St. John of Kronstadt

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Troparion of St John of Kronstadt Tone 4
With the Apostles thy message has gone out to the ends of the world,/ and with the Confessors thou didst suffer for Christ;/ thou art like the Hierarchs through thy preaching of the Word;/ with the Righteous thou art radiant with God’s grace./ The Lord has exalted thy humility above the heavens/ and given us thy name as a source of miracles./ O wonderworker living in Christ forever,/ have mercy on those in trouble/ and hear us when we call to thee with faith, O our beloved shepherd John.

Another Troparion of St John of Kronstadt (composed by Archbishop Maximovich of San Francisco) Tone 4
O Wonderworker living in Christ forever,/ with love have mercy on those in danger;/ hear thy children who call upon thee with faith;/ be compassionate to those who hope for aid from thee,/ O Father John of Kronstadt, our beloved shepherd.

Kontakion of St John of Kronstadt Tone 4
Thou wast chosen by God in infancy/ and in childhood received the gift of learning./ Thou wast called to the priesthood in a vision during sleep/ and didst become a wonderful shepherd of Christ’s Church./ Pray to Christ our God/ that we may all be with thee in the Kingdom of heaven,/ O Father John, namesake of grace.

From a life of St. John:

Born in 1829 from pious parents of very modest means, St. John was quick to learn the power of prayer. As a child he was a slow learner, but one night after fervently praying for God’s help in his studies, he suddenly felt as if he were violently shaken, as if “the mind opened up in his head.” From then on he became a good pupil, graduating at the head of his class. He went on to seminary in St. Petersburg where he began to prepare for missionary activity in Siberia and Alaska. But in a dream he saw himself as a priest in a large cathedral and soon thereafter he married and was ordained and appointed to serve in the St. Andrew Cathedral of Kronstadt–the very cathedral which had appeared in his dream. Kronstadt was a port city full of poverty, drunkenness and immorality. It was here that Father John poured out his compassionate love and began his extraordinary ministry founded on prayer. Literally thousands, including Jews and Moslems, flocked to him for spiritual and material aid and were witnesses to his God given powers of healing, spiritual discernment and prophecy. His genuine Christian love brought many to repentance and conversion and the cathedral which held up to 5,000 people was packed every day for Divine Liturgy. He died Dec. 20, 1908, and his funeral, attended by tens of thousands, conveyed that radiance of Paschal joy which constantly shone upon the face of Father John whom many affectionately called, the “Easter batiushka”.

From a life by Blessed Seraphim Rose:

In her canonization and glorification of St. John of Kronstadt, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad not only confirms for her own faithful the sanctity of their beloved and venerated pastor and father, but now holds up his holy example of a life in Christ for the whole world to see. Up to this time, one might say, he has belonged to the Orthodox Russian people. Few outside of faithful Russians have been aware of the last flowering of Holy Russia, of the profoundest Orthodox spirituality that occurred just before the Revolution; St John was the most fragrant blossom of this flowering. In his life of asceticism and constant prayer, in the spiritual care he devoted to the thousands and millions of Orthodox believers who comprised his flock, and above all in the untold miracles he worked during his own lifetime and after his death, miracles which continue to the present day, – St. John is revealed to be beyond doubt one of the greatest of Russian and, indeed, of all Orthodox Saints.

This great Saint has had a special role to play in the life of the Orthodox Russian people. He was a prophet who foresaw the fall of the Russian Empire and the exile of the Russian faithful. Seeing the spiritual cause of this fall in the worldliness and lack of living faith that were so widespread in the last days of the Empire, he called Orthodox faithful to repentance and renewed awareness of their Christian vocation and responsibility. His appeal is still heard today, and if the Orthodox Russian people dispersed in exile throughout the world are still faithful to Holy Orthodoxy � even if only a small remnant � it is in part due to his still-living example and his holy prayers.

But now St. John, while remaining the spiritual patron of the suffering Russian people, has become a Saint of the universal Orthodox Church of Christ. It is no accident that his canonization has taken place outside of Russia, in the still free world into which he foresaw that the Russian people would be sent, and in which Orthodox churches would be erected, as a testimony of Christian Truth before a world that is, despite its pretensions, unbelieving. To this unbelieving world, in all the languages in which his words have been and will yet be translated, he now speaks the same message that he spoke to the Russian people in his own lifetime. This world, with its imposing outward structure that makes it seem to some so secure, is actually tottering, its foundation rotting away from the self-love and unbelief with which it is filled. Its fall is at hand, and the same godless beast that once swallowed the holy Russian land now stands ready to devour the rest of the world and complete his aim to exterminate the last Christians and lead apostate humanity in its worship of Antichrist.

This, perhaps, is what lies before us if we do not return to the path of a righteous Christian life. There are some who would consider such thoughts of the imminent Second Coming of Christ and the terrible Last Judgment, of which St. John constantly reminded us, to be too �negative.� But if his warnings were correct, then we have to fill our hearts not with fear and terror, but with tearful repentance, with zeal to lead a truly Christian life, and with fervent hope of attaining the Kingdom of Heaven, which is our true home.

It is to nothing but a genuine and profound Christian faith that St. John calls us. In an age when too many pastors preach a �new Christianity� that is only worldliness in disguise, his is a rare and much-needed voice � not for Russians alone, not for Orthodox Christians alone, but for the whole world, if it will but listen.

O holy Saint of Christ, John of Kronstadt, pray to God for us!

As may be guessed, St. John is a very popular saint, and there are many accounts of his life:

Life of St. John of Kronstadt (a full multi-part reading)
Saint John of Kronstadt by Bishop Alexander (Mileant), translated by Marina Vraciu/ Seraphim Larin (a full multi-part reading)
A Spiritual Portrait of Saint John of Kronstadt

And if you wondered what it was like to make Holy Confession with Saint John of Kronstadt, you can go here.
And here is a preparation for confession by St. John.
Bishop Kallistos Ware has an article on confession and St. John.

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