Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Archbishop John of Shanghai

Just a quick follow upon the post about the refurbishment of St Nicholas Orthodox Russian church in Shanghai the other day – click here.

Just to note that a regular visitor was Saint John (Maximovitch) of Shanghai and San Francisco (1896 - 1966) was a noted Eastern Orthodox ascetic and hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). He’s pictured left on the day he arrived in Shanghai. Bishop John came with a mighty reputation as a reputed wonderworker to whom was attributed great powers of prophecy, clairvoyance and healing. A Russian, in Shanghai, he found an Orthodox community deeply divided along ethnic lines. Making contact with all the various groups, he quickly involved himself in the existing charitable institutions and personally founded an orphanage and home for the children of indigents. It was here that he first became known for miracles attributed to his prayer, and as a public figure it was impossible for him to completely conceal his ascetic way of life. Despite his actions during the Japanese occupation, when he routinely ignored the curfew in pursuit of his pastoral activities, the Japanese authorities never harassed him. As the only Russian hierarch in China who refused to submit to the authority of the Soviet-dominated Russian Orthodox Church, he was elevated to the rank of archbishop by the Holy Synod in 1946.

When the Communists took power in China, the White Russians were forced to flee, first to a refugee camp on the island of Tubabao in the Philippines (were many died) and then mainly to the United States and Australia.

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