More on the Clairvoyance of Elder Archimandrite John (Krestiankin), Part 2

Part 1

A year ago, a collection of testimonies about the miraculous help of Elder Archimandrite John (Krestiankin) was announced. Since then, we’ve received hundreds of stories, many of which are striking in their straightforward truth. Today we’re publishing selected stories about the clairvoyance of Fr. John.

We ask all those who can share important testimonies, documents, and living memories of Fr. John to send them to the Pskov Caves Monastery at or to



Anastasia Goryunova:

One time I was at Batiushka’s cell at the same time as one young girl from some Russian city—Voronezh, I think. I clearly remember that Batiushka called her Olga. From the conversation, it became clear that she had fallen in love with a religious young man, a seminarian. And her father, a major party boss, was categorically against their marriage. She was weeping bitterly. But for some reason, Batiushka was joyously smiling:

“Olenka, God bless. He’ll finish his studies, and then you’ll get married. In the meantime, maintain your purity: The wife of a future priest, and he himself, must be pure as doves before getting married.” Batiushka paused, concentrating on prayer, and added even more joyously: “You’ll be, you’ll be mitred.”

He patted and stroked the crown of her head affectionately. Many years later, I saw Matushka Olga, who had come to Pechory with her husband, already a mitred archpriest. But at that time, in his cell, the young girl Olga kept weeping bitterly, objecting:

“How, Batiushka? My father will kill me! There’s no way he’ll consent.”

“He’ll consent,” Batiushka firmly responded. “He himself will be praying at your wedding. Go with God, and don’t be afraid of anything.”

I don’t know if Batiushka’s prediction about Olga’s father came true, but I think it probably did, just as did his prediction about a mitre for her future husband.

One time Batiushka gave me the book, Gospel Conversations, with commentary on the daily Gospel readings for the whole year. I confused it with a book by St. Theophan, and I said: “I have this already. I read it every day.” At first, Batiushka wanted to give it to someone else, but he thought about it and exclaimed: “You don’t have this one! Yours starts with New Year’s, but this one goes from the feast of Holy Pascha to Holy Saturday.” I hadn’t even noticed that mine begins with New Year’s—the Circumcision of Christ, but when I got home, I checked it. So Batiushka clairvoyantly saw my book, and it turned out to be completely different from the one Batiushka gave me as a gift.

You mustn’t think like that”

Nina Ermolaeva:

It was the early 1990s. One of my sisters caught her husband with his mistress. They had a two-floor apartment on the twelfth-thirteenth floors. They started fighting, and the mistress tried to climb over the balcony from one floor to the other. No one saw how it happened, but she fell. After this tragedy, my sister went with our other sister to Pechory to see Fr. John. Batiushka received them. He separated himself with one sister a little ways from the other, but she couldn’t help but hear their entire conversation. And when the other sister came to the moment of the tragedy, Batiushka said: “If only it hadn’t been suicide! If only it hadn’t been suicide!”

And the sister who was overhearing the conversation couldn’t help but think: “A dog’s death.” Batiushka suddenly turned to her and said: “You mustn’t think like that.”

The countries will be on their own

Maria Ermolaeva:

As a young girl, I was friends with a young man. He came from Azerbaijan and was of another faith—a Muslim. It didn’t bother me, but my mother was worried and went to see Batiushka for advice.

He said it’d be better for us to break up, because the time will come when all the countries will be on their own; the Union will break up. The husband will invite his family to his country, and the wife will try to persuade them to stay in Russia.

By the prayers of Fr. John, we broke up, and many years later, everything happened with the country just as he had said.

One-bedroom apartment

Antonina Petrovna Nikolaeva:

One time, when our beloved Batiushka was hear confessions, I went to the monastery with Maria Zverava. She was working as a nurse in the infirmary at the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, and lived near the station. She had a two-room apartment that was heated with firewood. One of her neighbors offered her a one-room with amenities and heating.

Maria, a spiritual daughter of Fr. John, went to get his blessing for this exchange. We arrived at five in the morning for confession in St. Nicholas Church, where Batiushka himself was hearing confessions. There were a lot of people, and we got in the back of the line and started listening attentively. Fr. John suddenly uttered the following phrase:

“Thank God, the Lord has provided a roof over my head; and not just one, but two rooms. In one I can receive pilgrims, and in the other I can live quietly myself, but no: I’m tired of doing the heating and dealing with pilgrims, and I have the chance to move to a one-room apartment with amenities and live in peace. This is how some Christians reason, not wanting to do good deeds. God is their Judge!”

Maria started crying, understanding that Batiushka was talking about her. At the end of the general confession she asked me what to do: to go see Batiushka, or take the evening train home. She went to Fr. John for a blessing for the road home, because she was already ashamed to ask: Batiushka had said everything in the confession. So she stayed in her two-room apartment, receiving pilgrims as before.

An envelope

Gennady Petrovich Timofeev:

Once, when I was still a student, it happened that I lost my wallet while I was in the monastery. I didn’t know how I would get to Leningrad. Of course, I could have turned to Fr. Alypiy, but I was too shy.

Before leaving, I would always go get a blessing from my spiritual father, Fr. John (Krestiankin). Of course, I didn’t tell him anything about this incident either—it was awkward. After talking with me and blessing me, he suddenly took out an envelope and gave it to me. I understood it was money. I tried to refuse, but Batiushka insisted, saying I really needed it today. When I got to the train station (there was a night train to Leningrad at that time), I opened the envelope, and to my surprise, there was the exact amount I had lost.

Two surgeries, two outcomes

Protodeacon Alexander Kireev:

I’d known Fr. John since the 1950s, when he served in the Church of the Nativity of Christ in Izmailovo, before his imprisonment. When I was ten, he led me into the altar. I went to see him several times at the Pskov Caves Monastery.

When I was forty-nine, I was diagnosed with stage one stomach cancer. They suggested doing surgery, but I hesitated.

Six months passed. I decided to go to Pskov Caves Monastery to see Fr. John. I told him about my disease. He asked how old I was. “Forty-nine,” I said. “You have to live. Go to the hospital and have the surgery.” But he advised me to first receive Unction, confess, and commune of the Holy Mysteries of Christ three days in a row, and then go to the hospital. And he added: “On the day of the surgery, have Matushka [the protodeacon’s wife] send me a telegram, and we’ll pray.”

By the prayers of Elder John, the surgery went well. I’m eighty-five now. Glory to God!

There was another priest with the same diagnosis (stomach cancer) whom Fr. John didn’t bless to have an operation. He met him with a song: “With the saints give rest!...” After a while, he reposed.

My son, a priest, went with me to see Fr. John. He wanted to ask him several questions, but Fr. John answered all of them in advance. All this testifies to his holiness.

Prepared by Anton Pospelov
Translation by Jesse Dominick


JJ2/20/2022 10:20 pm
Yes the word 'clairvoyance' was borrowed from French in the mid 19th century and in French means "faculté de voir avec clarté, sagacité, pénétration, lucidité" (Larousse) but in English the meaning is different from the original French denotation and now means "The supposed faculty of perceiving things or events in the future or beyond normal sensory contact. [eg] ‘she stared at the card as if she could contact its writer by clairvoyance’" (Oxford Online Dictionary)
Editor2/20/2022 4:15 pm
JJ: The etymology of the word clairvoyance is from the French: clair ‘clear’ + voir ‘to see’. Thus, the real meaning of clairvoyance is to see clearly.
JJ2/20/2022 2:24 pm
I know exactly what is meant by 'clairvoyance' here and it is a faculty which is God given. The word is regularly translated from Russian in this way. Unfortunately, in English 'clairvoyance' almost always has connotations of the occult, of the demonic. When I first read in Russian Orthodox literature, translated into English, a header entitled St XXX had clairvoyance I was horrified - because I assumed that the Saint had demonic occult powers. Naturally further reading 'enlightened' me - however that does not mitigate the fact that the word has very negative connotations. I think a note as to what clairvoyance means in this context would be beneficial to readers and make clear that the term clairvoyance has absolutely nothing to do with occultism; that the term is absolutely restricted to its original old-fashioned meaning of "exceptional insight" (as given in the Oxford English Dictionary)- since clairvoyance is almost assumed to be associated with ESP, occultism, divination, new ageism, and fortune telling.
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