On October 2 at 2:00 p.m. His Eminence, Archbishop Peter of Chicago & Mi-America arrived in the Village of Adamovka, the birthplace of St. John of Shanghai & San Francisco.
At the gates of the monastery Vladyka Peter was greeted by the sisters of the skete, who presented the traditional bread and salt to the distinguished guest. Having blessed the sisters and the parishioners who had gathered for the greeting, Archbishop Peter, together with Metropolitan Arseny, proceeded to the recently installed bronze monument to St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco. Having venerated the image of the saint, his cell attendant commented on the external similarity to the internal, human qualities of Vladyka John. Then Vladyka Peter was shown the buildings of the skete, and was acquainted with the progress of the construction of a new summer church in honor of the Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God.
The All Night Vigil began at 3:00 p.m., and was led by Metropolitan Arseny.
At the end of the divine service, Vladyka Peter spoke about Saint John (Maximovich) to all those present in the church, named in honor of this saint of God. At the beginning of his words, Vladyka spoke about his family's ties with St. John during the Shanghai period of his ministry.
The parents of Vladyka Peter (in the world, Paul Loukianoff) were born in Russia, but during the civil war, his father, being an officer in Kolchak's army, ended up first in Vladivostok, and then in 1922 in China. In Shanghai, he met Vladyka Peter's mother, also an emigrant from Russia. There they were married. Vladyka Peter's older brothers were born in China. Vladyka himself was born in San Francisco and remembers Vladyka John well from 1956, when he was 8 years old. In 1959, he already served Vladyka John at the altar at divine services (when St. John visited San Francisco). Even then Pasha Loukianoff was struck by the attractive power of Vladyka John and the atmosphere of goodness and Christian love that gathered Orthodox Christians in America around him. As a young follower of Vladyka John, he recollected everything that concerned this bishop in San Francisco, for example, that from the day of his tonsure as a monk he slept sitting down or that he often walked barefoot because he had sore feet (due to his ascetic struggles). During the divine services, Vladyka John completely disconnected himself from worldly concerns and did not immediately return to the world at the end of the liturgy, testifying to this himself during conversations with his cell attendant.
Vladyka John officially arrived in San Francisco in 1962 from Paris at the request of the ailing ruling bishop, Archbishop Tikhon (Troitsky), in order to sort out the conflict around the construction of a new cathedral in San Francisco. Vladyka John resolved the conflict, was acquitted by the court at the suit of those dissatisfied with his decision, and in 1963, after the death of Vladyka Tikhon, completed the construction of the church. Vladyka John's spiritual father was Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), whose portrait he always carried with him when he moved from country to country. The portrait was not a professional one, but conveyed the essence of Metropolitan Anthony.
Then Vladyka discussed in detail the last days of Saint John and his death in Seattle. “In my presence, a few days before my trip to Seattle,” Archbishop Peter testified, “Bishop John called the editorial office of the newspaper “Russkaya Zhizn” in San Francisco and dictated an announcement that on the feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist there would be a solemn service in the cathedral and called everyone to be present. After that, on Saturday, June 19/July 2, 1966, upon his arrival in Seattle, Vladyka John celebrated the Liturgy, and after the Liturgy he visited the widow of the previous Rector of the church, after which he ascended to the room assigned to him, leaving those accompanying him on the first floor. After a short time, they heard a noise from his falling body, and when they ran to him, they saw Vladyka on the floor, making an effort to get up. He was seated in a chair, and within a few minutes he gave up his spirit. This chair was previously transferred to the Svyatogorsk Lavra. On the same day, I and my brother, whom I was with on July 2, arrived in Seattle, washed the body of the newly reposed with Vladyka Nektary, and vested him in Paschal vestments. But there were problems with the transportation of the body, since it was Saturday, and Monday fell on the American Independence Day holiday. All city services were no longer working, and the unembalmed body was forbidden to be transported across state lines. It took a significant effort to get permission from the authorities of the states of Washington and California to transport the body of Vladyka John to San Francisco. The success of this effort essential amounted to a miracle for America.
They wanted to bury Vladyka in the cathedral, in a crypt which he had previously appointed for this purpose. The funeral service was on Thursday, on the Nativity of John the Baptist. Then I remembered that announcement in the newspaper that Vladyka John had dictated before his trip to Seattle. The bishops gathered, waiting a long time for Metropolitan Philaret, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, and so the funeral service was held only in the evening. At the service all the bishops spoke, there were many visitors, one might say, from all over the world, since Vladyka was known in many countries. The funeral service ended after midnight. It is important to note here that in San Francisco, burying where it had been decided was prohibited by law. On Monday, a group of petitioners and I went to the city council and within five minutes a change in the law was voted on, and permission was given to bury the bishop in the crypt of the cathedral. They buried him in a crypt under the altar, later the tomb was painted like a chapel. On the day of his death, people visited it after the Liturgy.
Vladyka Peter spoke further about Saint John as a cleryman who celebrated the Liturgy every day, was very strict as regards the performance of services, and that he himself commemorated many names for health and for the reposed. He was present at all examinations of the Law of God in all schools of the city, and always asked the children about the life of the saint in whose honor they were named. Vladyka himself knew well the lives of the saints.
Archbishop Peter also remembered Vladyka John as a man who was very kind to people. He often visited the children in parish schools, and was always in the gymnasia (Russian School) weekly. He especially often visited the sick, always on holidays and always with small gifts, and people greatly appreciated this. Vladyka John did not have a car, and as a rule he drove to the sick in the car of one of the parishioners, who established a duty roster for this purpose.
Vladyka John liked to joke, and often would do so, not being afraid to tease a little bit to get a smile from someone. Vladyka John knew life well, he understood people, sometimes he even arranged so-called “parties” at his own expense in the bishop's house for young people serving in the diocese, so that they would not look for another haven for communication, and would be nearby. He was a cheerful person and at the same time an emulator of God.
Speaking about the glorification of Vladyka John, Archbishop Peter said: “Preparing for the glorification, there was a resolution of the Synod on the examination of the relics. When Vladyka was buried, I closed the coffin with a key and put this key in my pocket, and I kept it all this time. I brought it, but the coffin had rusted and we had to resort to tools to open the lid. " When they opened the lid, they saw that the vestments were covered with green mold. After washing, Vladyka’s hand turned out to be dry, dark in color, but absolutely preserved. The body was also completely preserved, the beard preserved, only a small part of the nose had decayed. The glorification was very solemn, they planned to go around the block with the coffin, but they feared how the residents of the quarter, including the Chinese, of whom there are many, would perceive it, but everything turned out without problems. “In general, everything that concerned St. John was easy to achieve with minimal efforts. This confirms that St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco is a great saint of our time” said Archbishop Peter, concluding his word after the all-night vigil.
At the end of the service in the Church of St. John of Shanghai, Archbishop Peter and Metropolitan Arseny took commemorative photographs with the sisters of the skete, and then departed for the village of Bogorodichnoye, to the skete in honor of the icon of the Mother of God "Joy of All Who Sorrow", where they arrived in the evening. At the entrance to the hermitage, they were greeted by the sisters of the hermitage, whose community numbers more than 30 sisters. Vladyka Peter was acquainted with the skete complex, visited the two-story church in honor of the icon of the Mother of God "Joy of All Who Sorrow" (with the lower altar in honor of St. Sergius of Radonezh) and accompanied by the chants of the female choir of the skete, venerated the holy icons. Vladyka Arseny spoke about the creation of this temple, its murals, the iconostasis in the Baroque style, the icons for which were painted in the Trinity-Sergius Lavra. Upon completion of the tour, a meal was held, at which Archbishop Peter shared with the sisters of the monastery his memories of St. John (Maximovich) and answered their questions.
Bidding farewell to the sisters of the skete and parishioners of the church of Bogorodichnoye and giving them his blessing, Archbishop Peter and Metropolitan Arseny departed for Svyatogorsk Lavra. Thus concluded the second day of the visit of Archbishop Peter to Svyatogorsk.
An article in Russian and photographs of the day can be found at the Svyatogorsk Lavra web site: https://svlavra.church.ua/2021/10/05/kelejnik-svt-ioanna-maksimovicha-arxiep-pyotr-posetil-rodinu-svoego-duxovnogo-otca-skit-v-s-adamovka-foto/