John of Tobolsk

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Icon of St. John of Tobolsk.

Saint John of Tobolsk (1651–1715) was born as Iwan Maksymowicz in Nizhyn, in the Czernihow Voivodeship of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. He was the only one of the seven sons of Maksym Wasylkowski Maksymowicz to choose a career in the Eastern Orthodox Church, in which service he was appointed Ekonom of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra by 1678. But since Bishop Theodore of Uglich wanted someone to succeed him of Chernigov, he appointed St. John Archimandrite of the Eletsky monastery there in 1695. Bishop Theodore of Uglich reposed in 1696 and St. John became Archbishop of Chernigov.

During his pastorate in Chernigov, St. John distinguished himself with running a Spiritual Academy, writing prose and poetry inspired by faith, and inspiring faith in others. His most famous work, which is still the standard work on Theodicy among the Eastern Orthodox, is "Iliotropion", which he wrote in Latin, translated into Slavonic and then into Russian.

In 1711 he was made Metropolitan of the Siberian city of Tobolsk, taking the place of Metropolitan Philotheos who wished to carry out missionary work among the pagan tribes in more remote areas.

St. John reposed peacefully in 1715, inside his quarters while at prayer. St. John was honoured as a saint in Siberia by longstanding local veneration. In 1916 the Russian Orthodox Church officially glorified (canonized) him for veneration throughout the church. His feast day is celebrated annually on June 10, the anniversary of repose.

Saint John of Tobolsk is related to a later, 20th-century saint, John of Shanghai and San Francisco.

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