Jose Munoz-Cortez

Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,

Under the section entitled “The Chosen One of the Mother of God,” you will touch upon the remarkable fate of a person who in our down to earth, rational era, gave his life for a great Orthodox holy treasure. That person was Jose Munoz-Cortes, who dedicated 15 years of his life to being caretaker of the miraculous “Montreal-Iveron” Icon of the Mother of God, also known as the “Portaitissa,” or “Keeper of the Portal” Icon. On the night of October 30-31, 1997, in Athens, Greece, after being submitted to protracted tortures, he was murdered. Thirteen days later, he was interred at the Holy Trinity Monastery's cemetery in Jordanville, New York, where his gravesite has become a revered place of pilgrimage and prayer.

Many faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and everyone who had had the opportunity to pray before the Miraculous Icon of the Mother of God in brother Jose's care, reacted to his death and to the disappearance of the Montreal Icon with profoundly heart-felt pain.

What led to brother Jose's murder and to the disappearance of the Holy Icon?

In 2002, ROCOR's Archpastors answered that question in a special “Appeal on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Miraculous 'Iveron-Myrrh-streaming Icon of the Mother of God.”:

“This icon, which abundantly streamed miracle-working myrrh for 15 years, consoled our Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, a visible and tangible symbol of the mercy of the intercession of the Mother of God for us sinners ...Did we act in a worthy manner during the presence in our Church of this Icon, which clearly performed miracles? Did we put to good use this visitation of the Mother of Our Lord for our souls, and is it not our collective sin of having grown cold towards this holy Icon and in our prayers, cold to the works of charity and witness to the Orthodox faith, that was the reason for its disappearance, through God's will?

With tremulous gratitude we prayerfully recall the arrival of this wondrous myrrh-streaming Icon in our Church, and with repentance we pray to the Most-Holy Mother of God for the forgiveness of our transgressions, for peace to reign in our Orthodox Church.....”

While brother Jose was yet alive, we grew used to the Miracle. Despite brother Jose's admonition that “one should not become used to a miracle, some people became indifferent to this concrete manifestation of God's mercy.”

By God's grace, in early October, 2007, the year in which canonical unity within the Russian Orthodox Church was restored, a myrrh-streaming copy of the “Montreal-Iveron” Icon appeared in Hawaii. Through the appearance of that miraculous icon, the “Hawaiian” Icon, the Lord is showing us the path toward our remediation, our reformation.

Brother Jose and the “Montreal” Icon were inseparable. Together, they departed from us. The miracle of the original icon has returned to us sinners, and our remembrance of brother Jose must return as well.

It is our hope that the collection of materials on our website will further his veneration and his recognition as a martyr by the entire Church.

We invite you, dear readers, to join in the process of glorifying the Chosen One of the Mother of God, one of the last Orthodox martyrs of the 20th Century. Send us, at , your reminiscences of brother Jose, and your accounts of miraculous assistance rendered to you by God's grace according to brother Jose's prayers. Request Panikhidas to be served for brother Jose. Tell everyone you can about him, and print and distribute materials about him from our site.

O Lord, Thy will be done!
Archpriest Victor Potapov

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