Return to Home Page


The Address of Hieromonk John (Maximovich) on his consecration as Bishop of Shanghai on 27 May 1934 in Belgrade.

...Even outside her borders, we remain sons of Russia. Exiled from our earthly homeland, we continue to be the spiritual flock of the hierarchs Peter, Alexis, Jonah, Philip, Hermogenes and Tikhon. We are still part of the suffering and persecuted Russian Church, now soaked in the blood of the hieromartyrs Vladimir of Kiev. Benjamin of Petrograd, Hermogenes of Tobolsk, Mitrofan of Astrakhan, Andronik of Perm, and a countless host of other new martyrs and hieromartyrs. Their testament is our sacred treasure which we must preserve until such a time as it pleases God to reveal His might and raise the horn of Orthodox Christians. Until then we must remain in spiritual unity with the persecuted and strengthen them with our prayers.

Although absent from them, we kiss their bonds, and we grieve for those who have wavered. We know that even the ancient confessors of the truth sometimes wavered. But we have examples of steadfastness: Saint Theodore the Studite, who condemned any departure from the Church's teachings, Saint Maximus the Confessor, Patriarch Hermogenes. We dread to slip from the path they trod, for if human weakness can be used to justify those beneath the yoke of terror, what can we say if we are frightened by mere threats? Living in comparative security, we should strengthen ourselves spiritually in order to re-create what has been destroyed, 'to turn back the captivity of Sion', if the Lord so allows, or ourselves to walk in the footsteps of those who are suffering for the truth - if it should be necessary. For this reason we must above all preserve among ourselves oneness of mind and unity, presenting a unified Russian Church, and at the same time continue her vital work among other peoples. From the very first centuries of Russia's acceptance of Christianity, she sent forth missionaries to distant parts. First to shine forth were the righteous Kuksha and Leonty of Rostov, afterwards Stefan of Perm, Innocent of Irkutsk, and in our time Macarius - Apostle to the Altai, and Nicholas of Japan. Now the scattered Russian people have come to spread the Faith in all corners of the world. The task of the Russian Church Outside Russia is to occupy herself with the work of enlightening as many people as possible from all nations.

It is for this purpose that the Synod of Russian Hierarchs Outside Russia is sending me to a country from which rises the material sun, but which is in need of the illuminating rays of the spiritual Sun of Righteousness.

Acknowledging my weak powers, it is in obedience to the Church authorities and my spiritual mentor that I submit to this choice - not for the sake of honour and power, but to give myself wholly to the service of the Church.

I beseech the Lord God that He will help me and strengthen me to labour actively until death for the sake of the truth...

Sunday of the Man Born Blind
30 April / 13 May 2007

  to top of page