Juvenal of Jerusalem

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Our father among the saints Juvenal of Jerusalem (Greek: Άγιος Ιουβενάλιος) was the Bishop of the Church of Jerusalem from 420 to 458. Following the Fourth Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon, in 451, that recognized the see of Jerusalem as a Patriarchate, he became the first Patriarch of Jerusalem, an office he occupied until his death in 458. His feast day is July 2.


Little is known of his youth, including his birth and early life. He was a friend of St. Euthymius the Great, and uncle (through his sister Sosana) of St. Nina of Georgia.

Juvenal participated in the Third Ecumenical Council, convened in Ephesus in 431, where he sided with Cyril of Alexandria against Nestorius in the condemnation of Nestorius for heresy. Juvenal also wanted to make Jerusalem into a primary see by demoting the Metropolitan see of Caesarea Palaestina and the primary see of Antioch. However, Cyril refused to help Bp. Juvenal promote his claims.

Juvenal attended the Second Council of Ephesus of 449, a Robber Council that was dominated by Dioscorus of Alexandria and resulted in the restoration of the heretic Eutyches and the deposition and banishment of Patr. Flavian of Constantinople and Bp. Eusebius of Dorylaeum.

Juvenal also participated in the Fourth Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon. When Dioscorus was tried for violation of canonical law, Juvenal voted for his condemnation. At Chalcedon, Bp. Juvenal reached the culmination of the quest of the bishops of Jerusalem for recognition of Jerusalem as an apostolic see.

During the early centuries of Christianity the see of Jerusalem/Aelia Capitolina was subordinate to that of Caesarea Palaestina, usually known as Caesarea. From the time of the First Ecumenical Council at Nicea in 325, the bishops of Jerusalem strived to have the prestige of see of Jerusalem increased. At the council in Nicea, Jerusalem was recognized in the seventh canon in a vague statement: "As custom and ancient tradition show that the bishop of Aelia (Jerusalem) ought to be honored, he shall have precedence: without prejudice, however, to the dignity which belongs to the Metropolis". At the Third Ecumenical Council in 431, Juvenal argued that the bishop of Antioch should have taken his doctrine from the "apostolic see of Jerusalem." In establishing the Pentarchy, the Council of Chalcedon in 451 recognized Jerusalem as a Patriarchate with Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, and Constantinople, and fulfilled Patr. Juvenal's desires.

Perhaps in exchange for this vote against his old ally, the council gave Patr. Juvenal what he had sought: recognition of Jerusalem as a patriarchal see, ruling over all of Palestine. When he returned to Jerusalem, however, monks who favored Dioscorus went into open revolt against him, and only the Imperial army allowed him to take his position.

Succession box:
Juvenal of Jerusalem
Preceded by:
Patriarch of Jerusalem
Succeeded by:
Anastasius I
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