St. Jonah, Archbishop of Novgorod, in the world John, was orphaned early and was adopted by a pious widow who lived in Novgorod. She took care of the boy's upbringing and sent him to school. Blessed Mikhail Klopsky, meeting John on the street one day, predicted that he would be the archbishop of Novgorod.
John took vows in the Oten desert, 50 versts from the city, was the abbot of this monastery, from where the Novgorodians in 1458 elected him archbishop, after the death of Saint Euphemia. St. Jonah enjoyed great respect in Moscow, and during his holiness the Moscow princes did not encroach on the independence of Novgorod. Metropolitan Saint Jonah of Moscow (1449-1461) was a friend of the Novgorod saint and wanted to see him as his successor. Archbishop Jonah built the first church on the Novgorod land in honor of St. Sergius of Radonezh (in 1463). Taking care of the revival of the traditions of the Novgorod church antiquity, he summoned to Novgorod the famous compiler of the lives of saints Pakhomiy Logofet, who wrote, on the basis of local sources, the services and lives of the most famous Novgorod saints.
The beginning of the foundation of the Solovetsky Monastery dates back to this time. Saint Jonah rendered great help and assistance to the monastery's construction. He issued a special blessed letter to the Monk Zosima, according to which he gave (together with the lay authorities of Novgorod) the entire Solovetsky Island into the possession of the new monastery. After many labors, the saint, feeling the approach of his demise, wrote a spiritual one, bequeathing to bury his body in the Monastery of Oten. On November 5, 1470, having partaken of the Holy Mysteries, the saint departed to the Lord.