John of Kronstadt

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Saint John of Kronstadt.

John of Kronstadt (Russian: Иоанн Кронштадтский) (19 October 1829, Sura, Arkhangelsk–20 December 1908, Kronstadt) was a Russian Orthodox Christian presbyter and a member of the synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. He was known for his monarchist, chauvinistic, antisemitic and anticommunist views[1][2][3][4]. He is considered a saint the Orthodox. The canonization as a righteous by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia took place in 1964, and by the Moscow Patriarchate — in 1990.


The future Saint was born as Ivan Ilyich Sergiyev (Russian: Иван Ильич Сергиев) on 19 October 1829 at northern village Sura, near the White Sea, in Russia. He came from a hereditary corporation of village clergymen, his father was a poor sacristan (dyachok) in the local church. Little is known about his early life, mainly from late memories. In his autobiography, he claims that his parents gave him to a parish school but the study was too difficult for him. However, he prayed earnestly and received inspiration; so he became the first student in the school, and then in the seminary, which enabled him to enter the Theological Academy in Saint Petersburg, the capital of the Russian Empire. His classmates at the Academy he remembered only by constant talk about humility. He became the 35th out of 39 students who graduated from the Academy in 1855[5].

From 1855 he worked as a priest in Saint Andrew's Cathedral in Kronstadt, the naval base near St. Petersburg. He got this place by marrying the 26-year-old daughter of the arch-priest of this cathedral. After the marriage, he surprisingly refused to have sexual relations with his wife, despite her complaints to the church authorities. Here he committed himself to charity, especially to those who were remote from the Church, and travelled extensively throughout the Russian empire.

By the early 1890s John had become well known, and people from all over Russia came to him every day in thousands. He practiced mass confessions, during which thousands of people wiped out their sins and went into a frenzy, which was often accompanied by hysterics and tears.[6] Even the Tsar Alexander III of Russia in 1894 summoned Father John to Livadia Palace (in the Crimea) trying to find relief of his deadly disease.[7] John claimed later that he had raised the dead, but failed to heal the Tsar by his pray.[6] John was widely venerated as a saint even during his lifetime thanks to his fame as a powerful prayer, healer and visionary. «Ioanittes» sect even stated, that farther John is a God himself, that he is a home for Father, Son and Holy Spirit at the same time[8].

The escape of John of Kronstadt. Magazine «Pulemet», caricature. New York Public Library

John condemned the participants in the Kishinev pogrom; but then changed his mind, he apologized to the pogrom-makers and accused the Jews themselves of the pogrom. During the Russian Revolution of 1905, he helped organise the Black Hundreds as a militia to aid the police in the fight against left-wing extremists and to restore order. After the October Manifesto, he was one of the founders of the Union of the Russian People.

John, the only one of all the priests of St. Andrew's Cathedral, fled from Kronstadt, during the uprising in 1905; the rest of the priests of St. Andrew's Cathedral held a procession to the rebels; they persuaded them to stop the uprising. The press accused John of cowardice after this act; journals published caricatures on John.

In 1909 Nicholas II wrote an order [9] to establish the commemoration of St. John in the Church. Subsequently the Holy Synod issued an edict to commemorate St. Father John annually on the day of his death.


Father John became the first saint, canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia in 1964 independently from Moscow Patriarchate. St. John Maximovitch, Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco, played an active role in preparation of St. John's canonization.[10] A well-known conservative ideologist of the ROCOR, Archimandrite Constantine (Zaitsev) believed that the most powerful heavenly patrons of Russia are John of Kronstadt and the Tsar Martyr with his family.[11] John was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1990, after the beginning of Perestroika and the liberalization of church life in the USSR.

John of Kronstadt reawakened the Russian Orthodox Church to the Apostolic tradition of receiving Holy Communion at every Divine Liturgy. For this reason he is most commonly portrayed holding a Communion chalice. His life and work are commemorated on the feast days of 20 December[12][13] and October 19.[14]

Icon of Saint John of Kronstadt.

Many churches around the world and the Ioannovsky Convent (the second largest monastic community in St Petersburg where his relics lie) are dedicated to St. John of Kronstadt.

Translations of his works[edit]


  1. ^ Иоанн Кронштадтский // БСЭ. — 1-е изд. — Т. 29. — 1935. — Стлб. 74.: «известный черносотенный русский церковный деятель… Проповеди Иоанна Кронштадтского носили явно черносотенный и антисемитский характер, особенно характерны его выступления против социализма»
  2. ^ «<…> автор погромных проповедей и статей, активный поборник контрреволюции, участник церковной травли Л. Н. Толстого. Культ Иоанна Кронштадтского используется реакционными кругами рус. церк. эмиграции в антикоммунистической пропаганде.» — Иоанн Кронштадтский. // Атеистический словарь. / под ред. М. П. Новикова. — М.: Политиздат, 1985. — С. 177.
  3. ^ «Именно контрреволюционностью, приверженностью монархизму, шовинизму и антисемитизму объясняется благословение Иоанном Кронштадтским "Союза русского народа" и других погромных, черносотенных промонархистских организаций. Вот что сказал на панихиде по И. Сергиеву известный московский черносотенец протоиерей И. Восторгов: "Он призывал Божие благословение на патриотические союзы и содружества и сам состоял даже их членом". Поэтому и нет ничего неожиданного в том. что в связи со смертью кронштадтского протоиерея Святейший Синод получил телеграмму соболезнования от председателя "Союза русского народа" Дубровина. А и некрологе сообщалось, что при продвижении погребальной процессии от Балтийского вокзала до Иоанновского монастыря "впереди его гроба несли освященное им знамя Союза русского народа"» (Гордиенко Н. С. Кто такой Иоанн Кронштадтский. СПб.: Ленингр. орг. о-ва «Знание» РСФСР, 1991/ С. 9; цитата по книге История государства Российского : Жизнеописания. XX век / Рос. нац. б-ка; Авт.-сост. С. Н. Синегубов и др. - М. : Кн. палата, Том 5. XIX век. М., 1998. /С. 170)
  4. ^ Walter Laqueur, Black Hundreds: The Rise of the Extreme Right in Russia, New York : HarperCollins, 1993
  5. ^ Герой веры или "артист императорских церквей"
  6. ^ a b I. K. Surskiy. St. Father John of Kronstandt (in Russian)
  7. ^ John Perry & Constantine Pleshakov The Flight of the Romanovs: a Family Saga (Basic Books, 1999) pg. 62
  8. ^Родиной Булгаков С. В.: Хлысты-киселевцы // Расколы. Ереси. Секты. Противные христианству и православию учения. Западные христианские вероисповедания. Соборы Западной Церкви. — М., 1913
  9. ^ «Церковный вестник», 1909, № 4 (22 января), стб. 97.
  10. ^ Blessed John the Wonderworker: A Preliminary Account of the Life and Miracles of Archbishop John Maximovitch. Platina: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1987.(ISBN 0938635018)
  11. ^ Культ императора Николая II в традициях российского православия XX – начала XXI вв.
  12. ^ Great Synaxaristes: (in Greek) Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἰωάννης τῆς Κρονστάνδης (Ρῶσος). 20 Δεκεμβρίου. ΜΕΓΑΣ ΣΥΝΑΞΑΡΙΣΤΗΣ.
  13. ^ December 20/January 2. Orthodox Calendar (PRAVOSLAVIE.RU).
  14. ^ October 19/November 1. Orthodox Calendar (PRAVOSLAVIE.RU).

Further reading[edit]

  • Алабовский М., священник. Великий пастырь русского народа. (Блаженной памяти о. Иоанна Кронштадтского). Киев, 1909;
  • Свящ. А. Семенов-Тян-Шанский. Отец Иоанн Кронштадтский. — Изд-во им. Чехова, Нью-Йорк, 1955.
  • Игумения Таисия. Записки. Беседы с отцом Иоанном Кронштадтским. СПб, 2002.
  • Митрополит Вениамин (Федченков). Святой праведный Иоанн Кронштадтский. СПб, 2005.
  • Санакина Т. А., сост. (ГААО), «Из родословной семьи Сергиевых: Иоанн Ильич Сергиев (Кронштадтский) и его семья», Наш храм, 2002, № 2, 2-3.
  • В.В. Антонов, А.В. Кобак. Святыни Санкт-Петербурга. Историко-церковная энциклопедия в трех томах. СПб.: Издательство Чернышева, Т.1, 1994. - 288 с., Т.2, 1996. - 328 с., Т.3, 1996. - 392 с., ил.
  • Walter Laqueur: Der Schoß ist fruchtbar noch. Der militante Nationalismus der russischen Rechten; München 1995; S. 76–83.
  • Alla Selawry: Johannes von Kronstadt: Starez Rußlands; Dornach: Pforte, 1989; ISBN 978-3-85636-064-1
  • Karl Christian Felmy: Predigt im orthodoxen Russland. Untersuchungen zu Inhalt und Eigenart der russischen Predigt in der 2. Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts, Göttingen 1972, Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, ISBN 3-525-56428-7
  • Aksenov, R., „Pasi ovzy Moja“. Utschenie o pastyrstwe swjatogo Ioanna Kronschtadtskogo, W pomoschtsch pastyrju, Klin 2002.
  • Akwilonow, E. P., Mysli o. Ioanna Kronschtadtskago o wospitatelnom snatschenii slowa Boschija, St. Petersburg 1909.
  • Bolschakow-Artamonow, N. I., Istotschnik schiwoj wody. Opisanie schisni i dejatelnosti otza Ioanna Kronschtadtskago, St. Petersburg 1910.
  • Duchonina, E. W., Is moich wospominanij ob o. Ioanne Kronschtadtskom, St. Petersburg 1907.
  • Felmy, K. C., La teologia eucaristica di Ioann di Kronstadt, trans. by E. Cosentino, in: La Grande Vigilia, ed. A. Mainardi, Spiritualità orientale, Bose 1998, 225-242.
  • Ioann (Samojlow), Pastyr – sowerschitel Bogosluschenija. Po sotschinenijam swjatogo prawednogo Ioanna Kronschtadtskogo, Sergiew Posad 2007, ISBN 978-5-9900983-1-2.
  • Kizenko, N., A Prodigal Saint. A Prodigal Saint: Father John of Kronstadt and the Russian People, Studies of the Harriman Institute, The Penn State Series in Lived Religious Experience, University Park 22003, ISBN 0-271-01976-X.
  • Knechten, H. M., Licht in der Finsternis – Johannes von Kronstadt, Studien zur russischen Spiritualität VII, Kamen 2010, ISBN 978-3-89991-109-1.
  • Konstantin (Sajzew), Duchownyj oblik protoiereja o. Ioanna Kronschtadtskago, Jordanville 1952.
  • Michail (Semenow), Otez Ioann Kronschtadtski. (Polnaja biografija s illjustrazijami), St. Petersburg 1903.
  • Ornatski, I. N., Schitie i trudy prisnopamjatnogo protoiereja prawednika o. Ioanna Kronschtadtskogo, Moskau 1916.
  • Parfeni (Kotow), Spasenie w Zerkwi. Po tworenijam swjatogo prawednogo Ioanna Kronschtadtskogo, Moskau 2004, ISBN 5-85134-063-0.
  • Romuschin, W., Swjatoj Ioann Kronschtadtski w Krymu, Simferopol 2005, ISBN 966-8111-61-3.
  • Schenskaja Surskaja obitel, O. Ioann Kronschtadtski. (Polnaja biografija s illjustrazijami), Archangelsk 2004, ISBN 5-85879-165-4.
  • Smirnowa, E. S., ed., Kronschtadtski pastyr, Zerkowno-istoritscheski almanach, Bd. 1, Moskau 2002, ISBN 5-86809-016-0.
  • Sokolowa, T. A., ed., Swjatoj prawednyj Ioann Kronschtadtski. 1829-1908. Sbornik, Rossijskie sudby 11, Moskau 1998.
  • Strischew, A. N., ed., Swjatoj prawednyj Ioann Kronschtadtski w wospominanijach samowidzew, Moskau 1997.
  • Surski, I. K., Otez Ioann Kronschtadtski, Moskau 2008, ISBN 5-85280-135-6.
  • Tereschtschenko, T. N., Simfonija po tworenijam swjatogo prawednogo Ioanna Kronschtadtskogo, Moskau 2007, ISBN 978-5-485-00141-4.
  • Weniamin (Fedtschenkow), Otez Ioann Kronschtadtski, St. Petersburg 32005, ISBN 5-88335-053-4.
  • Werchowzewa, W. T., Wospominanija ob otze Ioanne Kronschtadtskom jego duchownoj dotscheri, Sergiew Posad 1916.
  • Whyte, A. D., Father John of the Greek Church. An Appreciation, with some characteristic passages of his mystical and spiritual autobiography („My Life in Christ"), Edinburgh, London u. New York 1898.

External links[edit]