St John of SF in TIME-LIFE "Miracles of Faith" special edition

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St John of SF in TIME-LIFE "Miracles of Faith" special edition

Postby Barbara » Sat 5 January 2019 4:25 am

A recently reissued edition of the TIME-LIFE glossy magazine "Miracles of Faith, Inspiring Stories from the Bible, History, and the Lives of Saints" now includes mention of St John Maximovitch. Probably released for the Christmas season, it is on newsstands across the country.

Mostly covering Catholic Apparitions of the Mother of God, the Miracles of the Savior, and Old Testament miracle stories, a new section of one page of print plus two illustrations spreads the word to readers everywhere about the remarkable Russian Orthodox miracle-worker.

However, the writeup is so poorly done that it does not mention in any detail St John's incredible proliferation of healings. The story line sounds like it was written by a child - or at best a teen - unfamiliar with the great Saint.

The title lines reads :
Becoming John [ ??? what on earth is that supposed to mean ? ] HEALING THE DIVIDE
with a subcaption stating wildly incorrectly - even insultingly to the White Russian emigres who had risked so much to flee from the Communist USSR - "A zealously ascetic monk renowned for miraculous healings was also a leader of the Soviet [ roll of the eyes ] émigré community throughout the world"

The text recounts SOME OF St John's life, but barely focuses on the most important aspects. For example, one line reads, "He was known for frequenting hospitals and visiting suffering people."

What does that mean ? Frequenting hospitals could be loitering in the lobbies. Visiting suffering people is so general that it could mean in the hospital, or anywhere. If the author meant "visiting suffering people in the hospitals", why didn't he phrase it that way ?

At any rate, it sounds so limited the way it's written in comparison with St John's mystical ability to turn up wherever someone needed him -- and pray for that soul -- AND almost always, heal him or her ! The fact is that God via St John healed people of various faiths, not only his Russian flock. That point would have been expected here, in TIME-LIFE. But the description given in the short article barely glosses the surface of St John's amazing feats of healing the most disastrous cases, patients given up by medical authorities, or victims of terrific car accidents never expected to survive.

Then, it calls him "Bishop John" long after he was made an Archbishop, and makes it sound like St John was only elevated to that rank when he arrived in San Francisco in 1962. Neither does the author say a word about the Saint's role in resuming the construction of the magnificent Joy of All Who Sorrow Cathedral ; instead, as if in a huge hurry to complete his article and give out as sparse information as possible, the writer concludes :

"[San Francisco was]
Russian Orthodoxy's largest parish outside of what was then the Soviet Union, and again a divided community[ this refers to an earlier reference to "warring factions" amongst the Russians in Shanghai ]
Archbishop John died four years later, while visiting Seattle, and was buried in a sepulcher in the Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco.

"In 1994, Archbishop John was canonized. A shrine in the cathedral contains some [ ?? ] of his relics."
What a curious way the author has of bringing in the Soviets unnecessarily. Who knew anyway how large the parishes were in the USSR ? These were highly restricted, with any attempt at church attendance by most citizens resulting many times in harsh punishments : an unfriendly visit from the KGB, or being fired from a job.

Why the need to compare the largest parish of Rocor with the MP ? The two had nothing to do with each other during St John's lifetime. It sounds as though the author did not grasp that there was any difference between the free Russian Church Abroad and the KGB-enslaved Moscow Patriarchate.

Why not say that pilgrims come today from all over the world to visit St John's shrine or have prayers said there from afar ?
That would at least give vital information to readers, encouraging them to either visit themselves, have molebens said, or themselves pray to St John for their important needs.
But no, the piece is replete with statements such as "His parents named him for an archangel", as if no reader will have ever heard of Archangel Michael, the most famous of all the glorious Archangels. Is the author afraid of the powerful warrior against the Devil, and thus avoids identifying which Archangel it was ? The next sentence links this heavenly patron with St John's childhood interest in monasticism. What about all the millions of Michaels born in the Orthodox world named in honor of the great Archangel who do not grow up with any wish to become monastics ? The logic of the author is wanting.

Then, what about the 'SOME of his relics' ? Why on earth, if this issue of TIME - LIFE is about great miracles, was not one word breathed about the fascinating fact of St John's incorruption ? Why not a picture of his relics ? Of course, that might endanger the safety of the shrine. But it would surely intrigue many readers who had never heard of him. The phrase "SOME of" makes it sound like there are a few tiny fragments present in a reliquary, as most people familiar with Saints' relics would imagine. It's a pity that this outstanding fact of St John's nearly total incorruption was withheld. Or was it on purpose ... ?

In contrast with the half-page article, there are 2 full-page images of the Saint. Facing the article is a mediocre photo of St John looking tired and none too flattering, when there are SO MANY wonderful pictures of him from which to choose.
The caption for that picture reads incongruously "A BISHOP IN SHANGHAI Known as "the Wonderworker", Saint John suffered from a speech impediment that he feared would render him unfit to be a bishop. Moses endured a similar struggle."
Of all the things that could be said about a life with every minute dedicated to humble service to his fellow human beings, this was the most ridiculous points to showcase. The picture is credited to the Eastern American diocese of Rocor. Was anyone in Rocor-MP consulted on this project ?

Seeing the 2nd full page photo which closes the feature on St John, I figured that Fr Victor Potapov may have been instrumental in bringing the Saint to the attention of TIME Inc. But unfortunately, neither he nor any other clergyman or Church historian seems to have been interviewed or invited to edit the woeful text of the article. This image is of an Icon in the Rocor-MP Washington DC Cathedral [ copy below ]. It depicts St John holding the Cathedral, which he founded, surrounded by pictorial scenes from his life in the traditional style.


The weird caption for this ? "HIS WORLD IN HIS HAND [ huh ?? It's the St John the Baptist Cathedral, not a globe ] St John the Wonderworker held a church in his hand. [ huh ?? does TIME-LIFE mean 'is holding a Church which he was responsible for building' ? Why not say the NAME of it and give the connection to St John's time in the US capital when he was arranging for the Tubabao refugees to emigrate to America ? Or other riveting information, of which there is SO much from St John's eventful life ? ]

The caption idiotically ends, "This iconography identifies him as "a church builder" " <-- too ridiculous for words. Then why not list St John's other church-construction projects : the Brussels Cathedral and the Joy of All Who Sorrow Cathedral in which he rests ?

The entire piece looks like a machine translation of material penned in a foreign language. Even then, the coverage is sadly lacking.

However, at least St John Maximovitch has made his debut in the mainstream media. After this TIME-LIFE coverage, hopefully other major publications of the Western world - and the Eastern as well - will take interest and turn out far superior essays explaining who this marvel of the 20th century was and what he accomplished. Moreover, well-illustrated, researched and presented articles that don't sound like a 9th grader's religion class paper.

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Re: St John of SF in TIME-LIFE "Miracles of Faith" special edition

Postby Barbara » Mon 7 January 2019 12:17 am

Here is the Amazon link in case anyone wants to see what this was about. The magazine was released December 14, 2018 [ namesday of Holy Metropolitan Philaret ! ], in time for Christmas as I thought ; there is a note on the cover to vendors to remove it from the shelves by mid-March. ... 01QS5DQK6R

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