John, who had stood up for the defense of the Orthodox Church and the Russian state. Once, during the bringing out of the Holy Gifts from the altar, a Jewish student approached the saint and hit him in the ear with all his might, as a result of which St. John lost hearing in that ear and spilled the Holy Communion.
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These latter decided to use the event in order to make short work of St. However, the saint guessed at their trickery and did not allow himself to be talked into going and persuading the rebels to lay down their arms. After the failure of their plan, the revolutionaries decide to lure St. The saint had a foreboding that he would be met by enemies en route, and several times he warned his entourage, but they continued to plead with him for the supposedly sick person.
The saint was led into a very rich house and was taken to the ailing person in the next room. When St. John went in there, the room was locked from the inside and the noise of a struggle could be heard. Then the women who had accompanied batyushka immediately remembered his foreboding of misfortune, tried to break into the room, and finally had to send for the coachman, who broke down the door. By that time St. The coachman delivered St.
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John from his attackers and took him home. As soon as the saint regained consciousness, he immediately made the witnesses swear a terrible oath not to tell anyone of what had happened until his death, in order to avoid a pogrom. The remaining three-and-a-half years of his life the holy martyr suffered such terrible pain from his wounds that he could not sleep at all.
Only the Divine liturgy allowed him to have a couple of hours of relief from the unbearable pain, and so despite his frailty he continued to serve daily until his very death, and when he could no longer walk at all, he lay in the altar and took communion. Thus during the Divine liturgy on 20 December , at which the saint was present together with all the people who were praying for him, he quietly reposed in the Lord.
He was buried in the burial vault of St. John of Kronstadt as server of the Divine Liturgy. John of Kronstadt was a great intercessor for the Russian land. He was renowned for his pious and holy life, for his multidinous miracles, for his extensive aid to the needy.
While engaging in constant prayer, he placed the Divine Liturgy above all else, regarding it as an eternal great miracle, and gave himself up to it entirely. It was well-known that from his very first days of priesthood he strived to serve the Divine liturgy as frequently as possible, while in the last 35 years of his life he served it daily, except for those days when he was very sick.
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And in fact, he always said and wrote that all his vigor, his indefatigable energy, his activity, which was beyond the strength of a common mortal and which left him not more than 4 hours out of 24 for sleep and rest, could only be explained by the fact that by the grace of God he daily served the great sacrament and partook of the Holy Mysteries. In his diaries he often turns in thought and pious feeling to the Divine liturgy and does not even find sufficient words to express its majesty and its fruits for the faithful.
This sacrament is commemorated all over the world. We all love life, but there is no true life within us without the source of life — Jesus Christ. If the world did not have the Most-holy Body and Blood of the Lord, it would not have its greatest benefit — the benefit of true life. During the proskomedia and the liturgy all the saints, beginning with the Mother of God, are summoned to participate in the service together with the priest.
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Just think of the closeness to each other of all the celestial denizens, and earth dwellers, and the Mother of God, and all the saints, and all of us, Orthodox Christians, during the commemoration of the Divine, universal, all-encompassing liturgy! Watching him serve the liturgy both in Kronstadt and in the various churches of St. Petersburg, one could not but see that he served each liturgy as though it were the very first liturgy in his life. He lived spiritually from liturgy to liturgy.
Everything else was secondary for him and did not engage and fill his soul as did the liturgy. Being incredibly kind and sociable, he never refused to share a meal after the liturgy with his co-servers and parishioners. There he is, after having spoken separately with various individuals especially needing his comfort and help, quickly entering the room where the meal is being served, affectionately greeting all those present, and then invariably beginning to talk about the Church, about the temple, about the service. The idea of the union of all faithful in Christ continues to rule his actions, and he shares food and drink with those sitting near him.
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John never stays until the end of the meal, since here he has already provided comfort, warmth, and illumination with his inner light, and now he must hasten to others, especially to the sick, the elderly, and the frail, who cannot come to him themselves, but who hunger for his presence. It is extremely hard to describe how St. John served the Divine liturgy.
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He was an ardent flame before God; he represented the complete union of a pure image of God with its Original. During the liturgy the entire Heavenly Church — prophets, apostles, martyrs, hierarchs, venerables, and all celestial denizens were like close living friends to St. His praying was also unusual. He would suddenly completely forego making the sign of the cross and only bowed deeply or raised his eyes to heaven, or he would stand on his knees for a long time without moving.
He read the prayers as though he saw the Saviour, or the Mother of God, or the saints right in front of him, and he either prostrated himself in great humility before them, or spoke boldly, as if demanding the fulfillment of his entreaties. John used special movements that accorded with his inner emotions.
After the transubstantiation of the Holy Gifts he sometimes bowed deeply over the diskos with the Holy Body or the sacred chalice with the Blood of the Saviour, kissed the edge of the sacred vessels, and tears of tenderness streamed abundantly down his face. It was impossible not to notice that immediately after partaking of the Holy Mysteries, St.
It should be said that the priests and the faithful greatly valued prayerful contact with St. John during the liturgy. He was constantly invited to serve at feasts and church celebrations. While he was still alive, a church feast felt incomplete without him, and thus he not only served in all the churches of Kronstadt and almost all of St.
Petersburg, but also in many churches of Moscow and practically all the major cities of Russia. Wherever he served, many priests and deacons would always gather there; wherever he went, there were always myriads of believers, those people upon whom faith rests in this sinful world, and even the world itself stands only because of such people. Wherever he went, there was always a triumph of love and brotherhood, there was always a feast of faith. The importance of St. John in this regard is immense. Being continuously surrounded by a host of clergymen while serving the liturgy, he was always a teacher to them in this most important aspect of their service.
In this case he was truly a pastor of pastors! Protopriest Pavel Lakhotsky. Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided within itself falleth Luke Never before has so much been said or written about any of the saints or venerables as there has been of St.
John of Kronstadt. Our aim, therefore, will not be so much to present a complete picture of him, who is so well-known to us, as to characterize his era and clarify the historical significance of St. On one hand there was a great spiritual revival of asceticism, which began in the 19th century and embraced all religious Russian people, and which was now producing its rich harvest; on the other hand, the overwhelming majority of society was in the grip of an opposing movement, alien to us and coming from the West, of atheistic and revolutionary influences. John emerged from the sphere of spiritual revival, he was completely enveloped by its spirit and its light, and the wave of this renaissance lifted St.
John high onto the top of its crest. The Lord placed His flaming candle high upon the candlestand. Another wave, that of godlessness and destruction, the wave of the spirit of the Antichrist, lifted to its crest Leo Tolstoy, who became its universally acknowledged prophet. In this lay his prophetic calling and service. After the reforms of Peter the Great and subsequent ones, which were all aimed against monasticism, Russian monasticism suffered an era of decline, but with the coming of the 19th century the outlines of a spiritual renaissance could already be seen.
The foundation of this revival was laid by Archimandrite Paisius Velichkovsky: from the second half of the 18th century he engaged in translating the writings of the Holy Fathers Philokalia from Greek into Slavonic and revived ancient Eastern asceticism in his monastery in Moldavia. In this asceticism the center of gravity lies not in external labors, but in inner endeavor, specifically in attaining impassivity. The renaissance of monasticism in Russia is also linked with the name of Metropolitan Gabriel of St.
A multitude of holy ascetics appeared in this age of renaissance. In the early period we see that greatest of saints — St. Seraphim of Sarov His spiritual philosophy arose from the same life-giving river of Russian ascetic revival, along which the saint led the boat of his life. Father John Sergiyev was born in , not long before the repose of St.