John of Kronstadt

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Saint John of Kronstadt.
Icon of Saint John of Kronstadt.

Saint 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 born as Ivan Ilyich Sergiyev (Russian: Иван Ильич Сергиев) on 19 October 1829 at Sura, near the White Sea, in Russia.

From 1855 he worked as a priest in Saint Andrew's Cathedral, Kronstadt, the naval base on the outskirts of St Petersburg. Here he committed himself to charity, especially to those who were remote from the Church, and travelled extensively throughout the Russian empire. He was a member of the conservative Union of the Russian People, but did not commit himself politically.

In the early 1890s Father John became well known, and people from all over Russia came to him every day in thousands.[1] Even the dying Tsar Alexander III, in 1894, summoned him to Livadia Palace so he could be given communion by John.[2] The bishops treated him with high respect.[3] He was already greatly venerated at the time he died, on 20 December 1908.

In 1903, John of Kronstadt, alongside Archimandrite Theophan, Alexandra's confessor, and Bishop Hermogen of Saratov, sponsored Rasputin's first appearance in the imperial capital St. Petersburg; the Orthodox Church were looking for 'holy men' who hailed from the peasantry, to 'revive its waning influence' among the urban population, and increase the church's prestige in the court of Tsar Nicholas II.[4]

In 1909 Nicholas II wrote an order [5] to establish commemoration of St John in the Church. Following it the Holy Synod issued an edict to commemorate Father John annually at the day of his death.

He was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia in 1964, and by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1990. Archbishop John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco (later glorified as a Saint, as well) played an active role in preparation of St. John's canonization.[6] His life and work are commemorated on the feast days of 20 December[7][8] and October 19.[9]

Many churches around the world and Ioannovsky Convent, the second largest monastic community in St Petersburg are dedicated to St. John of Kronstadt.


After the 1905 Revolution some followers of Father John, so-called the Ioannity, formed an underground religious organization that was both deeply anti-socialist and antisemitic, supporting the pogroms of the Black Hundreds movement.[10] Though Father John publicly denounced the 1903 massacre of Jews in Kishinev,[11] he, according to James Webb, later recanted and accused the Jews of causing the violence.[12]

He was also one of the religious figures who patronised the Union of the Russian People, which has been described as 'an early Russian version of the fascist movement', which 'above all [was] anti-Semitic'.[13]

Among emigre Russians, the canonization of John of Kronstadt was criticized by Alexandra Lvovna Tolstaya, the daughter of Leo Tolstoy, because of the priest's negative stance toward her father's apostasy from the Church, though she later reversed her position on this.[14]

Translations of his works[edit]


  1. ^ I. K. Surskiy. Father John of Kronstand (in Russian)
  2. ^ John Perry & Constantine Pleshakov The Flight of the Romanovs: a Family Saga (Basic Books, 1999) pg. 62
  3. ^ Saint John of Kronstadt. Beginnings of faith. Начала веры, М., 2009. ISBN 978-5-91362-208-2. (Russian)
  4. ^ Figes, p. 29
  5. ^ «Церковный вестник», 1909, № 4 (22 января), стб. 97.
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Great Synaxaristes: (Greek) Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἰωάννης τῆς Κρονστάνδης (Ρῶσος). 20 Δεκεμβρίου. ΜΕΓΑΣ ΣΥΝΑΞΑΡΙΣΤΗΣ.
  8. ^ December 20/January 2. Orthodox Calendar (PRAVOSLAVIE.RU).
  9. ^ October 19/November 1. Orthodox Calendar (PRAVOSLAVIE.RU).
  10. ^ Christel Lane (1978). Christian Religion in the Soviet Union: A Sociological Study. SUNY Press. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-87395-327-6. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  11. ^ Krista Berglund (1 January 2012). The Vexing Case of Igor Shafarevich, a Russian Political Thinker. Springer. p. 394. ISBN 978-3-0348-0215-4. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  12. ^ James Webb (June 1976). The occult establishment. Open Court Pub. Co. ISBN 978-0-91205-056-0. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  13. ^ Figes, p. 196
  14. ^ Michael Protopopov (5 May 2006). A Russian Presence: A History of the Russian Orthodox Church in Australia. Gorgias Press LLC. p. 261. ISBN 978-1-59333-321-8. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 


  • Figes, Orlando. A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891–1924. London: The Bodley Head. ISBN 9781847922915. 

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. 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]