Ancient Faith Radio: Saint John Maximovitch of Shanghai & San Francisco (+1966) – July 2





Ancient Faith Radio:

Saint John Maximovitch of Shanghai & San Francisco (+1966)

July 2

This brightly-shining Saint of our own day was born in Russia in 1896. In 1921 his family fled the Russian Revolution to Serbia, where he became a monk and was ordained a priest. From the time of his entry into monastic life he adopted a severely ascetical way of life: for the rest of his life he never slept in a bed, sleeping only briefly in a chair or prostrated before the icons. He ate one meal a day, in the evening. Teaching seminarians in Serbia, he instructed them each day to devote six hours to divine services, six hours to prayer (not including the divine services!), six hours to good works, and six hours to rest (these six hours obviously included eating and bathing as well as sleeping). Whether his seminarians followed his counsels we do not know, but he himself not only followed but exceeded them.

In 1934 he was made Bishop of Shanghai (in the Russian Church Abroad), where he served not only the Russian émigré community but a number of native Chinese Orthodox; from time to time he served the Divine Liturgy in Chinese. When the Communists took power in China, he laboured tirelessly to evacuate his flock to safety, first to the Philippines, then to various western countries including the United States. He served as Bishop in Paris and Brussels, then, in 1962 was made Archbishop of San Francisco. Throughout his life as monk and hierarch he was revered (and sometimes condemned) for his ascetical labours and unceasing intercessions. During his life and ever since, numerous miraculous healings of all manner of afflictions have been accomplished through his prayers.

Once, in Shanghai, a caretaker, investigating strange noises in the cathedral after midnight, discovered Bishop John standing in the belltower, looking down on the city and praying for the people. Years later, when he visited Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York, the priest responsible for hosting him found the saint walking through the halls of the monastery, standing outside the door of each room and praying for the monk or seminarian sleeping within. When the Archbishop had prayed outside each room, he returned to the beginning of his circuit and began praying again; and so he spent the entire night

Even as Archbishop, he lived in near-absolute poverty. His appearance was striking: His cassock was made of blue Chinese “peasant cloth,” crudely decorated with crosses stitched by orphans who had been in his care in Shanghai. His Bishop’s “miter” was often a cloth cap to which he had glued paper icons. Even in the United States, even while serving the Divine Liturgy (which he did every day), he went barefoot in all seasons. (Eventually, after he was hospitalized with an infected foot, his Metropolitan ordered him to wear shoes; thereafter, he wore sandals). Needless to say, he was an embarrassment to those who like their bishops to make a more worldly appearance, but among his various flocks throughout the world, there were always those who recognized him as a Saint in his own lifetime.

Following his repose in 1966, a steady stream of healings and other miracles was accomplished through his intercessions, and in 1996 he was glorified as a Saint of the Church. His incorrupt and wonder-working relics can be venerated at his cathedral in San Francisco. At St John’s funeral, the eulogist told his mourners (and all of us): because Archbishop John was able to live the spirituality of the Orthodox Church so fully, even in modern, western, urban society, we are without excuse

Footnote: An acquaintance of Monk John once met him on a train in Serbia. When asked his destination, Monk John replied, “I’m going to straighten out a mistake. I’ve gotten a letter meant for some other John whom they intend to make a bishop.” The same person met him again on his return journey and asked if he had been able to resolve his problem. John answered, “The mistake is much worse than I thought: they did make me a bishop.”

(From Ancient Faith Radio)




Letter To A Roman Catholic Friend – Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA


Letter To A Roman Catholic Friend

Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA



Can one be Roman Catholic and Orthodox? I would like to share with you a brief letter that was published some time ago in an Italian Orthodox parish newsletter. Its author, Archpriest Gregorio Cognetti, is the Dean of the Italian parishes under the Moscow Patriarchate. This letter was generally liked by the Italian Orthodox converts, and also received a high degree of appreciation among some cradle-born Orthodox (it was, for instance, translated into Romanian); I hope it may be prove an interesting reading and a source of inspiration for all of you.


Chapel Hill (U.S.), March 1982

Dear Bill,

Even though you never asked it directly, I feel from your words that you do not yet understand why I left the Roman Church to become Orthodox.

You were even a member of one of the least latinized Byzantine parishes, you seem to say, why, then?…

I guess I owe you an explanation, since, a long time ago, when we were both members of the Latin church, we shared the same feelings. These same feelings brought both of us to a Byzantine rite parish, and then myself to Orthodoxy. You could not have forgotten the criticisms that we moved to the Romans: the continual insertion of new traditions in place of the old ones, Scholasticism, the legalistic approach to spiritual life, the dogma of papal infallibility. At the same time we both reckoned the legitimacy and correctness of the Orthodox Church. A Uniate parish seemed the optimal solution. I Continue reading “Letter To A Roman Catholic Friend – Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA”

Bringing the Orthodox Faith to the African-American Community – From the OCA Diocese of New York and New Jersey





Bringing the Orthodox Faith to the African-American Community

From the OCA Diocese of New York and New Jersey



“We would love to reach out to African-Americans in our community, but we don’t know how.”

“I don’t know where to begin.”

“I’m afraid we’ll be seen as too white and too exotic.”

“How do we merge the Black church and culture with [fill in Orthodox ethnic group of choice]?”

Sound familiar? Orthodox parishes across the country struggle with outreach to various ethnic groups — wishing to expand the parish’s evangelistic efforts in bringing Holy Orthodoxy to Blacks, Latinos, and Asians — but lacking the knowledge, insights, and tools to do so. With the biggest of hearts and greatest of desires, this area of evangelism … bringing and sharing Orthodoxy with ethnic minority groups … can nevertheless seem daunting enough to persuade many to never even begin the effort.

To address these concerns and provide information, ideas, and tools to train and equip clergy and laity to begin effective outreach to African-Americans, the Diocese’s Commission on Mission and Evangelism sponsored a one-day training workshop called “Bringing the Orthodox Faith to the African-American Community.” Thanks to the gracious hosting of Saints Peter and Paul Church in Manville NJ on Saturday, 16 July 2016, the workshop brought together over 40 people from across two deaneries as well as outside of the diocese to hear and learn from two outstanding speakers on African-American outreach: Father Alexii Altschul (a founder of the Brotherhood of Saint Moses the Black), and Father Deacon Turbo Qualls (the Brotherhood’s Chapter Development coordinator).

Father Deacon Turbo spoke first in the morning, following a Molieben (prayer service) for the “Beginning of Any Good Work.” He addressed a powerful theme: Orthodoxy is not “the White Man’s Religion” and was never imposed on Africans brought to America via the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade (and, further, that Orthodoxy, unlike virtually all of Western Europe and Western Christianity, was never involved in the evil of such human trafficking). Rather, Orthodoxy is an historic African faith that has had roots in Africa since the time of the Apostles: the Acts of the Apostles notes the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch by Saint Thomas; and Church Fathers, many of whom lived and were from northern African nations like Libya, Egypt, and Carthage.

Father Alexii spoke in the afternoon about his experiences as a white man married to a black woman, raising a blended family, who ultimately found and embraced the ancient Orthodox Christian Faith. He began “Reconciliation Ministries” (now known as Reconciliation Services, it continues to serve the poor and marginalized of the Troost Avenue neighborhood of Kansas City). He, his late wife, and community started Saint Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church, now a parish of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North America.

After deliberating further opportunities for mutual discussion and networking, the workshop ended with another Molieben “For the Cessation of Strife” as found in the Great Book of Needs, Volume IV.

Plans are underway for more conferences in this outreach series beginning later this year.

The Gift of Orthodoxy – Elizabeth Huestis, CA, USA & Australia


NGS Picture ID:1457720


The Gift of Orthodoxy

by Elizabeth Huestis, USA & Australia



St. Paul speaks of being “an Apostle out of due time” in the sense that he did not know Jesus first-hand, and did not travel around with Jesus the way that the other Apostles did. Yet God chose him particularly to have a special and useful place in the Church. In the same way, converts are not natural inheritors of Orthodoxy in the same way as are those people born in traditionally Orthodox countries and cultures. But God takes us from all sorts of places, adopting us in a special way, making us a part of His Church in a way that we would have no natural inherited right to. (Someone born Greek or Serbian or Russian would normally inherit Orthodoxy.)

Because God has chosen to give us Orthodoxy outside of normal means, perhaps we tend to cherish it more and also to feel the obligation to share it with those who do not have the gift and also to help those who have inherited it to understand and appreciate it better. This becomes more true when in retrospect it is possible to see that our becoming Orthodox was not just a Continue reading “The Gift of Orthodoxy – Elizabeth Huestis, CA, USA & Australia”

Le Prêtre et la touriste Américaine – Hiérimoine Tryphon, Washington, É.-U.A. ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* French



Le Prêtre et la touriste Américaine


Hiérimoine Tryphon, Washington, É.-U.A.



Une femme protestante de Tacoma (état de Washington), était en vacances avec son mari dans la ville grecque d’Athènes. Chaque jour, elle se rendait dans un petit café près de l’hôtel pour prendre son café et regardait les habitants passer. L’un de ces habitants était un prêtre orthodoxe qui passait près du café en allant à son église paroissiale. La femme souriait et le prêtre hochait la tête, souriait et continuait son chemin.

Un jour, ce prêtre grec, qui parlait anglais, remarqua que la femme américaine avait un regard triste sur son visage et il s’approcha de sa table et demanda si quelque chose la troublait. Elle éclata en sanglots et raconta au prêtre les problèmes médicaux de son mari, et qu’elle craignait pour le pire. Le prêtre s’est assis avec elle et a prié pour elle et son mari. Chaque jour, il s’arrêtait pour s’asseoir à sa table, priant pour le rétablissement de son mari.

Quelques semaines se sont passées et le mari a récupéré de sa maladie et est revenu aux États-Unis avec sa femme. Le souvenir de la compassion de ce prêtre pour une femme étrangère est resté dans sa mémoire toutes ces nombreuses années. Elle a partagé ce souvenir avec son médecin, qui est un de mes amis, et je partage (N.d.T c’est-à-dire l’hieromoine Tryphon) ce souvenir avec vous.

Quel véritable disciple et serviteur du Seigneur était ce prêtre généreux ! Puissions-nous, comme ce prêtre, être à l’écoute de ceux qui en ont besoin et que le Seigneur nous met sur nos chemins . Puissions-nous avec des cœurs ouverts toucher et apporter la guérison à ceux qui souffrent, leur faire savoir que nous nous soucions pour eux et qu’ils ont un ami pendant leur temps de chagrin, de besoin et de désespoir.

Avec l’amour en Christ,

Hiérimoine Tryphon. (post du 27 juin 2017 )

Digital Natives Embrace Ancient Church – Twentysomethings captivated by Orthodoxy


Digital Natives Embrace Ancient Church


Twentysomethings captivated by Orthodoxy


Andrea Goodell



Tim Flinders will graduate from Grand Valley State University next month. Raised Lutheran, he also explored fundamentalist Baptism, Roman Catholicism and even Messianic Judaism before converting to Orthodox Christianity this year.

“Orthodoxy has completely transformed me already,” he said. “I feel like the first time in my life I’m growing spiritually.”

Flinders, 22, like many other young people converting to Eastern Orthodoxy, was looking for authenticity and historical accuracy in his Christian faith.

“I had so many different questions that needed to be answered,” said Flinders, who added he wrestled with the many divisions of the Christian church over the years.

He became Eastern Orthodox Christian at St. George Orthodox Church in Grand Rapids.

Recently he attended the second annual Encountering Orthodoxy Conference at Hope College.

The Rev. Deacon Nicholas Belcher, dean of students at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Boston, gave the opening keynote address, using the themes of holy week to introduce Orthodoxy to the more than 50 who attended.

Eastern Orthodox Easter, Pascha in Greek — the language favored by Orthodox everywhere — fell on the same day as Western Easter this year.

Belcher described the nailing of Jesus to the cross as “one of the most cruel things human beings have ever thought of to do to other human beings.”

Eastern Orthodox Christians, he explained, experience the crucifixion and resurrection in the now during liturgy.

“There is no sense that we are just talking about something that happened a long time ago. It is today,” he said.

Dustin Miller, a Hope senior, attended the conference for extra credit in his history of Christianity class, but said,

“I’ve always been curious about Orthodoxy.”

He, too, said he was looking for the apostolic, historical roots of the Christian church. Miller considers himself non-denominational and said he didn’t know the Hope campus had Orthodox students.

“I’ve been trying to figure it out, trying to find what best fits me,” Miller said.

The Orthodox Christian Fellowship campus club, which sponsored this month’s conference, meets Thursday nights for Small Compline (a short Psalm and evening prayer service). Then the handful of Orthodox students, one seminary student and Fr. Steven VanBronkhorst discuss topics such as biblical foundations for Orthodox worship.

He would like to see more inquirers at the OCF meetings and more students at the second annual Encountering Orthodoxy Conference.

VanBronkhorst was a Reformed Church of America minister for almost two decades before coming to the Orthodox church 14 years ago. Still, VanBronkhorst said, he sees many more today looking for the historical church than when he was doing his own searching.

“I always felt that ideally there should be just one church,” he said. “The Orthodox church is by far the most historically faithful body. … Who is going to deny that the greater part of the evangelical world has the faith? They have faith. What they don’t have is the worship.”

Tyler Dykstra of Holland became Orthodox Christian this month.

He grew up Christian Reformed, but says he “wanted more.”

“Over time I started to realize there was so much history I had not known about even though I had gone to Christian schools all my life,” Dykstra, 24, said.

Trudy Ellmore, PA, USA: I Knew Right Then, In That Second…


Holy Trinity Church
1023 5th St
Catasauqua, PA 18032

Philadelphia, USA

I Knew Right Then, In That Second…


Trudy Ellmore, USA



My family of origin is Roman Catholic, the faith I practiced until I was 18. My love of God was deep and personal. There was never a time in my life when God was not present, even in my earliest memories. Yet, when someone witnessed to me and asked,

“Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? If you haven’t, you’re going to hell”

my reaction was one of panic. I turned away from my childhood church to a non-denominational fundamentalist church to allay my fear of damnation. There I met my first husband. After our marriage, we became involved in a Southern Baptist church where we both were baptized by immersion.

Following my husband’s death after 26 months of marriage, my infant son and I returned to my hometown. Thinking all Baptist churches were alike, I joined an American Baptist church, where I met my current husband, who was Continue reading “Trudy Ellmore, PA, USA: I Knew Right Then, In That Second…”