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His Worldview

By Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky

The Attraction of the Man

THERE IS AN UNUSUALLY attractive power, particularly for the pastor, in the personality of Father John of Kronstadt, in his portrait, the magnetism of his writings, and in his diary My Life in Christ. There is a peaceful and consoling quality in the notes of his diary, not to mention the very subjects of his talks, which spiritually exalt, uplift, and strengthen. Once you have opened the book, the eye is drawn only with great difficulty, and the hand seems by itself to turn one page after another. Where does this attraction of the hearts to Father John come from? Undoubtedly of great significance is the fact that Father John is our contemporary. He made his notes for himself and at the same time for us. He brought into his diaries his personal thoughts, answered the questions of his own soul, but to a certain degree these were also our questions, answers to our perplexing problems, here often is the found confirmation of our own conclusions. What he himself writes down in his diary is justified: "We often hear from others, or frequently read in their writings, that which God has placed in our own mind and heart, what we ourselves have wished, that is, often we find our most beloved thoughts in others." He then offers an explanation: "Is there not one Lord God of minds; is there not one Spirit of His in all those who seek Truth? Is there not one Enlightener, enlightening every person who comes into the world?" (My Life in Christ). Here you have the basic reason for the attraction toward Father John, as he himself indicates. He answers the questions of our own personal spirit. As a person of strong faith, of deep Orthodox religious thought, and of complete unity in word and deed, he answers in a most perfect manner, becoming our friend, our counselor, comforter, reviver, and spiritual teacher.

The theology of Father John, his world view, is deeply Orthodox. Can it therefore be the object of any special study? Is it not already given in the Orthodox catechism? What new thing can be revealed in it?

Of course, Father John's thinking concerning God, in its essence, is that which is transmitted from the Fathers of the Church, catholic, apostolic, and based on the Gospel. In him we do not find any sensational novelty, no modernism in faith. Nevertheless, it is precisely this tradition that attracts special attention; it attracts attention because it is the basis on which Father John expresses his broad world outlook, which which may be called a personal Christian philosophy.

Believers react differently to the truths of faith that they accept. Some accept them without any doubts as indisputable authority. Others strive to unite them with their own general world outlook, faith together with reason. But in either case each must unite his faith with his life, with his deeds. If the content of our faith does not affect the content of our deeds, their essential nature, if our conduct is unaffected by what we believe, then faith ceases to be alive. A synthesis of faith and life is needed, and better yet - of faith, reason, and life. The more completely a person lives the life of the Church, the more complete should this synthesis be. It is quite evident how much this is needed by the pastor. In the person of Father John we are given an example of harmony between theological knowledge and practical understanding of life, together with personal spiritual experience. Before us is the purposeful, deep, harmonious world outlook on which the foundation of the Christian personality of an ideal Christian pastor was formed.

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