Feast Day: December 20th
The Life of Saint John of Kronstadt: The entire believing part of Russia streamed to the Miracle-Worker…
Apolytikion: O Wonderworker living in Christ for ever, with love have mercy on them that are in danger; hear thy children who call upon thee with faith; be thou compassionate unto them that hope for aid from thee, O Father John of Kronstadt, our beloved Shepherd.
Troparion: With the Apostles your message has gone out to the ends of the world, and with the Confessors you suffered for Christ! You are like the Hierarchs through your preaching of the Word; with the Righteous you are radiant with the Grace of God. The Lord has exalted your humility above the Heavens and given us your name as a source of Miracles. O Wonder-Worker, living in Christ for ever, have mercy on those beset by troubles; and hear us when we cry out in faith, O our beloved Shepherd John!
Kontakion: This day the Pastor of Kronstadt Appears before the Throne of God Praying fervently on behalf of the faithful to the chief Pastor Christ, who has promised: “I will build My Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it!”
Quotes by Saint John of Kronstadt
A wise Elder asked his disciples, “Why do we shout in anger? Why do people shout at each other when they are upset?” His disciples thought for a while, one of them said, “Because we lose our calm, we shout for that.” “But, why do you shout when the other person is just next to you?” asked the Elder, “Isn’t it possible to speak to him or her with a soft voice? Why do you shout at a person when you’re angry?” The disciples continued to give some other answers but none satisfied the Elder. Finally he explained, “When two people are angry at each other, their hearts distance a lot. To cover that distance they must shout to be able to hear each other. The angrier they are, the stronger they will have to shout to hear each other through that great distance.” Then the Elder asked, “What happens when two people fall in love? They don’t shout at each other but talk softly, why? Because their hearts are very close. The distance between them is very small…” The Elder continued, “When they love each other even more, what happens? They do not speak, only whisper and they get even closer to each other in their love. Finally they even need not whisper, they only look at each other and that’s all. That is how close two people are when they love each other. When you argue do not let your hearts get distant, do not say words that distance each other more, else there will come a day when the distance is so great that you will not find the path to return! Love calms and agreeably expands the heart and vivifies it, whilst hatred painfully contracts and disturbs it. Those who hate others torture and tyrannise themselves… What is sweeter than love? And yet there is not much love in us! Lord! Thou, Whose love to us infinitely surpasses the love of every father, of every mother, of the tenderest wife, have mercy upon us!”
Ask the Angels and the Saints to intercede for you, just as you’d ask people who are alive. Stand face to face with them, in the belief that they’re also standing face to face with you.
What does the daily invocation of the Saints signify – of different ones each day, during the whole year, and during our whole life? It signifies that God’s Saints – as our brethren, but perfect – live, and are near us – ever ready to help us by the Grace of God. We live together with them in the house of our Heavenly Father, only in different parts of it. We live in the Earthly, they in the Heavenly half; but we can converse with them and they with us. God’s Saints are near to the believing heart, and are ready in a moment to help those who call upon them with faith and love.
God’s Saints are near to believing hearts and, like the truest and kindest of friends, are ready in a moment to help the faithful and pious who call upon them with faith and love… I speak by experience.
There is no one richer than the man who always bears Christ and His Grace in his heart.
When you look upon the Icon of the Mother of God, with her Eternal Infant, marvel how most truly the Godhead was united with human nature, glorify the goodness and omnipotence of God, and, recognising your own dignity as man, live worthily of the high calling to which you are called in Christ – that is, the calling of a child of God and an heir to eternal bliss.
Icons in Churches and houses are necessary because they remind us of the immortality of the Saints; that they live unto Him, that in God they see, hear and help us.
Our requests are necessary expressly to strengthen our faith, through which alone we can be saved. ‘By grace are we saved through faith’ (Eph 2:8). ‘O woman, great is your faith’ (Mt. 15:28). For this reason the Lord made the woman Pray earnestly, in order to awaken her faith and to strengthen it.
When we Pray for others, Heaven intercedes for us.
To what end do fasting and penitence lead? For what purpose is this trouble taken? They lead to the cleansing of the Soul from sins, to peace of heart, to union with God; they fill us with devotion and sonship, and give us boldness before God.
Confession must be sincere, deep and full.
Be true to God always and in everything. If you say the Prayer ‘Our Father’ pronounce each word sincerely, with reverence, fixing your mind and heart upon God alone, not paying attention to anything or anybody around you. If you say any other prayer, say it also with all your Soul, not with your heart divided, not paying undue attention to anything or anybody.
Do not lose your temper with those who sin. Do not have a passion for noticing every sin in your neighbour and judging it, as we usually do. Everyone will give an answer for himself before God… But correct your own sins, your own heart.
When Praying in the evening, do not forget to confess in Prayer to the Holy Spirit with all sincerity and contrition, those sins into which you have fallen during the past day. A few moments of fervent repentance, and you will be cleansed by the Holy Spirit from every impurity; you will be whiter than snow, and tears, purifying the heart will flow from your eyes; you will be covered with the garment of Christ’s righteousness and united to Him, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
You, sinner, who have fallen into the depths of evil, when you represent to yourself the multitude of your sins and fall into despair and hardness of heart, remember that the Heavenly Father sent His Only-Begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, into the world for your Salvation from sins and from eternal condemnation for them. Turn then with faith to this Mediator before God for men, imploring Him from the depths of your Soul to wash away by His All-Cleansing Blood, shed for us on the Cross, your iniquities too; turn zealously to repentance, confessing your sins before His Priest as before Himself, that you may be justified, after which, if the minister of the Sacrament of penitence finds you prepared and fit, draw near to the Holy Cup and you shall be cleansed of your sins: peace shall flow into your Soul like a river and you shall be the son of the Heavenly Father, ‘who was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found’. (Lk 15:32).
Every lying thought bears in itself a proof of its falsehood. This proof is its deadly effect upon the heart; ‘for to be carnally minded is death’. Likewise every true thought contains in itself a proof of its truth. This profit is its vivifying effect upon the heart; ‘but to be Spiritually minded is life and peace’, says the Apostle.
The ringing of bells is a call to converse with God, of children with their Father – a call to appear before Him.
Why is the Creed sung before the changing of the elements into the Body and Blood of the Holy Gifts? Why does the Priest also say the Creed to himself inside the Altar at the same time? In order that those present should believe and remember that the Holy Trinity takes part in the act of the Transubstantiation of the Holy Gifts, and that the Mystery of the Eucharist is the work of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In order also that the Priest himself may celebrate the Holy Sacrament without condemnation and with undoubting Faith in the Mercy and Omnipotence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and afterwards, at the proper time, communicate of it. For at this time especially great Faith is required of the Priest, as then, above all, the enemy uses all his efforts to strike his mind and heart with coldness and unbelief, or to disturb him by doubt.
You feel straitened upon Earth from all sides. Everything betrays you; your relations, friends, acquaintances, riches, the pleasures of the senses, your own body; all the elements – earth, water, fire, air, light – play you false. Cling, therefore, to God alone, ‘with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning’, (James 1:17) Who alone is Love.”
Even at the very Cup the enemy sets his snares for you and disturbs you by various thoughts, against which you must fight, or else, knowing that you have wished for a long, long time to find rest in God, the enemy will not allow it.
Avoid by every means occasions, causes and words that produce enmity, and avail yourself of every opportunity and occasion to show holy and sincere love.
The Divine Liturgy is truly a Heavenly Service upon Earth, during which God Himself, in a particular, immediate, and most close manner, is present and dwells with men, being Himself the Invisible Celebrant of the Service, offering and being offered. There is nothing upon Earth Holier, higher, grander, more solemn, more Life-Giving than the Liturgy. The Temple, at this particular time, becomes an Earthly Heaven; those who Officiate represent Christ Himself, the Angels, the Cherubim, Seraphim and Apostles. The Liturgy is the continually repeated solemnization of God’s Love to mankind, and of His All-Powerful mediation for the Salvation of the whole world, and of every member separately: the marriage of the Lamb – the marriage of the King’s Son, in which the bride of the Son of God is – every faithful Soul; and the Giver of the bride – the Holy Spirit.
Love every man in spite of his falling into sin. Never mind the sins, but remember that the foundation of the man is the same – the Image of God.
When Holy Peace reigns in my Soul, then surely the King of Peace dwells within me, the Lord Jesus Christ, with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, and then especially I ought to be full of feelings of gratitude to the Lord of Peace, and endeavour with all my strength to preserve this Peace within me by means of fervent Prayer and by abstaining from every sin, both inward and outward.
Remember that the Lord is in every Christian. When your neighbour comes to you, always have great respect for him, because the Lord is in him, and often expresses His Will through him.
Never confuse the person, formed in the Image of God, with the evil that is in him: because evil is but a chance misfortune, an illness, a devilish reverie. But the very essence of the person is the Image of God, and this remains in him despite every disfigurement.
Why did the Lord give me life? So that I would turn with my whole heart to God, for my purification and correction. Remember this and correct yourself.
Pray for the Salvation of others as you would Pray for your own Salvation.
The natural property of the lemon tree is such that it lifts its branches upwards when it has no fruit, but the more the branches bend down the more fruit they bear. Those who have the mind to understand will grasp the meaning of this.