisedec and the other concelebrating priests and deacons.
The “Act of Donation” of the holy relics was also read. The relics will remain in the heritage of St Demetrius the New monastery.
At the end, the abbot of Putna Monastery offered a lecture in which he recalled the lives of Putna’s elders and reflected on being a Christian today.
He spoke to the faithful about the great clergymen of Romania whom he personally met, thus making them partakers of the spirit of these fathers and thus offering living models for our days.
St. Jacob (1719-1778) was the most distinguished bishop and pastor of the Church of 18th-century Moldavia.
In 1731, he entered the monastic ranks at Putna Monastery, being elected abbot in 1744. He served as Bishop of Radauti from 1745 to 1750 and of Moldova from 1750 to 1760.
During that time, he laboured tirelessly to increase the spiritual level of his flock, printing spiritual literature for all ages and establishing spiritual schools. In 1760 he retired again into monastic simplicity for the remaining eighteen years of his life.
The crypt of St. Jacob was opened on June 15, 2016. His bones were found to have a ruddy colour, considered a sign of holiness and perfection in the Lord.
St. Jacob was buried simply and humbly, wearing only his monastic garments and a simple silver cross, despite bearing the episcopal dignity of a metropolitan during his life. Thus he went to the grave in the same spirit of humility that characterised his entire life.