CONDENSED BIOGRAPHY OF SAINT JOHN MAXIMOVITCH OF SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, USA (1896-1966)

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CALIFORNIA OF MY HEART
images-13Condensed biography of Saint John Maximovitch (1896-1966)

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ST JOHN MAXIMOVITCH

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.

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St John Maximovitch

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 1921, his whole family left (as civil war broke out in Russia) and went to Yugoslavia where he studied in Belgrade at the theological school. To pay for his upkeep, he sold newspapers. In 1924, he was tonsured a reader of the Russian Church in Belgrade by Bishop Anthony and in 1926 he was ordained a deacon and was tonsured a monk with the name John, at the Monastery of Milkov. Later until 1934 he was appointed to the seminary in the city of Milkov, in Serbia. There he also celebrated the liturgy in Greek for the Greeks of the region who loved him very much. There, at the seminary he cared very much for his students. He would go to their rooms at night and would cover them, cross them and leave. He would never sleep in a bed and during the few hours he relaxed at night, he slept sitting up or kneeling on the ground in front of his icons.

While his students would leave for holidays to their homes, they would speak with awe about their teacher Vladika John, who was always praying and had never slept in a bed, fasted strictly and performed the liturgy and communed daily. In 1934, they decided to elect him Bishop. The Saint refused and told them that he had a problem with his speech. They replied that even Moses had a problem and they elected him and consecrated him Bishop of Shanghai. On November 21, 1934 he arrived in Shanghai and found a partly built church and some problems among the inhabitants there which he tried to resolve so that peace would return to the area. He organized an orphanage which he dedicated to Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk who loved kids. He gathered the sick, poor and hungry kids from the streets and the alleys of Shanghai. He started with 8 kids and by the end the number of children reached 3,500. When the communists came  there too he took the kids to the Philippines and later to America. He would eat once a day at 11 o’clock at night. During the the first and last week of Great Lent he would eat absolutely nothing and for the rest of the fast (as well as during the Christmas fast) he would only eat prosphora.

At night he prayed a lot and when he felt exhausted, he would go into the kneeling position, place his head on the floor and sleep for a while before he went to the Divine Liturgy, even when he was sick. He was not only a great ascetic but God granted him the grace of foresight and his prayers brought healing. He would visit the sick daily, confess and commune them. With the seriously sick patients he would stand beside them for hours praying and kneeling and many times miracles would happen. When the communists arrived in China, the Russians left for America, and in 1951 the holy one left too, taking his flock with him. The Bishops of the Synod decided to send him to the Bishopric of Paris and Brussels. The Saint performed liturgies in French and Dutch as he had earlier in Greek, Chinese and English. He would not allow women who wore lipstick to kiss the icons and the Holy Cross. One of his spiritual daughters, Zenaida Zouliem, who cared for him in France, tells us of some instances about the foresight of the Saint.

She said, “I met the Saint for the first time at his house in Versailles, a cell that was smaller than a small room, with small boxes with letters, a table, a sofa and a bag of dry prosphora. He wore sandals or slippers and many times he was barefoot because he would give them to the poor. He did not wear socks no matter what the weather conditions were. She told him that she was going to a certain region to work and she came to get a blessing. However, the saint told her to go to another region to work and so it happened, as if he knew it ahead of time. She met him in 1958 and her father had died in 1957. Before he died he told her: “This evening a short monk in black visited me.” Questioning who it could possibly be, for he did not know Saint John then. “When I met him,” Zenaida said, “one day while I was at his house thinking to myself, ‘what a pity. If I had known him then, when my father was sick, I would have prayed and he would have gotten well again.’” The Saint then turned to her and told her, “You know I visited your father when he was sick at the hospital.” And he opened his small notebook and found on a page the name of my father, Basil Zouliem. “How was it possible for him to know my thoughts if he did not have the gift of foresight? Then I knew it was not the will of God for my Father to live any longer.”

“Many times I wanted to ask him about many things but he was busy and at night when it would have been more convenient to ask him, I would forget the questions. And while having his soup, he would whisper and I would hear everything I wanted to learn from the questions I had wanted to ask him. The Saint would answer them as if he had known them. When I learned that he would soon be leaving for San Francisco I became very sad and while he was talking to us in Church, I was crying. He turned to me and told me, ‘People that have the same goals and struggle for the achievement of the same thing, have unity of soul and do not feel the distance of separation, and the distance cannot become an obstacle to the spiritual union of people of a united soul.’ I immediately calmed down. When he was praying at the Holy Altar the ‘Uncreated Light’ would engulf him and he would not step on the ground. He always sprinkled the Church with holy water, as well as the mail box where he dropped his letters himself, having crossed them first. Then he would walk barefooted in the snow or in the rain, to drop them off. When he departed to America and the letter box was changed with another new one, I was saddened and later when the Saint returned to France for a short while, I saw him take holy water and sprinkle the new mail box without me telling him anything.” One day passing by the Church, she heard loud weeping. She continued towards the iconostasis, looked inside and saw the Saint in a kneeling position behind the Holy Altar crying loudly about the problems of others. Her soul could not endure his crying and she silently left the Church.

Before leaving for America he told her, “When you, Zenaida, or someone else is sick, inform me to come. And truly when they read the Paraclesis they were healed. On November 21, 1962 they sent him to San Francisco as a bishop of the Russian Church Abroad. Around his neck he tied a leather pouch with the icon of the Theotokos inside, which he had brought from Russia. When he visited the sick he would read the salutations to the Theotokos and a miracle would happen. He loved children very much and he regarded them with tenderness and nobody could forget his warm stare. When he looked at you, you knew that at that moment you were the most loved person in the world. He used to walk barefoot even on the roughest cement in the park in Versailles. He ate once a day at 11 p.m. and only if someone had prepared something, otherwise he would omit even this. He performed the Divine Liturgy daily and the Holy Disc was always full because he would commemorate a long list of names. For he would empty pieces of paper with names from every pocket, and every day more names would be added from the letters he received asking him to pray for them. At the Great Entrance of the Holy Gifts he would reread the names and other new ones which they had given him in the mean time and therefore take a long time. After the Divine Liturgy he would remain in the Church for hours. He would clean the Holy Chalice, the Holy Disc, the Holy Altar and the Holy Prothesis with great care. Meanwhile he would eat some prosphora and drink plenty of hot water. He would read the letters he received he in the afternoon after the Divine Liturgy having a trustworthy person open them just in case there was an urgent need in some letter. Many times he would say the content of the letters before he read them, since he had the gift of foresight. Many times when he was in Shanghai, he would walk about at night and would offer bread and money to the homeless and beggars, even to drunks.

On Saturday, July 2, 1966, the Saint departed from this life. He had gone to Seattle with the miraculous icon of the Theotokos of Kursk of the Sign. As soon as he completed the Divine Liturgy and having prayed for 3 hours in the sanctuary, he went to his room to relax, sat on his arm chair and at 10 minutes to 4 p.m. he peacefully reposed into eternity without any pain. A noise was heard and when they entered the room they found him fallen down from his arm chair. It was said that he knew the day of his repose and was aware that his death was approaching so he had prepared himself like the great Saints of our Church. For this reason, on the day of his repose, he sent a letter with his blessings to the nuns of Lesna in France, who had helped him so much. Almost 24 hours later his body arrived at the Cathedral Church of San Francisco, which he had completed himself. He was received by the clergy and an all night vigil was performed which lasted for 4 hours – where they read the Psalter the whole night and all stayed up with him for the last time. The people came to venerate and greet their Bishop for the last time.

All the hierarchs who knew him spoke of his ascetic life. A life full of spiritual struggle, having never laid down in a bed for 40 years, since he became a monk, sleeping only one to two hours at night either standing or kneeling and bending down to the ground. And many times while asleep for a short time, he would answer the phone normally as someone who happened to be with him in his room testified. While speaking the phone fell a little bit above his knees and he answered as if he could hear the caller while still sleeping. They all felt they were left orphans, for the Saint showed compassion and great love to all of them. They buried him on July 7 in the afternoon. His body showed no sign of decomposition after so many days and everyone touched him with crosses, flowers and infants to receive his blessing, and some hierarchs their epitrachilia (stoles).

The Church was dedicated to the Theotokos, “The Joy of All Who Sorrow”. Here he served God and the people and here he reposed. After the last embrace, his holy body was carried in a litany around the church three times. His coffin was carried by the orphans the Saint had saved and had brought to Shanghai. One hierarch likened the litany of the saint with the litany of the Holy Sepulcher of Christ during Good Friday. He was buried in a small basement chapel under the sanctuary. They all called to mind Saint Seraphim of Sarov who had promised them that after his repose he would hear their prayers and their sorrows as if he was still living. Thus they would often go to his tomb. In the fall of 1993, the Synod of Bishops of America with the presiding Archbishop Anthony of San Francisco, having performed a pannikida (memorial service) at the tomb of the Saint, decided to re-open it. As soon as they opened the cover of the tomb, the coffin being a bit rusted since it was metallic; they then opened the coffin with fear of God and prayer. The face of the Saint was covered with some cloth and their sight fell on the incorrupt hands of the Saint. They uncovered his face and discovered that his face was also incorrupt. A heavenly spiritual peace, a pious silence spread everywhere. They all experienced the moment of divine Grace in front of the Saint of God. It was decided on July 2 of the following year, 1994, to officially proclaim him a Saint. God has not abandoned us and has sent us a great Saint to intercede for us close to the throne of God in these years of widespread apostasy.

The Cathedral Church with its golden domes, dedicated to the Theotokos, “The Joy of those who Sorrow,” is located on Geary Avenue between the 26th and 27th Streets and dominates the north-western side of San Francisco. The church is visible from many points of the city, whether one approaches from the sea or from the Golden Gate Bridge. The tomb is two floors under the altar. One descends to an underground chapel with a low ceiling depicting the Almighty, with icons on the walls and a glossy marble floor. The faithful have come here every day since his repose, and pray at his tomb. Thousands of the faithful visit the Saint, some send him letters and ask his help and his intercessions. They ask for the melted wax from the candles that burn at his tomb and a few drops of oil from the lamps that burn there.

Every year on the July 2, a Divine Liturgy is performed and crowds of people come to his chapel. In the center is the sepulchre which is covered with the saint’s mandya (cape) and around it are candelabras with lit candles. At the head of the sepulchre is the saint’s mitre and his shepherd’s staff is at the foot of the sepulchre. There is a lectern with the Psalter that is read by the faithful when they go to the Saint to tell him their problems. On another lectern close by is the icon of the Entrance of the Theotokos which was dedicated by a family from China to the Saint. The woman along with her mother had made a vow to donate this icon, their heirloom, to the Saint at his tomb, out of gratitude for his help. This icon had special meaning for the Saint, without them knowing about it, because in our life nothing happens by chance. The Saint liked the feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos very much: his tonsure having been done at a Monastery in Yugoslavia dedicated to the feast of the Entrance. Also on the day of the Entrance he went to Shanghai as bishop to a Church of the Theotokos called “The Sinners Salvation.” And again on the Entrance he came to San Francisco as a bishop. When this woman got married she went to San Francisco and bore a son, John. Later when he was enlisted in the army and was to be sent to the war in Vietnam, and having great reverence for Saint John, went to his tomb and left him a picture he had of the Saint, on his bishop’s mitre that is on the Sepulchre. A few days later he took it back as a blessing, put it in the pocket of his uniform on the side of his heart and went to war. And from he wrote to his mother, her officer son, the Saint protected him and no bullets hit him. Once his unit was captured and he got away, a bomb fell close to them, the others were wounded seriously but he remained unharmed.

The oil lamp over the Sepulchre of the Saint burns continuously. They all go there with the faith of a child to speak to the Saint, to grieve over their sorrows and the he listens to them and helps them. The Saint wants us to continue praying and not to forget to commemorate the reposed, as testified from an occurrence when he appeared to someone in a dream, telling him, “Pray for the reposed.” He also appeared to a deacon and told him that, “I am very happy that you pray for the sick, always pray and visit the sick.” To a certain lady who saw him in her dream, he told her, “Tell the people that even though I have died I am still alive.” A nurse narrates that one night a gravely ill person was asking the Saint to come to him as he felt he was dying. However, there was a terrible storm and the wind that was blowing cut the power. The phones were not working either and the nurse told him they could not notify him and that somebody would go to the Bishop in the morning. Within half an hour, banging was heard at the entrance of the hospital and when the guard, who was half asleep, asked who it was, the Saint told him: “Open the gate, I am Bishop John, they invited me and are expecting me.” The guard opened and the Saint passed through the corridor fast and asked the nurse, “Who is the sick one who is expecting me, take me to him.” How did the Saint read the mind of the patient and went through the storm to the hospital to be beside him? He was clairvoyant and he defied everything for the sick. Since he would often travel by plane, and his body also arrived from Seattle to San Francisco by plane, he is considered patron of those traveling by plane and because someone escaped injury from a car accident, he is also considered a patron of travelers.

A speech therapist teacher, Anna, had helped the Saint in Shanghai. She was teaching him to pronounce the vowels correctly, because he had a problem with his lower jaw and could not correctly pronounce words. Due to the strict fasting, his constitution was exhausted and his lower jaw hung a lot. He always gave her $20 after each visit. When he would start the fast, his defect would start again and she would visit him more often. In 1945, she was seriously wounded during the war and she would ask him to come to the hospital to commune her. However, the weather was bad and stormy. It was between 10 and 11 p.m. and the doctors told her that this cannot be done because due to the war the hospital closed after sunset. They would inform the bishop in the morning. “I was screaming ‘come Vladika’ and suddenly the door of the hall opened and the Saint came in all wet from the rain. I touched him because I thought that it was his ghost. He smiled, communed me and I fell asleep. Later when I awoke, I told them that the Saint had come and communed me. They didn’t believe me and told me that the hospital was closed after sunset and the door was shut.” Another patient told them that the Saint had really come but they would not believe her either. And while the nurse who would not believe her was arranging her pillow, she found 20 dollars under it. When the Saint came he left her money for she had nothing during that time. The years passed and when the Saint had left for San Francisco, she went there too wishing the Saint to chant and officiate at her funeral. And in fact, in 1968, she died on the evening of the Transfiguration from gas poisoning at her home. Another lady, Olga, dreamt that evening that the Saint was inside the Church and was censing a coffin with Anna in it and chanting the funeral service very beautifully. In this way the Saint fulfilled her wish. In the morning Olga learned that Anna had passed away that night.

He had entrusted Zenaida with the administration of the free meals to the poor, and arranged for her to take money from the account of the Archbishop, a sum of 20 dollars every month for this purpose. One day he gave her as a gift 10 french francs. “I spent everything for that purpose,” Zenaida said, “and in fact during that month I had many expenses and owed 70 dollars. I did not know what to do. I prayed to the Saint (because he was away in America) and I asked him to help me. I told him, ‘I do what you asked me to, but now I have many problems, help me.’” And in the morning the mailman gave her a letter from the account of the Archbishop. She thought that it was the usual 20 dollars, but when she opened it she found 70 dollars, exactly what she owed. She thus went and paid off her debts and wrote a letter of thanks, and the following month it was the usual 20 dollars. The amount was sent by the Saint. Before he left he placed her in charge of the care of an orphan, Vladimir. But partly due to the administration of the free meals and partly due to her aged mother and uncle, she had a nervous breakdown and she started asking the Saint to help her manage. “I’m going to give up,” she would say. “I cannot take it anymore.” That night she saw the Saint in her dream come to her house, but he only blessed her. In the morning the mailman brought her a parcel, a journal with the image of the Saint on it as she had seen it in her dream, and on the cover there was a note: “To Zenaida”. She immediately became happy and was strengthened to continue her struggles. Another time he saved her from certain death. One day while she was planning to go out, she looked outside her window and saw something like a small tube among some cars, and being overtaken by curiosity she got dressed to go down there to see it, to kick it. Then at that moment there was a knock at the door, she opened and it was the Saint. He came in, sat in the armchair for five minutes and left without saying anything to her. Then she went over to the window again and she saw policemen on the road carefully removing this strange thing. She quickly went down and learned that it was a bomb. She would have been killed if she had kicked it, had Saint John not delayed her.

A sick lady with a heart problem was wearing a badge with Saint John on it and one day she fainted in church. The chanter then crossed her with the badge and prayed to Saint John to make her well and she immediately recovered.

Zenaida describes how one day her mother cooked a meal, “vereniki”, which is made with some sort of baked dough with cheese, and is commonly eaten in Russia and was intended for Bishop John. Her uncle saw it on the table and wanted some, but Zenaida took the vereniki to the Saint. The Saint ate very little of the food she brought to him but he did not touch the vereniki at all. Zenaida pressed him to eat some of it but he didn’t, as he knew that her uncle had wanted it.

Once she thought of going to him to ask for a blessing to go to a monastery. That night she saw him in her dream and he would not bless her. While looking at the wall he told her, “For his sake stay” and then the wall opened and out came a baby. She started crying and woke up and in a few days the wife of her brother bore a child but within a month she got sick with tuberculosis and died and her brother gave her his son to raise him. That is why the Saint had answered her this way. Zenaida feels the Saint so close to her even now that he is dead. Once she was planning to go to America with her nephew but he had spent his money, since he thought that his aunt had enough money. But she did not have enough for the tickets. A certain archimandrite she knew had sent her a little money in memory of the beloved Bishop John. So they decided to go but her nephew had spent his money, so she started praying to the Saint to help him. She said, “If you believe that this trip will be good for Philip, help us.” That same day she received a note from the post office with 7,700 francs in her name, exactly the sum she needed for the tickets. She went to the post office and she was told that she could cash out the money immediately the same day. And she cashed it without even having her ID. “I thanked the Saint who always helps me,” she said. She wanted to buy crystal vigil candle holders from the USA (because she could not find them in France). Unfortunately, she always forgot to buy them when she toured the USA. As soon as she went to the tomb of the Saint, she immediately remembered and she later went to buy them, for the Saint had reminded her. May we all have the blessing of Saint John.

Source: Holy Philotheos of Paros, Issue 23, May – August 2008.

Publication of “Orthodox Kypseli” Thessaloniki.

 

ΓΑΛΛΙΑ: ΠΡΟΣΕΥΧΕΣ ΣΤΟΝ ΑΓΙΟ ΙΩΑΝΝΗ ΜΑΞΙΜΟΒΙΤΣ ΑΚΟΜΗ & ΟΤΑΝ ΖΟΥΣΕ – ΖΗΝΑΪΔΑ ΖΟΥΛΙΕΜ (ZINAIDA JULEM)

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http://franceofmyheart.wordpress.com

Ζηναΐδα Ζουλιέμ (ZinaidaJulem), Γαλλία:

«Θα σᾶς διηγηθῶ τώρα ἄλλο ἕνα θαυμαστό γεγονός. Ἡ Ἑλένη Παύλοβα, ὅταν ἦταν μικρό κοριτσάκι, ἀγαποῦσε τόν Ἅγιο Ἰωάννη Μαξίμοβιτς πάρα πολύ. Κάποτε, ὅταν ἐκεῖνος ζοῦσε ἀκόμα, ἦρθε καί μοῦ εἶπε ἡ μικρή: “Θεία Ζηναΐδα, ἔχω μιά κρεατοελιά στήν πατούσα τοῦ ποδιοῦ μου, ἡ ὁποία δέν μπορεῖ νά φύγη, παρά μόνο μέ χειρουργεῖο, ἀλλά ὅμως φοβάμαι τίς χειρουργικές ἐπεμβάσεις. Αὔριο θά πρέπη νά πάω στό νοσοκομεῖο γιά τήν ἐπέμβασι. Τά πάντα εἶναι κανονισμένα, ἀλλά ἐγώ ὅμως δέν θά πάω, γιατί φοβάμαι”.

“Γιατί δέν ζητᾶς ἀπό τόν Ἅγιο Ἰωάννη Μαξίμοβιτς νά προσευχηθῆ γιά σένα; Καί τότε, θά μποροῦσες νά πᾶς μέ ἡρεμία στήν ἐπέμβασι”, τῆς ἀπάντησα.

Μέ τήν παιδική της ἁπλότητα, ἐκείνη τή στιγμή προσευχήθηκε στόν Ἅγιο. Δέν τοῦ ζήτησε μόνο νά ἔχη ἐπιτυχία ἡ ἐπέμβασι, ἀλλά τόν παρακάλεσε νά τήν ἀποφύγει ἐντελῶς. Δέν τοῦ ἔγραψε κᾶν κάποιο γράμμα, ἁπλά τοῦ μετέφερε τόν πόνο της μέ τήν προσευχή της, ζητώντας τή βοήθειά του. Κι ἐκείνη ἀκριβῶς τή στιγμή, ἡ κρεατοελιά ἐξαφανίστηκε καί δέν ἐμφανίστηκε ποτέ ξανά. Ἔτσι ἁπλά! Καί ποτέ δέν χρειάστηκε νά κάνει χειρουργική ἐπέμβασι!

Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἰωάννης Μαξίμοβιτς εἶχε προφητέψει γιά αὐτό τό κοριτσάκι, ὅτι θά γίνει πρεσβυτέρα (θά παντρευθῆ ἱερέα), μάτουσκα δηλαδή, ὅπως λέγεται. Ὅταν ἦταν  ἀκόμα μαζί μας, στήν τελευταία του ἐπίσκεψι καί λίγο πρίν ἀναχωρήση, ἦρθε καί τόν ἐπισκέφθηκε αὐτή ἡ κοπέλα. Κουβέντιασε μαζί του καί τόν ρώτησε: “Μπορῶ νά παντρευτῶ ἕνα Γάλλο νεαρό, ὁ ὁποῖος εἶναι πολύ καλός καί ἐπιθυμεῖ νά μέ ζητήση σέ γάμο;”. Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἰωάννης Μαξίμοβιτς ἔγειρε τό κεφάλι του στό πλάϊ, χαμογέλασε μέ τό παιδικό του χαμόγελο καί εἶπε: “Θά γίνης παπαδιά”. Γιά λίγα δευτερόλεπτα σιώπησε καί μετά ἀπό λίγο συμπλήρωσε: “Μόνο πού θά παντρευθῆς Ρῶσο”, καί σύντομα, πραγματικά ἔγινε μάτουσκα, δηλαδή παπαδιά».

ΠΗΓΗ:

Ἅγιος Ἰωάννης Μαξίμοβιτς,

Ἐπίσκοπος Σαγγάης καί Σάν Φρανσίσκο, ὁ Θαυματουργός

ἐκδ. Ἱ. Μονῆς Ἁγ. Νεκταρίου Φωκίδος

Τρίκορφο 2009

ΓΑΛΛΙΑ: Η ZINAIDA JULEM ΓΙΑ ΤΟΝ ΑΓΙΟ ΙΩΑΝΝΗ ΜΑΞΙΜΟΒΙΤΣ: “ΕΚΕΙΝΟΣ ΠΑΝΤΟΤΕ ΜΕ ΑΚΟΥΕΙ. ΑΚΟΥΕΙ ΤΟΥΣ ΠΑΝΤΕΣ & ΤΑ ΠΑΝΤΑ”!

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http://stjohnmaximovits.wordpress.com

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Ἀπό τίς μαρτυρίες τῆς Ζηναΐδας Ζουλιέμ (Zinaida Julem), πνευματικῆς κόρης τοῦ Ἀγίου Ἰωάννη Μαξίμοβιτς στό Παρίσι:

«Κάθε φορά πού κάνουμε παράκλησι στόν Ἅγιο Ἰωάννη Μαξίμοβιτς τοῦ ζητῶ νά προσεύχεται στό Θεό γιά κάποιο συγκεκριμένο λόγο, ἐκεῖνος πάντοτε μέ ἀκούει. Ἀκούει τούς πάντες καί τά πάντα. Θυμᾶμαι πώς, ὅταν ὁ Ἅγιος Ἱωάννης Μαξίμοβιτς ἔφευγε ἀπό κοντά μας, μοῦ εἶπε: “Ζηναΐδα, ὅταν ἐσύ ἤ κάποιος ἄλλος ἀρρωσταίνει νά μέ εἰδοποιῆτε ἀμέσως”. Ὅταν λοιπόν ἔφυγε γιά τήν ἄλλη ζωή, σκέφθηκα: “Τί θά κάνω τώρα, χωρίς ἐκεῖνον καί χωρίς τή βοήθειά του;”. Βρῆκα ὅμως τί θά ἔκανα: Παρακλήσεις πρός ἐκεῖνον, ζητώντας τίς ἅγιες προσευχές του, ὅπως καί ὅταν ἦταν ζωντανός. Κι ἐκεῖνος ἀκούει καί βοηθάει.

Πρόσφατα, στήν ἐκκλησία μας εἴχαμε μία τέτοια περίπτωσι. Μιά ἡμέρα, ἕνας ἀπό τούς ἐνορίτες μας, βαθειά θρησκευόμενος ἄνθρωπος, ἦρθε στό ναό νά ζητήση βοήθεια. Ἦταν παντρεμένος μέ μία Γαλλίδα καί εἶχε τρία παιδιά. Τό μεγαλύτερο ἀπό τά παιδιά του, ἡ δεκαεξάχρονη κόρη του εἶχε ἔρθει στό ναό πρίν ἀπό λίγο καιρό καί ἦταν μιά ὑγιέστατη καί ὄμορφη κοπέλα. Μιά ἡμέρα ὅμως, κτύπησε στά πλευρά της καί σύντομα ἐμφανίσθηκε ἕνα πρήξιμο σάν μῆλο στό σημεῖο αὐτό. Τήν πῆραν στό νοσοκομεῖο, ὅπου οἱ γιατροί ἀνακάλυψαν ὅτι ἦταν καρκίνος καί τό ἀφαίρεσαν. Τελικά, ὅμως, διαπίστωσαν ὅτι δέν ἦταν μόνο ἐξωτερικό, ἀλλά καί ἐσωτερικό καί εἶχε ἤδη ἀξαπλωθῆ σέ ἕνα ἀπό τούς πνεύμονές της. Ὅταν οἱ γιατροί τό ἀνακάλυψαν, εἶπαν ὅτι ἦταν μιά περίπτωσι χωρίς ἐλπίδα καί μόνο μέ θαῦμα θά μποροῦσε νά σωθῆ. Τότε ἦταν πού ὁ πατέρας της, ἀπελπισμένος ἔτρεξε στήν ἐκκλησία καί ζήτησε ἀπό τόν ἱερέα νά κάνουν προσευχή γιά τή θεραπεία τῆς κόρης του. Ὅταν ὁ πατέρας ἔφυγε, εἶπα στόν ἱερέα μας νά κάνουμε μία παράκλησι στόν Ἅγιο Ἰωάννη Μαξίμοβιτς καί προσευχηθήκαμε μαζί.

Μετά ἀπό λίγες ἡμέρες, ὁ πατέρας τηλεφώνησε καί ζήτησε ἀπό τόν ἱερέα μας νά ἐπισκεφθῆ τήν κόρη του στό νοσοκομεῖο. Ὁ ἱερέας μας πῆγε καί ὅταν γύρισε, μᾶς εἶπε ὅτι οἱ γιατροί τώρα πιστεύουν ὅτι ὑπάρχουν ἐλπίδες καί ὅτι ἡ κοπέλα μπορεῖ νά γίνη καλά.

Πόσα θαύματα γίνονται χάρις στίς προσευχές τοῦ εὐλογημένου μας Ἁγίου Ἰωάννη Μαξίμοβιτς! Πραγματικά, ἀνάμεσά μας ἔζησε ἕνας μεγάλος Ἅγιος! Καί ὁ Ἐλεήμων Θεός ἐπέτρεψε σέ ἐμένα τήν ἁμαρτωλή νά εἶμαι μάρτυρας σέ ὅλα αὐτά τά γεγονότα.

Θαυμαστός ὁ Θεός ἐν τοῖς Ἁγίοις Αὐτοῦ!

Zinaida Zulem

Καλοκαίρι 1978

Παρίσι».

ΠΗΓΗ:

Ἅγιος Ἰωάννης Μαξίμοβιτς,

Ἐπίσκοπος Σαγγάης καί Σάν Φρανσίσκο, ὁ Θαυματουργός

ἐκδ. Ἱ. Μονῆς Ἁγ. Νεκταρίου Φωκίδος

Τρίκορφο 2009

VIDEO – ΑΓΙΟΣ ΙΩΑΝΝΗΣ ΜΑΞΙΜΟΒΙΤΣ: “ΠΕΙΤΕ ΣΤΟΝ ΚΟΣΜΟ: ΠΑΡΟΛΟ ΠΟΥ ΕΧΩ ΠΕΘΑΝΕΙ, ΕΙΜΑΙ ΑΚΟΜΑ ΖΩΝΤΑΝΟΣ”

上海及旧金山的圣伊望 – SAINT JOHN MAXIMOVITCH IN CHINESE

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上海及旧金山的圣伊望

 上海及旧金山的圣伊望(英语:John of Shanghai and San Francisco,俗名米哈伊尔·鲍里索维奇·马克西莫维奇, 俄语:Михаил Борисович Максимович; 1896年6月4日-1966年7月2日)是俄羅斯東正教国外圣主教公会的上海、西欧以及旧金山和美国西部总主教,他也是一位著名的东正教苦行僧和显行灵迹者,拥有超强的说预言、透视,以及祈祷治愈病人的能力,1994年被俄羅斯東正教国外圣主教公会封为圣人。

生平

1896年6月4日,米哈伊尔·鲍里索维奇·马克西莫维奇出生于俄国南部哈尔科夫省阿达莫弗卡村,虔诚信仰东正教的贵族家庭,渊源于塞尔维亚,与18世纪圣人托博尔斯克的圣伊望都主教属于同一家族。他的父亲塞尔维亚的鲍里斯·伊万诺维奇·马克西莫维奇(1871年-1954年),为哈尔科夫省贵族领袖,1950年代移居委内瑞拉。他的两位兄弟也生活在国外,一位兄弟接受大学理科教育,在南斯拉夫成为一名工程师,另一位兄弟毕业于贝尔格莱德大学法律系,任职于南斯拉夫警察机构。

从1907年到1914年,米哈伊尔·鲍里索维奇·马克西莫维奇就读于波尔塔瓦士官武备学校,1918年毕业于哈尔科夫皇家大学法律系,随后就职于哈尔科夫地方法院。米哈伊尔在年轻时信仰颇为虔诚,他的精神导师是哈尔科夫总主教安托尼。他原本打算进入基辅神学院,但在在父母的坚持下改读法律。

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南斯拉夫

十月革命后,米哈伊尔·马克西莫维奇一家随白军撤退,经君士坦丁堡,1921年全家流亡到南斯拉夫的贝尔格莱德。1925年,米哈伊尔毕业于贝尔格莱德大学,获得神学学位。根据他的同时代人描述,

在那个时候,他生活在贫困中,以卖报纸谋生。在那个时代的贝尔格莱德,雨季时泥泞难行。马克西莫维奇穿着沉重的毛皮衣服和俄国旧靴子,经常会摔倒,在密布污垢的街道上,行走缓慢

1924年,马克西莫维奇代表当时的俄罗斯东正教国外教会领袖安东尼都主教,起草了一份关于俄罗斯继承权起源的报告,探讨的问题是,法律如何符合俄罗斯人民的精神和历史传统。

1926年,米哈伊尔·马克西莫维奇剃度成为一名修士,法名伊望,并由基辅都主教安托尼祝圣为辅祭。同年11月21日他又被车里雅宾斯克主教伽弗里伊尔祝圣为修士司祭。此后几年,他任教于基金达镇的塞尔维亚文法学校(至1929年)以及比托拉市的使徒约翰修道院。这一时期,他发表了一系列的神学作品:《圣母和施洗约翰崇拜与俄罗斯神学思想的新方向》、《神圣正教会如何崇敬圣母》、《索菲亚:天主智慧研究》,站在东正教的立场上,与宣传софиологии神学概念的谢尔盖·尼古拉耶维奇·布尔加科夫进行论战。1934年5月28日,他被祝圣为主教。

像许多俄罗斯移民一样,他非常尊重保护俄国难民的南斯拉夫国王亚历山大一世。多年以后,他在法国马赛街头被谋杀现场,为国王主持追思仪式。其他东正教神职人员羞于与主教在街上举行仪式,这时伊望主教拿了一把扫帚,打扫干净人行道的一片地方,睡下,然后用法语主持了仪式。

上海

1934年6月3日,伊望被分派到上海教区担任主教。安东尼都主教致函季米特洛夫总主教,写道:“我衷心向您推荐伊望主教约翰。这个人身材矮小,身体虚弱的人几乎是像个孩子。但是他是一个坚定严格苦修的奇迹。”

当伊望主教来到上海时,位于当地法租界亨利路的主教座堂尚未完成,而当地基本由白俄组成的东正教团体处于深刻的分裂之中:例如圣尼古拉堂自1927年起,脱离上海教区,改受哈尔滨教区和西欧都主教叶夫洛吉庇护,不服从中华正教会。为了实现和解,1934年12月18日,伊望主教前往这座教堂作彻夜祈祷,并带领次日的晨祷。到1936年2月,伊望主教主持完成了位于上海法租界中心的罪人之保障圣母主教座堂建筑。

在中国时,伊望主教被称为慈善家,他迅速介入已有的慈善机构,成为各种慈善事业协会的董事,并为贫穷家庭的儿童创办了以扎东斯克的圣吉洪命名的孤儿院。圣吉洪孤儿院最初只有8个孩子,后来达到数百人,前后合计总数共计有3500人。主教本人亲自前往上海贫民区的街头,寻找患病和营养不良的儿童,把他们带到孤儿院。在伊望主教的传记中写道,

他最喜爱的是孩子,他非常愿意与他们在一起。他一直关心他们,检查他们,给他们发贺卡和礼物。他可以看着他们的眼睛好几分钟时间,目光温暖,放射出的光芒深入人的灵魂,像一位怀抱婴儿的母亲。这种目光是令人难忘的。虽然这位苦行僧的身体像干树皮,但所有见过他一眼的人,都觉得他是地球上最可爱的人。

伊望主教重视宗教教育,拜访监狱和精神病院的患者。在此期间,他据称通过祈祷治愈了许多已经无望治愈的疾病。正是在这里,他行的神迹首次为人所知,这要归功于他的祈祷。作为一名公众人物,他不可能完全掩饰他苦修的生活方式。他不间断地处于祈祷状态之中,常常进行彻夜祈祷,每天只进食一次,而且从不在床上睡觉,只在后半夜在椅子上或地板上休息一二个小时,然后清晨就醒来,开始每日从不间断的事奉圣礼。即使在日本占领期间,他也经常不顾宵禁,仍然进行牧灵工作,日本占领当局也从未骚扰他。

在中国的东正教主教,原本都服从流亡的俄羅斯東正教国外圣主教公会。1945年8月,苏联红军出兵占领满洲,这时,东正教哈尔滨教区和中华正教会北京总会,先后宣布归属苏联支配的俄罗斯东正教会莫斯科牧首阿列克谢一世。伊望主教主持的上海教区和奥西波夫大司祭主持的天津教区则继续忠于流亡慕尼黑的俄羅斯東正教国外圣主教公会。伊望主教是远东地区唯一继续效忠国外圣主教公会的主教。1946年,北京总会魏克托总主教前往上海劝说,伊望主教向中国政府控告魏克托在上海沦陷期间通敌。魏被上海警备司令部扣押了魏克托,高等法院检查处进行侦查,这时苏联政府介入干预,魏克托始被不予起诉而释放。魏克托对伊望主教采取绝罚处分,而慕尼黑的俄羅斯東正教国外圣主教公会则表彰伊望主教,并晋升他为总主教。

当共产党夺取中国政权时,白俄们选择再次逃难。1949年5月4日,解放军夺取上海前夕,伊望总主教率领神职人员和教友离开上海,首先前往菲律宾Tubabao岛建立一所难民营,大约容纳5000名白俄。伊望总主教亲自前往华盛顿哥伦比亚特区,以确保他的教友们获准进入美国。还有少部分白俄得以前往澳大利亚。

items-to-bless西欧

1951年,伊望总主教被调往西欧总主教区,先后在巴黎和布鲁塞尔任职。在这个教区,恢复敬礼未分开的西方教会(即在天主教和东正教分裂之前)的圣人。由于他仔细研究这些圣人的生平,东正教会开始纪念巴黎的主保圣人圣日内维耶、爱尔兰的圣帕特里克以及其他知名的西方圣人。如同在上海一样,他积极从事慈善和牧灵工作,而这里的会众更为分散。他照顾法国和荷兰的东正教会,由于当地神职人员的努力,得以在法国和荷兰出版礼仪书。他也牧养希腊,阿拉伯,保加利亚和罗马尼亚东正教堂区,赋予它们特殊的地位。此外还祝圣了一位东正教司铎,前往西班牙马德里传教。

在他任职期间,在布鲁塞尔建立了以义人约伯命名的纪念堂,以纪念殉难沙皇尼古拉二世。

根据他的同时代人描述,

主教在家里身穿最便宜布料的法衣,脚穿凉鞋,而且常常赤脚。他是一位真正的禁欲派(нестяжатели),追随着另一位伟大的俄罗斯圣徒-圣尼尔·索尔斯基。他是一位上帝的人。

伊望总主教的活动不仅受到许多东正教信徒的赞赏,还受到其他宗教信徒的赞赏。有一个故事说,巴黎的一位天主教神父告诉他的会众,在现代世界也有奇迹和圣人,其证明是俄罗斯赤脚圣伊望走在巴黎街头。

旧金山

1962年,伊望总主教迁往旧金山,次年出任旧金山及美国西部总主教。那时,他被认为是俄羅斯東正教国外圣主教公会主要的候选人之一,但是旧金山只有一位年老的主教在那里事奉。在旧金山,他又遇到一个分裂的社团和一座未完成的主教座堂。几乎在他的任命程序刚启动时,他就成为一些教会领袖诽谤的目标,被控告在主教座堂修建中涉嫌财务违规。参加1963年旧金山审判的一部分圣主教公会主教支持这一控诉,但是最终伊望总主教被证明无罪。

伊望总主教在有生之年最终得以完成了位于旧金山列治文区(Richmond District)盖瑞大道(Geary Boulevard),奉“诸忧苦者之喜乐”圣母为主保的主教座堂,后来自己也安葬在这里。他也为社团带来来某种程度的和平。

伊望总主教对待违反传统东正教虔诚的行为非常严格。因此,当他得知一些教友在万圣节周日晚上之前在舞会娱乐,默默地在房间内走动,然后悄悄地离开。第二天早上,他颁布了一项命令《主日和瞻礼前夕禁止事项》:

神圣的主日和瞻礼前夕,是基督徒祷告和敬畏的时刻,预备好参加或出席神圣礼仪。因此要求所有东正教徒,因为它直接关系到教会仪式。在瞻礼前夕参与娱乐,尤其罪孽深重。如果在主日和瞻礼前夕去舞会或类似的娱乐,翌日不能参加唱经班,等待、进入祭台或站在唱经楼。

封圣

1966年,伊望总主教带着“库尔斯克之根·符印之母”圣像巡游各地。这一年的7月2日(儒略历6月19日),伊望访问西雅图圣尼古拉教堂,在密室祷告时去世。伊望总主教逝世后,许多信徒都以书面确认,正如他所祈祷的,发生了奇迹。他的遗体运回了旧金山,安葬在他兴建的诸忧苦者之喜乐圣母主教座堂主祭台下。他的遗体虽然未经防腐处理,但是到1993年,在打开圣伊望主教灵柩时,却发现其依然完好未朽坏。1994年7月2日,在伊望主教去世28周年之际,被俄国域外教会隆重地封为圣人。他的纪念日定在最接近7月2日的星期六。他在世界许多地方都得到敬爱和庆祝,一部分圣髑奉安于塞尔维亚、俄罗斯、阿索斯山、保加利亚,2008年又有一小部分圣髑来到中国的北京、上海和香港牧区。1996年,在伊望主教的百年诞辰,纽约约旦谷上帝圣三修道院的修士司祭安德列神父绘制了圣伊望的圣像,描绘伊望总主教用十字架和三叉烛行祝福礼的情景,这幅圣像因接触过伊望主教不朽的法体圣髑,被东正教徒认为可以因圣伊望主教的代祷而蒙受蒙受祝福。

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