The Life of St. John the Wonderworker of San Francisco, California, USA (+1966)
The Life of St. John the Wonderworker of San Francisco, California, USA (+1966)
HEAVEN ON EARTH – ORTHODOXY
of Saint John Maximovitch of Shangai & San Francisco (1896-1966)
Saint John was born on 4 June 1896 in the village Adamovka in the province of Kharkov in Southern Russia. He was a descendent of the aristocratic family Maximovitch, a member of which was pronounced a saint in 1916, the hierarch John Maximovitch, Metropolitan of Tobolsk, whose incorrupt relics are in Tobolsk to this day. This holy hierarch reposed at the beginning of the 18th century but he carried the torch of his grace to his distant nephew, Michael (the baptismal name of Saint John, who later received the name of his uncle when he was tonsured a monk). His father Boris was a marshal of the nobility in a region of Kharkov and his uncle was rector at the University of Kiev. His relationship with his parents was always excellent. Throughout his youth, Michael was sickly and ate very little. He was a quiet kid, very polite and deeply religious. When he played he would dress his play soldiers as monks, collect icons and religious books and enjoyed reading about the lives of the Saints. At night he would stand praying for long periods. Because he was the eldest of five siblings, it was he who knew the lives of the Saints very well and became their first teacher of the Faith. He was very austere with himself in the application of ecclesiastic and national traditions. So much did he impress his teacher, who was a French woman and Catholic, that she was influenced by young Michael’s Christian life and was baptized Orthodox.
He had a country house near a monastery where little Michael would visit often. At the age of 11 his parents Boris and Glaphyra sent him to the Military School of Poltava where he continued to live, with his faith deeply rooted. For when kids are absent from their home for long time, their youthful souls are easily influenced. He, however, remained steadfast in his faith. There he also met the Bishop of Poltava, Theophan, a much loved hierarch, who influenced Michael. At a military parade while passing by the cathedral, little Michael (who was 13 then) crossed himself, and his classmates laughed at him and mocked him, and he was punished by his officers for the action. However Prince Constantine, who was a benefactor of the school, told them not to punish cadet Michael for with his action he showed deep and healthy religious feelings. In 1914, he completed the military school and wished to continue his studies at the Theological School of Kiev. However, his parents insisted that he go to law school and Michael obeyed them. His classmates observed that he read about the lives of the saints even more than his lessons and yet he was a good student. Time passed and he completed his studies. However, at that time the anti-Christian movement had started to spread in Russia, but Michael had deep faith inside him and he was bold. The ecclesiastic council of Kharkov was discussing whether to take down the silver bell of the church to melt it.
They all agreed to do it. Others were afraid to go against the decision and were getting ready to do this but the saint, together with a few others, disagreed and arrests started. His parents told him to leave and hide but Michael told them: “There does not exist a place where one can hide from the will of God and that without the will of God nothing happens, not even one strand of hair can fall from our heads”. So he was jailed and after a month they set him free. He was then re-arrested and after having determined that he could not care less whether he was free or jailed, they discharged him. Michael lived in a different world and yearned for God. In Continue reading “Condensed biography of Saint John Maximovitch of San Francisco, CA, USA (1896-1966) – July 2”
WHAT ABOUT YOGA
Through The Eastern Gate
Nilus Stryker, San Francisco, California, USA
From Buddhism to Orthodoxy
Nilus Stryker, San Francisco, California, USA:
I had been a Buddhist for ten years. I was ordained after seven years of study with my teacher in a small family line of the Nyingma Lineage of Vajarayana (Tibetan ) Buddhism. I had a Spiritual Master in that lineage whom I loved and still love. He was, and continues to be an example of kindness in my life. It was through his instruction that I began to see the world with wider eyes and heart. I was ordained as a Ngakpa in the Nyingma Lineage. A Ngakpa is a tantric (priest) ordination that, though there are vows (damsig), those vows are not based on celibacy nor abstention from meat and alcohol. Our sangha were not renunciates but followed basic instruction in tantra and dzogchen; both based on transformation rather than renunciation and sudden moments of insight that flicker in duration and intensity leading to rigpa (a state of mind and perception based on relaxing into the natural state of enlightenment). Those moments were engendered by the energetic intervention of our teacher or our ability to “relax” into the fabric and texture of our experience of being and non being brought about by the practices we were taught. Over the years those moments seem to manifest in seeing the world more and more in kindness, gratitude and compassion. My teacher used to say that Buddhism was ninety nine per cent method and one percent truth. The practices in Buddhism are used to develop a clarity and sense of awareness that enable you to discern a reality not skewed by neurotic mind and habits of response.
We were a non liturgical lineage and had silent sitting and yogic song, mantra, and sets of psycho-spiritual physical exercises as the core of our practice. I made pilgrimages to sacred sites in Nepal and attended retreats with my teacher and vajra sisters and brothers both in the United States and in Wales. Those retreats, both joint and individual, were very meaningful in my life. And, I can definitely say that I had some “openings” of view, widenings of perspective and experience that I attribute to my teacher and the practices I was given.
One afternoon in late January of l999 I went to my altar for my regular daily practice. Usually I began with yogic song and mantra and then did silent sitting. I lit the candles on my altar and after finishing my song and mantras began my silent practice. I cant say exactly how long I had been sitting when I hear my voice say in my own words aloud, “I miss Jesus.” I said this aloud. It Continue reading “Through The Eastern Gate – Nilus Stryker, San Francisco, California, USA – From Buddhism to Orthodoxy”
HAWAII OF MY HEART
The Japanese-American actor
Cary-Hiroyuki Tawaga of Mortal Kombat movies
who lives in Hawaii, USA, baptized Eastern Orthodox Christian in Russia
Mortal Kombat’s Shang Tsung goes Orthodox in Russia
Video – The Baptism of Cary-Hiroyuki Tawaga
(Mortal Kombat’s Shang Tsung)
The soul of Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, best known for the part of evil sorcerer Shang Tsung in the Mortal Kombat movies, has been captured by Russia – he has apparently decided to be baptized into the Orthodox Church.
Tagawa, an American actor of Japanese descent, who took part in a new Russian film called The Priest-San, decided to abandon his faith and become a true follower of Jesus Christ’s orthodox teachings, Interfax reports.
The news was spread via Facebook by one of his colleagues, Ivan Okhlobystin, an actor and prominent Russian religious figure. He shared a photo of Tagawa taken with a giant cross, probably snapped during filming not far from Moscow.
“I’m happy to say that… after deep and thorough consideration Cary Tagawa, who played the part of the Japanese orthodox priest in our new film The Priest-san, will take the Sacrament of Holy Baptism,” his post goes.
“You cannot just grasp the essence of the Russian Orthodox… When I first came to Russia I had very little time to get into the character. So I visited a number of Russian cathedrals in Yaroslavl and Rostov. Simply being inside had a very powerful effect on me,” Tagawa said in an interview to Kinopoisk.ru in 2013 when the shooting in Russia was done.
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa received a baptismal name of Panteleymon, Okhlobystin wrote on his Facebook page.
Tagawa also expressed his intention to become a Russian citizen at a press conference, according to Orthodox news website pravmir.ru.
“I’m not following the new trend,” he said, most likely alluding to American boxer Roy Jones Jr and French actor Gerard Depardieu. “I follow my heart. There are no easy decisions either in America, or anywhere else in the world. This will be a new challenge for me.”
The film, soon to hit screens in Russia, tells the story of a Japanese priest, who leaves Japan due to Yakuza wars and heads for a small Russian town to help its locals fight rampant corruption. The movie is the latest project from the “Orthodox” producing studio.
USA OF MY HEART
De qué manera podemos nosotros honrar a nuestros difuntos cercanos
San Juan Maximovich, EE.UU, +1966
Vemos a menudo la tendencia que tienen los familiares de la persona fallecida, al incurrir en erogaciones para que el sepulcro y el sepelio sean lo más lujosos posible. Por lo general, el mayor gasto se efectúa en la realización de suntuosas lápidas.
Mucho dinero desembolsan los familiares y los amigos en plantas y flores, que además deben retirarse del ataúd antes de cerrarlo, para que ello no intensifique la descomposición del cuerpo.
Algunos quieren a través de la litografía manifestar su respeto al difunto y la condolencia a sus familiares. Este método revela a veces superficialidad de sentimientos y engaño, ya que realmente la persona que sufre no va a publicar su sufrimiento. La condolencia se puede demostrar personalmente de una manera mucho más cálida.
Pero sea lo que fuere que hagamos, de lo mencionado más arriba, el difunto no va a recibir ningún beneficio.
Al cuerpo muerto le es lo mismo estar bajo una pobre o una suntuosa lápida, estar en un pobre o en un lujoso féretro, él no va a sentir la fragancia de las flores, y no necesita las demostraciones de dolor fingidas. El cuerpo se somete a la descomposición, el alma vive, pero no percibe más las sensaciones que apreciaban antes sus órganos corporales.
Si realmente queremos al difunto, y verdaderamente queremos ofrecerle nuestras dádivas, entonces debemos darle lo que el necesita. Antes que nada, entregarle nuestras sinceras oraciones personales hogareñas al Señor, las oraciones a través de los oficios del Responso en la Iglesia, y muy en especial la conmemoración del difunto en la Divina Liturgia.
Otro beneficio muy importante que podemos brindarle al alma — es la realización de dádivas o donaciones. Alimentar al hambriento en nombre del difunto, ayudar al indigente, es lo mismo que hacerlo con el.
Santa Atanasia, cuya festividad se conmemora el 12 de abril, antes de fallecer, encomendó que se les diera de comer a los indigentes en su memoria durante 40 días, sin embargo las monjas del convento lo cumplieron solo durante 9 días.
Por lo cual la santa se les apareció junto a dos ángeles y les dijo “¿Porque Uds. se olvidaron de mi legado? Sepan que las donaciones y las oraciones de los sacerdotes, dadas en nombre del difunto durante 40 días atraen la misericordia de Dios”: si el alma del difunto fue pecadora, el Señor les da el perdón de los pecados, y si es que ella fue justa, entonces las personas que rezan por ella van a ser recompensadas con beneficios”
En particular, en estos días difíciles para todos, es una locura gastar dinero inútilmente para adquirir elementos superfluos, cuando, al aplicarlos en la asistencia a los indigentes, se pueden realizar dos buenas obras, una para el difunto, y otra para el necesitado.
Si se le da alimento a un necesitado, con oración en memoria del difunto, el necesitado se va a satisfacer corporalmente, y el difunto va a quedar satisfecho espiritualmente.
FRANCE OF MY HEART
Saint Jean Maximovitch (+1966)
“Dans Sa bonté, le Seigneur distribue Sa grâce à ceux qui s’imposent les fatigues d’un pèlerinage: le pèlerinage ne rapproche pas Celui Qui est partout, mais les efforts des pèlerins rendent ceux-ci dignes de Sa manifestation, non par eux-mêmes mais parce qu’Il les accepte dans Sa miséricorde.”
Saint Jean (Maximovitch), Archevêque de Shangaï, Bruxelles et San Francisco.
JAPAN OF MY HEART
ケイリー=ヒロユキ・タガワ Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
東方正教会の歴史 – 日本正教会