“Although I have died, I am alive…” – Memories of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco



“Although I have died, I am alive…”

Memories of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco

By Matthew Slavko

St. John (Maximovitch) of Shanghai and San Francisco said these words in appearing already after his death to one woman. But he came to many people, and he was always overflowing with life, quenching the thirst of many. Today it is especially appropriate to remember that St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco, the wonderworker, is our contemporary, having reposed only a little over half a century ago, in 1966—that is, quite recently. It is another clear witness to the unity of the Russian Orthodox world, inasmuch as St. John embraces and links Slobozhanschina (Sloboda, Ukraine, an historical region in modern-day northeast Ukraine and southwestern Chernozemie in Russia—ed.), Ukraine, China, Western Europe, and America by his life.

The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad glorified this wondrous God-pleaser among the saints on July 2, 1994. On June 24, 2008, St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco was glorified for Churchwide veneration by the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church.

In Poltava, on July 2 of the same year, the first festive, conciliar Liturgy in honor of the newly-proclaimed saint was served. Touching were the words of the Continue reading ““Although I have died, I am alive…” – Memories of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco”


Saint John Maximovitch & the dove



Saint John Maximovitch & the Dove

When I came to San Francisco to be close to the saintly Archbishop John Maximovitch, I heard a lot of fascinating accounts of his ascetic life. Frequently I visited St. Tikhon’s Orphanage, founded by this Saint, and run then by his long-time assistant, Mrs. Maria Alexandrovna Shakhmatova (+1967). Archbishop John was a very busy man, and I did not dare to be often in his presence…

The orphanage was no longer a place where children were sheltered….Within its walls was Archbishop John’s tiny office, which was so small that even a bed would not fit, where he both lived and had his prayer-room and office…I would visit him there, and have long constructive talks that shaped my life.

One day I came to see Mrs. Shakhmatova, and she, as usual, insisted that I stay for tea, even though I never liked tea. She would get me into her kitchen, almost next to Archbishop John’s office, and ask, almost in the form of an interrogation, about my whereabouts, what I had done that week, what I had read, etc. Usually she scolded me for not visiting her more often Continue reading “Saint John Maximovitch & the dove”

Maria Tsalla of Pollux Band, Greece, 2007: A Personal miracle of Saint John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco (+1966)



Maria Tsalla of Pollux Band, Greece, 2007:

A Personal miracle of Saint John Maximovitch

of Shanghai and San Francisco (+1966)

In 2007, when I was fifteen years old and had lost my father, my prayers each night hid a certain complaint, because God had taken my father so early, and even though I asked to see him at least in a dream, this desire of mine was not fulfilled.

God’s answer to my complaint was not long in coming; it came by way of a dream. In my dream, I was in a strange Church and was waitting in a line with other pilgrims. In front of me were children of various nationalities. As I waited at the end of this line, some people from the upper gallery motioned for me to go forward, and at these instructions the children obediently made way for me.

I found myself in front of an Icon depicting a Saint that I had never seen before. He was elderly and had a grey beard. As I gazed upon the Icon, the Saint stepped out of it like an apparition and told me to go to the right. Heading in the direction he had indicated to me, I saw a reliquary, out of which arose the same elderly man I had seen in the Icon. This time, however, he was not an apparition, painted in the colours used by Iconographers, but was flesh and blood.

I approached him, and we both sat down on the reliquary. He did not frighten me; I felt as if I were sitting with a friend on a bench and not with a Saint on a reliquary. He looked in my eyes with love and tenderness. His eyes emitted love and effection, and beautified his aged and bent body. Embracing me paternally, he spoke to me in a different language – not Greek or other languages that people speak. It was as if our souls were communicating. He told me that thenceforth he would be my father. His embrace filled my soul with calm and his fragrance made the dream real.

I woke up thinking about him, and with many questions as to who the elderly man was. Alongside the questions, however, I also had an answer to my question: “Do I have a father?”. Of course I did; I just did not know his name. I asked for help from my mother, who is a catechist and knows a great deal about Saints and their lives. None of those she mentioned, however, corresponded to the description I gave her. I only knew that he had a gray beard, was elderly, short, and bent, and, in any event, a foreigner, since the Church did not look Greek Orthodox, nor were the other pilgrims Greek, and he had not spoken to me in Greek.

My mother advised me to pray to him to reveal to my who he was. The answer to my prayer did not come through a dream this time, but rather through a birthday gift given to me by my spiritual Father (to whom I had never told the dream). I opened the gift and saw that it was a book. When I opened it, I saw the “strange” Church (“strange” to me, that is, because it was Russian) that I had seen in my dream, the Icon of the Saint, his reliquary, and the man himself! That is how I learned his name: St. John Maximovitch, the protector of orphans. Thus it was that I learned the name of my father – the father of all orphans, the afflicted, the weak, the poor, and the wronged. The Saint never leaves me, but is always near me and often appears in my dreams to give me support, consolation, and advice in difficult moments.

God took my [biological] father, but He also took care to send me an incorrupt one (the incorrupt Relics of the Saint are located in San Francisco), who is also on earth and who reminds us that whoever follows Christ has no reason to fear death.

I feel myself fortunate; but, at the same time, since God permitted such a thing to happen to me, the most sinful one, I have a responsibility to help as many people as possible learn about St. John Maximovitch, so that, just as I have been changed, he might also bring about a change for many other people who are reading these words now and who are searching for a place of refuge and a paternal embrace. The only thing I could do as a fifteen year old was to make a Facebook page called SAINT JOHN MAXIMOVITCH https://www.facebook.com/groups/211026374035/permalink/10151823170044036/, which today numbers more than 3,000 members. In the embrace he offered me,we all fit!

Maria Tsalla, Greece


Facebook of Maria Tsalla about St John Maximovitch

Saint John Maximovitch in the Netherlands






Archbishop John Maximovitch


Netherlands Orthodox Church

Archbishop John is honored as the Founder of the Netherlands Orthodox Church, and the first Life of him to appear after his death was in the Dutch- language periodical of this Church (their article that follows appeared in the same issue).

Later, the major Life to date of Vladika (The Orthodox Word, Nov.-Dec., 1966) was translated in full into Dutch and printed in the same organ. The veneration and love of the Orthodox Dutch for Vladika was summed up in Bishop Jacob’s Foreword to their Life of him: “I have no spiritual father any more and shall indeed find no other, certainly not one like him, who from up in the middle of the night to say: Go to sleep now, what you are asking of God will certainly be all right. Vladika, thank you for everything, and Continue reading “Saint John Maximovitch in the Netherlands”

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 Continue reading “Saint John Maximovitch in France”

Saint John Maximovitch in Shanghai, China




john maximovitch






THE ORTHODOX WORD, No. 189, pp. 176-181


There were always wars in China. The Chinese had large families with many children, and there was very little to eat. To save on food, they would get rid of newborns, placing them out on the street to freeze to death. Vladika John would pick them up and bring them to the orphanage. On these outings, the deacon of the cathedral would follow him in order to help and protect him. Once Vladika said to this deacon about a child, “Pick him up.” The deacon objected, “But he’s Chinese.” “But he is made in the image of God,” said Vladika. 

Thus the orphanage grew. Vladika John asked my mother Lydia to help in the orphanage. She was not able to, since she already had six children of her own, but Continue reading “Saint John Maximovitch in Shanghai, China”

St John Maximovitch: God saves His fallen creature by His own love for him, but man’s love for his Creator is also necessary





St John Maximovitch:

God saves His fallen creature by His own love for him,

but man’s love for his Creator is also necessary

Now the Church consists of both her earthly and heavenly parts, for the Son of God came to earth and became man that He might lead man into heaven and make him once again a citizen of Paradise, returning to him his original state of sinlessness and wholeness and uniting him unto Himself.

This is accomplished by the action of Divine grace grated through the Church, but man’s effort is also required. God saves His fallen creature by His own love for him, but man’s love for his Creator is also necessary; without it he cannot by saved. Striving towards God and cleaving unto the Lord by its humble love, the human soul obtains power to cleanse itself from sin and to strengthen itself for the struggle to complete victory over sin.

+ St. John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco, “The Church as the Body of Christ,” Man of God: Saint John of Shanghai & San Francisco