St. John Maximovitch

St. Madarije

How can St. John Maximovitch intercede for us? 

Saint John is known for his healing powers. People travel great distances to see and venerate him and wrap themselves in his robes. They also send and leave him mail, sharing their prayer requests and concerns in letters. He reads the letters and is said to respond to every one in one way or another.


The Life of St. John Maximovitch

St. John was born in Russia in 1896 in southern Russia and was given the baptismal name of Michael. He grew up in a very pious family, so he was always very close to the Church. He went through his schooling and earned a law degree at the University of Belgrade. 

John and his family were forced to flee Russia when the Bolshevik revolutionaries came. He continued his education at the same university in Theology, where he finished in 1925. The following year, he was tonsured a monk and ordained as Hierodeacon by Metropolitan Anthony of Kharkov. After this he began his teaching career in a Serbian high school.

Hiermonk John was consecrated a bishop in 1934 and assigned to the Diocese of Shanghai. Later in 1946, he was named the Archbishop of China. During his time here, he helped to inspire and build many churches and orphanages in the Orthodox communities of Shanghai. He would often visit the sick with Holy Gifts and do so barefoot, no matter how cold it was.

During the end of World War II, when communist power was beginning to affect China, he helped around 5,000 refugees escape to an island in the Philippines, then traveled to Washington D.C. to help amend the law to allow refugees into the United States. This is where he established his first American parish, St. John the Forerunner.

Archbishop John then moved to Paris and was assigned to the Archdiocese of Western Europe in 1951. Eleven years later he was moved to San Francisco, where he began as the Archbishop, where he followed after his longtime friend, Archbishop Tikhon. While he resided in California, he established the new cathedral, dedicated to the Joy of All Who Sorrow Icon of the Mother of God.

It was during a trip to Seattle, Washington in 1966 that Archbishop John reposed, and his incorrupt relics now rest in the new Joy of All Who Sorrow cathedral in San Francisco.

Discussion Questions

  1. St. John Maximovitch was called to fearlessly travel across the world in order to build churches and orphanages. As college students, how can we emulate his passion and surrender to God’s will?
  2. St. John had a degree in law. How could this degree help him through his mission? How can each of our college degrees help our mission as Orthodox Christians?
  3. St. John Maximovitch is one of the only incorrupt saints in America. What does this mean? What is that significance?
  4. Many modern saints personally knew St. John Maximovitch in some way, forming a brotherhood. What is the significance of having a strong group of Orthodox friends as a college student? How can they encourage you spiritually to become a saint?

Learn his Troparion

“Like a spiritual daystar in heaven’s firmament, you encompassed the whole world and enlightened souls, hence your name is glorified throughout the East and West. For you shone forth with the grace of the Son of Righteousness, O John, our beloved shepherd. Wherefore do not cease to entreat Christ that He show mercy and redeem our souls.” (Mode 5)

Pray to him

O, beloved Hierarch John, while living amongst us thou didst see the future as if present, distant things as if near, the hearts and minds of men as if they were thine own. We know that in this thou wast illumined by God, with Whom thou wast ever in the mystical communion of prayer, and with Whom thou now abidest eternally. As thou once didst hear the mental petitions of thy far-scattered flock even before they could speak to thee, so now hear our prayers and bring them before the Lord. Thou hast gone over unto the life unaging, unto the other world, yet thou art in truth not far from us, for heaven is closer to us than our own souls. Show us who feel frightened and alone the same compassion that thou didst once show to the trembling fatherless ones. Give to us who have fallen into sin, confusion and despair the same stern yet loving instruction that thou didst once give to thy chosen flock. In thee we see the living likeness of our Maker, the living spirit of the Gospel, and the foundation of our Faith.

 In the pure life that thou hast led during our sinful times, we see a model of virtue, a source of instruction and inspiration. Beholding the grace bestowed upon thee, we know that God hath not abandoned His people. It is rather we that have fallen from Him, and so must regain the likeness of Divinity as thou hast done. Through thine intercession, O blessed one, grant that we may increase our striving toward our heavenly homeland, setting our affections on things above, laboring in prayer and virtue, waging war against the attacks of our fallen nature. Invoke the mercy of God, that we may one day join thee in His Kingdom. For our deepest wish is to live forever with Him, with the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.



Many people write St. John letters asking for his intercessions about their many worries, concerns, and illnesses. Take some time to compose letters to St. John and send them to:

Holy Virgin Cathedral “Joy of All Who Sorrow”

6210 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94121

You can also read about many of his miracles and responses to his letters here.

Related Saints

St. Herman

St. Innocent

St. Nikolai Velimirovich

St. Mardarije

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