Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill announced this week that after weighing all potential candidates, he has selected St. Iosef of Volotsk as the patron saint of entrepreneurs, The Moscow Times reports today.
The Patriarch acted after Orthodox businessmen -- hit hard by the financial crisis -- appealed to the church to select a patron saint. The selection of St. Iosef of Volotsk, who lived in the 15th and 16th centuries and had no obvious link to business, sends a clear signal to businessmen that the church expects them to contribute generously to receive the saint's favor, religious scholars said.
Iosef, a prominent Orthodox ideologist and defender of the notion that an Orthodox tsar was an embodiment of God on Earth, supported the idea of strong and thriving monasteries.
Wealthy Orthodox businessmen have contributed significantly to the church's needs since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and many once-dilapidated churches, restored through their donations, bear plaques with their names.