Before the Pannikhida for Archbishop John of San Francisco

Sermon by Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky) of Eastern America and New York (+1985)

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!

    

The Russian Orthodox people for many years had a belief that bishops of the Orthodox Church die in groups of three, of course over a period of time. This ancient belief just came to mind now. Soon after the last Council of Bishops of the Church Abroad convened, one and a half years ago, a venerable elder, participant of this council, Vladyka Archbishop Stefan, died. Then a year ago or so, the Church Abroad sorrowfully escorted from the path of all mortals their Primate and spiritual father of many years, the unforgettable elder Metropolitan Anastassy. And now finally the third… Yesterday, during all-night vigil, an urgent telephone call was received from Bishop Nektary from California with the sorrowful news: one of the eldest hierarchs of our church, First Deputy of the President of the Synod, the ascetic archpastor Archbishop John, suddenly died in Seattle, where he was accompanying the Miracle-working Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign” along with Vladyka Nektary. Stunning news…

In Bitol, Yugoslavia. In Bitol, Yugoslavia.
    

Now when I think of Vladyka John, I remember what happened over 30 years ago, when my late father, Vladyka Dimitry, knowing the sorrows and unpleasantries which were being endured in Yugoslavia by the Primate of the Church Abroad, Metropolitan Anthony of blessed memory, invited him to the Far East, to the city of Harbin, where church life was peaceful. “You will rest here with us Vladyka,” wrote Vladyka Dimitry the head of the Church Abroad. Vladyka Anthony responded “My friend, I am already so old and feeble that I cannot even think of undertaking such a journey, I can only make the journey to the cemetery… But instead of myself, I am sending you Vladyka John, who is close to my soul and to my heart. This slight, feeble person, almost childlike in appearance, is by some miracle a staunch ascetic and strong in our age of spiritual weakness.” This is how Vladyka John was described, who was then still young, only just ordained a bishop, by his great Abbot. Vladyka John was like that then, and so he remained, and even now, in our days, he was right before our eyes a miraculously ascetic person, a lofty example of spiritual and prayerful life. Vladyka John always prayed, Vladyka John prayed everywhere.

When he was still a young man in Harbin, the equally-spiritual monastic, hieromonk Methodius (Yogl), noted perceptively that we all stand up for prayer, but Vladyka John does not need to stand, he is always in a prayerful mood… And whatever changes occurred in his external life, the task of prayer and divine service always took precedence for him, and nothing could tear him away from that.

Not one person can accommodate within himself to be a perfect bearer of all spiritual gifts. Everyone makes mistakes, not one person is free from that. But those knew Vladyka John knew him as a man of prayer, as an archpastor, who cared for human souls and was always ready to help, those who experienced personally and who saw their loved ones benefit from his prayerswill never forget Vladyka John, and will always carry within themselves the blessed memory of his warmth and light.

Vladyka John died, his constant prayer with which our great men of prayer burned constantly, has been interrupted—he prayed for everyone and for all. But the Church Abroad will not forget him. We hope that John receives mercy and has the boldness before the terrifying Altar of the Lord of glory to pray for his flock, as he did here on earth… It is our duty of grateful love, in response to his prayer, to pray likewise for him. Let us pray now for his bright soul, that the Lord grants him repose with the righteous.

Amen.

3 July 1966

See also
St. John Made no Compromises, Neither With Himself Nor With Circumstances St. John Made no Compromises, Neither With Himself Nor With Circumstances
On the Commemoration of the uncovering of the relics of St. John of Shanghai; Deacon Andrei Psarev, Maria Reshetnikova
St. John Made no Compromises, Neither With Himself Nor With Circumstances St. John Made no Compromises, Neither With Himself Nor With Circumstances
On the Commemoration of the uncovering of the relics of St. John of Shanghai
Deacon Andrei Psarev, Maria Reshetnikova
In our life it’s simply impossible to meet someone who is both kind and active. Many are active, but they are very cruel; and many are kind, but they do nothing. When you read about Vladyka John and you see what an active and kind man he was, you realize how fortunate it would have been to be his contemporary; he literally and physically save the lives of so many people.
 The Price of Sanctity. Memories of Archbishop John Maximovitch The Price of Sanctity. Memories of Archbishop John Maximovitch
Fr. Herman (Podmoshensky)
 The Price of Sanctity. Memories of Archbishop John Maximovitch The Price of Sanctity. Memories of Archbishop John Maximovitch
Fr. Herman (Podmoshensky)
Feeling an utter triumph in my soul, that I had spoken to a saint, I turned to Fr. Vladimir for further information about him, Archbishop John. But I heard nothing of what my dear benefactor Fr. Vladimir was telling me then, due to my excitement over having met a man not of this world.
Life and Miracles of St. John (Maximovich) of Shanghai and San Francisco—One of the Greatest Saints of the 20th Century Life and Miracles of St. John (Maximovich) of Shanghai and San Francisco—One of the Greatest Saints of the 20th Century
Bishop Alexander (Mileant)
Life and Miracles of St. John (Maximovich) of Shanghai and San Francisco—One of the Greatest Saints of the 20th Century Life and Miracles of St. John (Maximovich) of Shanghai and San Francisco—One of the Greatest Saints of the 20th Century
Bishop Alexander (Mileant)
"Sanctity is not just a virtue. It is an attainment of such spiritual heights, that the abundance of God's grace which fills the saint overflows on all who associate with him. Great is the saint's state of bliss in which they dwell contemplating the Glory of God. Being filled with love for God and man, they are responsive to man's needs, interceding before God and helping those who turn to them." Thus describing the ancient Saints, Vladyka John simultaneously summarized his own spiritual attitude which made him one of the greatest Saints of our time.
The Veneration of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco: Recollections of a Spiritual Son The Veneration of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco: Recollections of a Spiritual Son
Bishop Peter of Cleveland
The Veneration of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco: Recollections of a Spiritual Son The Veneration of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco: Recollections of a Spiritual Son
Bishop Peter of Cleveland
The author of these recollections, Bishop Peter, was a spiritual son of St. John from his childhood. Bishop Peter was born Pavel Andreyevich Lukianov in San Francisco in 1948. He was tonsured a reader in 1965 by St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco. After studies at the Holy Trinity Seminary at Jordanville, New York, he worked at the headquarters of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in New York City for six years.
Comments
Наталия8/20/2017 10:13 am
I am very grateful God for everything !
I live in WA state and l love the St. Nicholas Cathedral , where St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
had served and prayed! It is a blessing for us!
Even Our Saint John of Shanghai and S.F reposed to God, He is Alive! He is with us! We love Him!
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