St. John of Kronstadt: The Circle of Grace (2)

St. John of Kronstadt: The Circle of Grace

How fascinating to see a Saint through the eyes of another!

Who would have thought that St. John of Krostandt had helped finance, all the way from Russia and in very difficult times, the construction of St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York! A Saint worthy to meet St. Seraphim Sarov in a vision in January of 1901, in order to warn him of the impending Russian ‘Golgotha’. A spiritual father to Abbess Thaisia and founder of numerous women monasteries under her godly administration. St. Theophan the Recluse, himself a remarkable ascetic of the faith, spoke of him with wonder: “Father John of Kronstadt is a man of God. His prayer has reached God by virtue of his great faith. May the Lord keep him in humility and devotion to His holy will, and in self-sacrifice.”

The Athonite starets St. Silouan asked for St. John‘s  prayers to become a monk. Having finished his military service, before departing for home, Symeon (his name before tonsure) and the company clerk went to visit Father Ioann of Kronstadt to ask for his prayers and blessing. However, Father Ioann was absent from Kronstadt, so they decided to leave him letters instead. The clerk began to write a long letter in his best handwriting, but Semyon wrote only a few words: “Father, I wish to become a monk. Pray that the world does not detain me.” They returned to their barracks in St. Petersburg and, in the words of the Elder, the very next day he felt that all round him “the flames of hell were burning.” St Silouan recalled later in his life: “I still marvel at the power of his prayer. Almost 40 years have passed, yet I have not seen anyone serve the way he did.”

New martyr Alexander Hotovitzky, a Russian Saint living and serving in the United States from 1895 to 1914, also had the blessing to meet St. John of Krostandt and work together! Specifically, St. Alexander traveled to Russia in 1903, and while there, he paid a visit to Fr. John Sergiev — known even then as the wonderworker John of Kronstadt. After his return to America, St. Alexander spoke with a reporter from the Wilkes-Barre Times.  did the research and reprinted the resulting, fascinating article, one of the best things I have ever read in a newspaper, at Orthodox History. (The original date, incidentally, is April 7, 1904.)


*The Circle of Grace