World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

John of Shanghai and San Francisco

Article Id: WHEBN0002185277
Reproduction Date:

Title: John of Shanghai and San Francisco  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: White émigré, List of Serbs, Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, Glorification, John of Kronstadt
Collection: 1896 Births, 1966 Deaths, 20Th-Century Christian Saints, 20Th-Century Eastern Orthodox Bishops, American Saints of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, Burials in California, Chinese Saints, Christian Mystics, Christianity in China, Christianity in San Francisco, California, Christianity in Shanghai, Eastern Orthodox Archbishops, Eastern Orthodox Saints, Eastern Orthodox Theologians, Imperial Russian People of Serbian Descent, People from Slovyansk Raion, Religion in Shanghai, Russian Emigrants to China, Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, Russian People of Serbian Descent, Russian Saints, Russian Saints of the Eastern Orthodox Church, University of Belgrade Faculty of Orthodox Theology Alumni, University of Kharkiv Alumni, White Russian Emigrants to the United States, Wonderworkers
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

John of Shanghai and San Francisco

Saint John the Wonderworker
St. John on his arrival in Shanghai
Bishop of Shanghai, Archbishop of Western Europe, Archbishop of San Francisco
Born (1896-06-04)4 June 1896
Izyum county, Kharkov Governorate
Died 2 July 1966(1966-07-02) (aged 70)
Seattle, Washington, USA
Venerated in Eastern Orthodoxy
Canonized June 19/July 2, 1994, San Francisco, California, U.S. by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
Major shrine Cathedral of the Theotokos, Joy of All Who Sorrow, San Francisco, California, USA
Feast June 19 (O.S.)/July 2 (N.S.) (nearest Saturday in ROCOR)

Saint John (Maximovitch) of Shanghai and San Francisco, also John (Maximovitch) the Wonderworker (Serbian: Св. Јован Шангајски Sv. Jovan Šangajski, Russian: Иоанн Шанхайский и Сан Францисский Ioann Shankhayskiyi i San Frantsiskyi) (1896–1966), was a prominent Eastern Orthodox ascetic and hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) who was active in the mid-20th century. He was a pastor and spiritual father of high reputation and a reputed wonderworker to whom was attributed great powers of prophecy, clairvoyance and healing, and he is often referred to simply as "St. John the Wonderworker".


  • Life 1
    • Shanghai 1.1
    • Western Europe 1.2
    • San Francisco 1.3
  • Death and veneration 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


St. John was born Mikhail Borisovich Maximovitch (Russian: Михаил Борисович Максимович) in 1896 in the village of Adamovka in the Kharkov Governorate (in present-day southern Ukraine). He came from the same family of Serbian origin as that of St. John of Tobolsk whom he was said to resemble in several respects. From 1907 to 1914 he attended Poltava Military School. He received a degree in law from Kharkov Imperial University in 1918. His family brought him to Belgrade in 1921, where in 1925 he graduated from Belgrade University with a degree in theology.

In 1926 he was tonsured a monk and ordained a hierodeacon by Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), who gave him the name of John after his saintly relative. Later that same year, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Gabriel of Chelyabinsk. For several years afterward he worked as an instructor and tutor. In 1934 he was ordained a bishop by Metropolitan Anthony and assigned to the diocese of Shanghai.[1]


In Shanghai, Bishop John found an uncompleted cathedral and 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. Here he first became known for miracles attributed to his prayer. 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 archbishop by the Holy Synod of ROCOR in 1946.

When the Communists took power in China, the Russian colony was forced to flee, first to a refugee camp on the island of Tubabao in the Philippines and then mainly to the United States and Australia. Archbishop John travelled personally to Washington, D.C. to ensure that his people would be allowed to enter the country.

Western Europe

In 1951 John was assigned to the archdiocese of Western Europe with his see first in Paris, then in Brussels. Thanks to his work in collecting lives of saints, a great many pre-Schism Western saints became known in Orthodoxy and continue to be venerated to this day. His charitable and pastoral work continued as it had in Shanghai, even among a much more widely scattered flock.

San Francisco

In 1962 John was once again reassigned by the Holy Synod to the see of San Francisco. Here too, he found a divided community and a cathedral in an unfinished state. Although he completed the building of Holy Virgin Cathedral and brought some measure of peace to the community he became the target of slander from those who became his political enemies, who went so far as to file a lawsuit against him for alleged mishandling of finances related to construction of the cathedral. He was exonerated, but this was a great cause of sorrow to him in his later life.

Deeply revering St. John of Kronstadt, John Maximovitch played an active role in preparation of his canonization.[2]

The Relics of St. John

Death and veneration

On July 2, 1966 (June 19 on the Julian calendar), St. John died while visiting Seattle at a time and place he was said to have foretold. He was entombed in a sepulchre beneath the altar of the Holy Virgin Cathedral he had built in San Francisco dedicated to the Theotokos, Joy of all who Sorrow, on Geary Boulevard in the Richmond district. In 1994 he was solemnly glorified on the 28th anniversary of his death. His unembalmed relics now occupy a shrine in the cathedral's nave. His feast day is celebrated on the Saturday nearest to July 2. He is beloved and celebrated worldwide, with portions of his relics located in Serbia, Russia, Mount Athos, Bulgaria, Romania, United States, Canada (Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church, Kitchener), England (Dormition Cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church, London) and other countries of the world.


  1. ^ Metropolitan Anthony of Kiev and Galicia (1863-1936)
  2. ^ Blessed John the Wonderworker: A Preliminary Account of the Life and Miracles of Archbishop John Maximovitch. Platina: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1987.(ISBN 0938635018)
  • Rose, Fr. Seraphim & Abbot Herman. (1987). Blessed John the wonderworker: A preliminary account of the life and miracles of Archbishop John Maximovitch (Third, revised ed.). Platina: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood. ISBN 0-938635-01-8.
  • Father Seraphim: His Life and Work ISBN 1-887904-07-7.

External links

  • Saint John The Wonderworker Church
  • Official report on the uncovering of the relics
  • Life, Miracles and Sermons of St. John, by Bishop Alexander (Mileant)
  • San Francisco Russian Orthodox Cathedral Mother of God "Joy of All Who Sorrow"
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.