Feast Day: July 2nd
The Life of Saint John Maximovitch: His work as an Apostle, Missionary and Miracle Worker continues even now…
“If you desire to see a living Saint, go to Bitol to Father John” – Saint Nikolai Velimirovich
Apolytikion: Like a Spiritual daystar in Heaven’s firmament, thou didst encompass the whole world and didst enlighten men’s Souls. Hence, thy name is Glorified throughout the East and West, for thou didst shine forth with the Grace of the Sun of Righteousness, O John, our beloved shepherd. Wherefore, cease not to entreat Christ, that He show mercy and redeem our Souls.
Kontakion: Chosen Wonderworker and superb servant of Christ who pourest out in the latter times inexhaustible streams of inspiration and multitude of Miracles, we praise thee with love and call out to thee: Rejoice, Holy Hierarch John, Wonderworker of the latter times.
Ikos: The Heavens rejoice with us now, and the choirs of the Saints receive a new and All-Glorious adornment. The Apostles greet a universal preacher; the ancient Martyrs praise one who wondrously Glorified their Memory; Holy Hierarchs converse with their peer in eloquence and wisdom; the Venerable marvel at a vigilant Ascetic; Holy kings honour an advocate for the restoration of Orthodox kingship; and the Unmercenaries share their incorrupt and unapportioned reward with an Unmercenary Healer. As all-glorious as thy ministry was, O Father John, so great was the multitude of wreaths fashioned for thee. Wherefore, with the choirs of the Saints pray to Christ God in behalf of us who fall down before thy Precious Relics, that our Souls may be saved in peace.
Exapostelarion: “Even though I have died, yet am I alive! Grieve not, O ye people!” Thus thou hast proclaimed after thy Repose, illumining with mystic light those who hymn thee, O Father John, All-Wondrous and Holy Hierarch.
Troparion: Glorious Apostle to an age of coldness and unbelief, invested with the Grace-filled power of the Saints of old, Divinely illumined seer of Heavenly Mysteries, feeder of orphans, hope of the hopeless, thou didst enkindle on Earth the fire of love for Christ upon the dark eve of the day of judgement. Pray now that this sacred flame may also rise from our hearts.
“No, Lord, I am not worthy of such a question. It is more proper for me to say to my Lord, “Lord, what do You Command me to do?” For it is not my will that should be done by You, but rather let Your Will be my unchangeable law, so that I may always follow it. Lord, tell me what to do.”
Saint John’s Missionary work led him to many places around the world, including China, where he founded an orphanage and gathered sick and starving children off the streets. He taught about Christ through his words and example of life, Praying all hours of the day and night, and built a Cathedral in Shanghai too.
“A child’s prattle is pleasing to Him. The Lord accepts all human appeals, no matter how small or insignificant, if a person’s heart becomes filled with joy and awe as it stands before the Master. All that is small becomes great in the process of being presented to the Lord. All that is imperfect becomes perfect.”
“Holiness is not simply righteousness, for which the righteous merit the enjoyment of Blessedness in the Kingdom of God, but rather such a height of righteousness that men are filled with the Grace of God to the extent that it flows from them upon those who associate with them. Great is their Blessedness; it proceeds from personal experience of the Glory of God. Being filled also with love for men, which proceeds from Love of God, they are responsive to men’s needs, and upon their supplication they appear also as intercessors and defenders for them before God.”
“God’s grace always assists those who struggle, but this does not mean that a struggler is always in the position of a victor. Sometimes in the arena the wild animals did not touch the righteous ones, but by no means were they all preserved untouched. What is important is not victory or the position of a victor, but rather the labor of striving towards God and devotion to Him. Though a man may be found in a weak state, that does not at all mean that he has been abandoned by God. On the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ was in trouble, as the world sees things. But when the sinful world considered Him to be completely destroyed, in fact He was victorious over death and hades. The Lord did not promise us positions as victors as a reward for righteousness, but told us, “In the world you will have tribulation — but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33). The power of God is effective when a person asks for the help from God, acknowledging his own weakness and sinfulness. This is why humility and the striving towards God are the fundamental virtues of a Christian.”
“Be careful! Watch out for your Soul! Turn your thoughts away from what will soon pass away and turn them towards what is eternal. Here you will find the happiness that your Soul seeks, that your heart thirsts for.”
“By the Cross on Golgotha, the prince of this world was cast out and an end was put to his authority. The weapon by which he was crushed became the Sign of Christ’s Victory.”
“Merciful and full of love, the Mother of God manifests her love towards her Son and God in love for the human race. She intercedes for it before the Merciful One, and going about the Earth, she helps men. Having experienced all the difficulties of Earthly life, the Intercessor of the Christian race sees every tear, hears every groan and entreaty directed to her. Especially near to her are those who labour in the battle with the passions and are zealous for a God-pleasing life. But even in worldly cares she is an irreplaceable helper.”
“Sanctity is not just a virtue. It is an attainment of such Spiritual height that the abundance of God’s Grace, which fills the Saint, overflows on all who associate with him.”
“Everything will perish except that which the Soul has gathered through love and Prayer. Everything virtuous done by a man is written in the Soul and will not be taken from him.”
“Our grief over the death of our close ones would be inconsolable and boundless if the Lord had not given us Eternal Life. Our life would be meaningless if it ended with death. What benefit, then, would there be from virtue or good deeds? They would be right who say, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” But man was created for Immortality…”
“Just as a basic concern is to be careful of anything that might be harmful to our physical health, so our Spiritual concern should watch out for anything that might harm our Spiritual life and the work of faith and Salvation. Therefore, carefully and attentively assess your inner impulses: are they from God or from the spirit of evil?”
Icons and Photos
Quotes by Saint John
To partake of the Body and Blood of Christ is to receive in oneself the Risen Christ, the Victor over death, granting to those with Him victory over sin and death. Preserving in ourselves the grace-filled gift of Communion, we have a guarantee and foretaste of the blessed, eternal life of the Soul and body.
Lack of love says: Lord, Lord why do I deserve Your chastisement and love says: Lord, Lord why do I deserve Your Mercy?
When the Church tells us in her Hymns and Icons that the Apostles were Miraculously gathered from the ends of the Earth in order to be present at the Repose and Burial of the Mother of God, we as Orthodox Christians are not free to deny this or reinterpret it, but must believe as the Church hands it down to us, with simplicity of heart.
Until a man’s Earthly life finishes its course, up to the very departure of the Soul from the body, the struggle between sin and righteousness continues within him. However high a Spiritual and moral state one might achieve, a gradual or even headlong and deep fall into the abyss of sin is always possible. Therefore, Communion of the Holy Body and Blood of Christ, which strengthens our contact with Him and refreshes us with the living streams of the Grace of the Holy Spirit flowing through the Body of the Church, is necessary for everyone.
If God the Father chose her, God the Holy Spirit descended upon her, and God the Son dwelt in her, submitted to her in the days of His youth, was concerned for her when hanging on the Cross – then should not everyone who confesses the Holy Trinity venerate her?
The end of the world’ signifies not the annihilation of the world, but its transformation.
We partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, in the Holy Mysteries, so that we ourselves may be members of Christ’s Body: which is the Church.
O Lord, my God! I am – all of myself – at Your complete disposal; I am ready to accept everything that You send me. Now I have reasonably and completely understood that without correcting my life by the Light of Your Commandments I can do nothing good by myself. Therefore, I promise You to try with all my strength never to do anything contrary to Your Holy Will!
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.
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 granted 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 be 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.
Freedom is attained only through a long and difficult process of self-knowledge, working on oneself and being vigilant towards one’s inner life.
For union with Christ, the mere conjoining of our body with the Body of Christ does not suffice. The consumption of the Body of Christ becomes beneficial when in Spirit we strive towards Him and unite ourselves with Him. Receiving the Body of Christ, while turning away from Him in Spirit, is like the contact with Christ which they had who struck Him and mocked and Crucified Him. Their contact with Him served not for their Salvation and healing, but for their condemnation. But those who partake with piety, love and readiness to serve Him, closely unite themselves with Him and become instruments of His Divine Will.
At night commend yourself with complete sincerity into the hands of the Heavenly Father.