FRANCE OF MY HEART
SAINT JOHN MAXIMOVITCH IN FRANCE
Reminiscences of his Spiritual Daughter
by Zinaida V. Julem
The period of Blessed John’s life in France has so far been rather obscure, and not much information about it has been available. A devoted spiritual daughter of his, the author of these memoirs, Zinaida V. Julem, fills in this gap, giving us a view from the “inside” and disclosing the mystical world of perhaps the holiest man of the 20th-century. Surely a prophet of such calibre could not get by without evoking envy and hatred, just as did the prophets of old. But to conceal this righteous man from the view of the thirsting new generation would be a sin, because the glory of God, revealed in the lives of the righteous, serves to enkindle that divine fire which Christ our Lord wishes to have burning upon this earth. (St. Luke 12:49).
In anticipation of the forthcoming 20th anniversary of Blessed John’s repose, which will occur on June 19/July 2, 1986, we here present a spiritual portrait of this wonderworker who once walked among us. This account comes from a simple loving heart, guarded by the Patristic awareness of sobriety. Realizing that Blessed John was touched by Divinity and was in contact with the mind of his Creator, the author was able to peer into the mystery of his sanctity. Although her observations only give us glimpses, they offer clear testimony to the close presence of the other world for which the Holy Orthodox Church prepares its children, and to the ability of God’s saints to penetrate that realm even while on earth. That mystery, that revelation beyond our glimpses, remains hidden in God. It is opened to those who, like Blessed John, ascend on the wings of divine love for God and their neighbor. And those of us who watch from below are given renewed hope and the inspiration to increase our upward striving.
Abbot Herman of Platina
ATLANDA ORTHODOX CHURCHES