His birth name was Ioann (Russian: Иоанн, a form of John). As a teenager, Ioann knew most of the biblical texts by heart and strove to become a monk. His father, however, insisted that he marry. Once, Ioann asked his father's permission to see his confessor in the Uspensky Monastery in their native town of Staritsa (Tver Oblast). Upon his arrival, Ioann immediately took monastic vows and assumed the religious name of Job. He spent fifteen years in the cloister and finally became its abbot in 1566 with the help of Ivan the Terrible, who had made Staritsa his residence during the time of the Oprichnina.
Known as a person of mediocre mental abilities, he nevertheless managed to draw the attention of Boris Godunov by his talent for reading the longest of prayers by heart in a very expressive manner. During the reign of Feodor I (whose government was controlled by Boris Godunov), Job was appointed archbishop of Rostov and Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia in 1587.
Realizing the necessity of strengthening the ecclesiastic authority in Russia, Godunov managed to persuade the Patriarch of Constantinople Jeremias II to establish a patriarchate in Russia. On 26 January 1589, Job was elected the first Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. He exercised all his influence and played a major part in Boris Godunov's ascending to the Russian throne.
Job did not approve, however, of Godunov's proposal to open a university in Moscow staffed with foreign professors because he believed their influence and non-Orthodox faith would spread heterodoxy and endanger the purity of the Russian Church. Under Job's supervision, the Russians corrected books for the divine services and prepared them for publication.
He assisted in the glorification (canonization) of some of the Russian saints, ordering the celebration of the memory of Basil Fool for Christ in 1588, as well as that of Joseph Volotsky and others. Patriarch Job also favored the construction of new cathedrals and monasteries and Christian missionary activities in the recently conquered Astrakhan Khanate and Siberia. After the mysterious death of tsarevich Dmitry Ivanovich in 1591, Job accepted the non-criminal version of his demise, supporting Boris Godunov every step of the way.
After the invasion of False Dmitriy I and sudden death of Boris Godunov on 1 June 1605, there was an uprising in Moscow.
Job was known as a harsh critic of False Dmitriy I and he tried to persuade the people of Moscow to remain loyal to the deceased tsar. The armed supporters of the impostor burst into the Cathedral of the Dormition and a boyar named P. F. Basmanov declared Job a traitor. Job was sent into exile to his monastery in Staritsa, where he went completely blind and finally died a very sick man in 1607.
In 1652, Job's relics were transferred to the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Moscow Kremlin, where they remain to this day. Patriarch Job was glorified as a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1989.
|Orthodox Church titles|
|Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia|
| Succeeded by|