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St. Johnís fame.


Exactly twenty-five years before, on December 20, 1883, a "grateful announcement" from a group of people had appeared in the Novoye Vremia, people who had received a cure through St. Johnís prayers with the testament from him "to live by Godís truth and to partake of Holy Communion as often as possible." On the very following day, this announcement, signed by sixteen people of various callings, was read by the Oberprocurer in the Synod. Its members were surprised by such a sudden announcement, while Metropolitan Isidore expressed dissatisfaction over the fact that these announcements were published in a lay paper without permission from the church censorship...

Thus was the foundation laid for St. Johnís fame throughout Russia.

This phenomenon could not be measured by any standard of everyday life, and there is no need to be surprised by the perplexity, replete with doubts, displayed by members of the Synod. Even such a person as Theofan the Vishensky hermit deemed it his duty to raise his voice of warning, addressing St. John with a letter of love and guidance. He pointed out to St. John that he was taking on an ascetic life while in the world, amidst lifeís temptations and misfortunes, and that this must lead to a terrible fall, or else would end in nothing, since no one, from the time of adopting Christianity, not only in Russia, but also in the East, had yet dared to venture upon such a path while being not a monk, but a priest, living beyond the walls and rules of a monastery. Bishop Theofan was afraid that this would inevitably give rise to a very great temptation for the clergy and people... Time was required before Bishop Theofanís heart became calm again and he was capable of trusting St. John: "A man of God," he called him now, "whose prayer reaches God through his great faith," while he called his thoughts "a fragrant breeze of a spring morning." However, St. Johnís anointment to perform great miracles was not hidden from the spiritual gaze of other holy men. Thus, the venerable Paraskeva Kovrighina, who, as repeatedly testified by St. John himself, directly moved him to dare invoke miracles in prayer daily and everywhere, did this not by her own volition: it was willed to her by Ilarion, the favorite disciple of St. Seraphim of Sarov (who lived as a hermit in the Rieshminsky Monastery). He had told her: ĎThe time has come for you to follow the noble path, leaving your home. Go to Kronstadt; a new star in Christís Church has risen over there ó Father John! Go and serve him! My blessing be with you!"

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