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The early life of Joseph is unclear. Before the election he was an archimandrite of the Simonov Monastery. For the first time the patriarch was elected by sortition from candidates offered by tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich in coordination with the Council of Bishops. The election was held on March 20, 1642 in Moscow. Joseph came into office on March 27 and was titled "master" and not "sovereign" (as his predecessor Filaret had been).
Joseph conducted a fairly conservative policy. When Danish prince Valdemar Christian arrived to Moscow in 1644 Joseph began persuading him to adopt Orthodoxy because Valdemar was married to tsarevna Irina Romanova. When Valdemar refused, Joseph opened the debate on June 2, 1644. The debate was limited mainly to the fulfilment of the christening but Orthodox scholars couldn't competently prove their opinion. In 1650 Joseph opened another debate, on Russian and Greek Orthodoxy with Paisius I, the Patriarch of Jerusalem.
Joseph also introduced the so-called adverbial singing instead of deformed khomovoye. He died on Maundy Thursday.
|Orthodox Church titles|
|Patriarch of Moscow|
| Succeeded by|
- (Russian) Русская Церковь при патриархе Иосифе, часть 1
- (Russian) Русская Церковь при патриархе Иосифе, часть 2