LATIN AMERICA OF MY HEART
Saint New Martyr Jose Munoz-Cortez
from Chile & Canada who martyred in Athens, Greece (+1997)
& the miracle Hawaii’s Icon of Holy Virgin Mary
From Roman Catholicism to Orthodoxy
Saint Jose (Joseph) Muñoz-Cortes (a privately tonsure monk Ambrose; 13 May 1948, Santiago, Chile – 30/31 October 1997, Athens, Greece) was an Orthodox clergyman, the keeper of the Iveron Icon of Montreal.
Jose was born in Chile into a pious Roman Catholic family of Spanish descent. He was a boy of twelve when he became acquainted with Archbishop Leontius (Filippovich) and under his influence José was baptized into the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia two years later, with his mother’s consent.
A talented artist, he secured a job teaching art at the University of Montreal, and began studying iconography. In the summer of 1982, Brother Joseph went to Mount Athos with a particular interest in visiting some sketes and monasteries specializing in icon painting.
At the small skete of the Nativity of Christ, Brother Joseph felt an immediate and strong attraction for an icon of the Mother of God, a contemporary (1981) copy of the ancient and revered Iveron Icon. He was disappointed to learn that it was not for sale, but to his great joy, as he was leaving the skete, Abbot Clement, unexpectedly handed the icon to him, saying that it pleased the Mother of God to go with him to America. Back in Montreal, Brother Joseph began reading an akathist daily before the icon. A few weeks later, on November 25, he awoke and smelled a strong fragrance. The new icon was streaked with myrrh, miraculously emanating from the hands of the Mother of God.
For the next fifteen years, as myrrh continued to flow from the Icon, Brother Joseph devoted himself to its care, accompanying it on numerous trips to parishes all over the United States and Canada, to South America, Australia, and Europe. Brother Joseph was also faithful in fulfilling the countless requests for prayers that he received, daily commemorating scores of people, among whom were several dozen godchildren. Jose was tortured and murdered in an hotel room in Athens, Greece on the night of October 30 or 31st, 1997, and the icon has not been seen since. He had planned to return to Canada the following day to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the appearance of the miraculous myrrh on the icon.