Fake Spiritual Daughter of St John Maximovitch ?

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Barbara
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Fake Spiritual Daughter of St John Maximovitch ?

Postby Barbara » Tue 24 April 2018 3:25 am

Not long ago, the Rocor-MP website published an interview with a Nun Theodosia [Tikhonovich]. She had purportedly known St John of Shanghai as a young girl living in exile in Paris. She recounts a few stories from that time ; however at least one does not ring true. Could this have been a plant by the MP, I wonder ?

The nun sharply describes the Lesna Convent, where she visited as a child [ an orphan ], as 'now in schism'. Rather too much of a point is made of this : clearly there was some political coaching of Nun Theodosia. Perhaps some of what she said was even scripted for her.


"Vladyka Knew Everything
Recollections of a spiritual daughter of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco

Nun Theodosia (Tikhonovich) was born in Paris, raised in a Russian émigré community, received her tonsure in the Holy Land and now lives in the Kiev Lavra of the Caves. She literally grew up in the Church and knew ascetics who would remain in her heart forever. Mother Theodosia told us about how St John (Maximovich) taught his flock to be merciful....

– What do you remember about him?

– I only remember him from my childhood. He really loved orphans and took great care of them. He taught us to love prayer and to be merciful.

For example, he often took us with him to visit the sick in hospitals. There were three of us girls: Lyalya, Lyolya and Lyulya. I was called Lyolya. There was also a boy named Philipp. Vladyka once took us to a store and said “Each of you pick out a toy.” We didn’t have any toys of our own, we were very poor.

Then he said to me: “Lyolya, you take two toys.”

I was little, but I already knew that if a price tag had a number before the comma, it was expensive, but if the number was after a comma, it was cheap. I kept examining all the toys. Vladyka came up to me and said: “Don’t look at the price, just pick what you like.”

I loved stuffed bunny rabbits, so I picked a big one and a small one. I hid the smaller one behind my back.

Then we went to the children’s hospital. The kids burst into tears as soon as they saw him. He was ugly in appearance, hunched over, with strange hair, he often walked barefoot, in a word, he was a “fool for Christ.” As we approached one little girl, he said: “Lyolya, give your toy to this girl.”

I thought to myself “I didn’t get to play with it yet.” I look at Vladyka, then at the girl, and he said: “This girl is sick, but you are healthy, but later you will be sick, too.” Well, I really loved Vladyka John, how could I not obey? I gave her the big rabbit, and kept the little one behind my back. Ever since then he called me “Bunny.”

When we left the hospital, he said to my friend Lyalya: “You will be a matushka.” She cried out: “I don’t want to live in a monastery!” “Never mind that, you will be a matushka.”

She is now the wife of a priest, a “matushka,” in Geneva.

Vladyka John told me: “Where you take your first steps will be where you take your last.”

Vladyka John often spoke in symbols, so we understood that if our first steps are taken in a monastery, then our last will always be in a monastery.

Only the boy, Philipp, refused to give his toy to the sick children. Philipp stood with him at the foot of a bed; the sick child was crying because he was afraid of strangers, and Philipp was crying because he didn’t want to give up his toy. Vladyka later told him: “You won’t end up well.”

Sadly, when Philipp grew up, he became a drug addict and died young.

When I was eleven years old, St John was already serving in San Francisco, and came to visit Paris one last time. When we met, he told me I will live in Russia. I thought, well, Vladyka has really gotten old. How am I to even see Russia if I am being raised in the Russian diaspora, which was 500% against the Soviet Union? As it turned out, by Divine Providence, I ended up here.

We really loved our dear Vladyka John and were ready to go with him wherever he went, even though he was very strict. I held his staff when he served at Lesna Convent, and I wasn’t supposed to shift my weight from one foot to another—I had to stand at attention. He demanded this of everyone. One could not talk in church. He never omitted anything from divine services, his services were always very long, and sometimes we would moan “How much longer?”

We were very little, but we loved him enormously, and this love has stayed with us ever since. I know that if I pray to him, I will receive what I want. The same thing happens to people who come to Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra and pray to the saints’ relics in the caves, and I’m sure they get what they seek.

– If he was so strict, so unattractive and sometimes acted strangely, why was he so beloved?

– Vladyka knew everything. I cannot explain it. I had a child-like love and attachment to him. But even now I understand that he knew everything.

– Are you saying that Archbishop John had the gift of prophecy?

Yes, he did. For instance, once we were standing in church. It was time to approach the cross, and behind me were two quarrelling women. One said to the other: “I’m not going to kiss his hand, I don’t feel comfortable.” The other responded: “But this is a bishop, you must.” But she refused. The other woman approached, and Vladyka said to her: “Tell your friend that she needs to kiss the cross, but she doesn’t have to kiss my hand.”

Another instance happened when I was very little. I may have been small, but I was stubborn. I was given the duty to lay down the orlets [bishop’s eagle rug] in the proper place during service. Once a bishop picked up an orlets and said that he wouldn’t stand on it after Vladyka John did. But I loved my bishop so much, I said to myself: “Oh, really? I’ll teach you a lesson!” But I didn’t say a word. I usually told Mother Theodora everything, but this time I didn’t. The next day there was a meeting of the Synod of Bishops at the convent, and five bishops celebrated Liturgy. I lay down orletsy for four of them, but not the fifth. Mother Abbess said to me: “Lyolya, another orlets!”

I just shook my head. Again, she said “Lyolya, an orlets!” Again I shook my head. After Liturgy, everyone asked me: “Lyolya, why didn’t you put down another orlets?” Vladyka John approached and said: “Maybe someone didn’t want to stand on it?” I was only five and a half, and I gazed at Vladyka and thought: “Oh, no, now he’s going to tell everyone about how silly I am.”

Some remarkable things have happened in my personal life. If I do something bad, Vladyka John comes to me in my dreams, pointing a figure and threatening me: “Be careful, make sure your candle doesn’t go out.” Then I know I was wrong. I don’t believe in the significance of dreams, but this is special.

https://www.synod.com/synod/engdocument ... ghter.html

There are so many things wrong with this that I will attempt to list a few. Other readers can add their ideas.

1st off, this "interview" could have been calculated to undermine St John Maximovich by forces against him -- or MP people jealous of Rocor's famous Miracle-Worker.

Notice how many unflattering pictures are given of the great Saint, some minor but nonetheless adding up to create not so favorable of an image. He tells the young Nun Theodosia to pick whatever stuffed animals she wants, grandly saying that price is no object. But how could that BE ? The entire Russian emigration in Paris was in dire financial straits. Even Grand Duchess Marie barely made it -- and she was the daughter of Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich and the protected ward of Grand Duchess Elizabeth and her husband Grand Duke Serge, the Governor of Moscow for some years, hence raised in the greatest luxury. Her book Education of A Princess details ruefully how she barely stayed afloat in exile in Europe. So what about the rest of the emigres ?

St John's and his Rocor flock were unable to afford a real Church building so had to make to with a dingy Parisian garage. That truth does not square with the profligate spender that Nun Theodosia paints the Archbishop of Western Europe as above. I don't believe there are any other accounts of St John purchasing stuffed animals for children, though no one can say for sure that he did not. We hear of the Saint giving out little Icons or items of much-needed food. But not ostentatious presents like this, which would sound more like a practice in affluent America of that era.

Next, St John predicts that the future nun will be sick later. That's not characteristic of St John. I have read so many accounts of his miracles - in English only, since the Russian accounts have not been seen fit to be translated. Never does St John tell someone to his or her face that they will become ill ! It seems so unlikely.

Then he tells the other little girl that she will become a Matushka. Again, how many other times did St John tell people such things, particularly when a small child ? This phony-sounding 'interview' makes St John out to be a fortuneteller for everyone in sight. When the little boy Philip refuses to give his animal away, St John is made to say that Philip will come to a bad end. But why would St John tell other very young children this momentous information, even if he were prone to give predictions about people's lives ? This is more of an Optina Elder thing to do. St John healed people and solved their worldly problems and physical maladies : he was not one to hand out prophecies right and left.

The prediction of the holy hierarch that this Nun Theodosia "will live in Russia" strikes me as made up, too. It serves the purpose of the MP which is unremittingly intent on getting anti-Communist emigres to return to "the Motherland". Better yet, for the Rocor flock to confess that they were wrong to flee, that they always cherished a place for the Soviet homeland in their hearts, that they prayed tearfully for their compatriots during the 'painful years' of the Cold War. So this life story just happens to fit that scenario perfectly. In a part not included above, Nun Theodosia asks the Holy Land Abbess for advice not on how to attain her soul's salvation nor on pre-revolutionary history -- no, only one thing : how to contact her relatives in Ukraine via St Vladimir.
Last edited by Barbara on Tue 24 April 2018 4:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Fake Spiritual Daughter of St John Maximovitch ?

Postby Maria » Tue 24 April 2018 4:02 am

I do not agree that this person is necessarily a "fake spiritual daughter."

St. John Maximovitch died long before the ROCOR in a KGB-orchestrated move voted to join the MP, and nuns are often kept in the dark being prohibited from gossiping or listening to the news. That this nun would have stayed with the ROCOR-MP or joined a monastery associated with the MP is not surprising.

Priests and Bishops are often given gifts for impoverished children in the hospitals or orphanages, so this account rings true. That Bishop John would use this opportunity to teach orphans to give gifts and to be charitable to those children who are suffering in the hospital is laudable.
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Re: Fake Spiritual Daughter of St John Maximovitch ?

Postby Barbara » Tue 24 April 2018 4:08 am

I don't know that she is a fake spiritual daughter, which is why I put a question mark at the end. I am thinking she genuinely knew St John, but that some of her memories were embellished or fabricated by other actors. I haven't finished but even so far, the cast of the interview fits the MP agenda like a glove.

She left the Rocor Convent in the Holy Land and returned to Ukraine. That is exactly what the MP always has wanted : to say to Rocor "Ha ha, we win and you lose". The competition was in my opinion all from the MP's side because the MP knew quite well that Rocor was doing the right thing, but sought to undermine Rocor at every opportunity in every department.

As far as the stuffed animals, the future nun tells the story that St John took the children to a store and purchased the expensive toy animals. The nun was born in 1954, so she must have been 4,5,6,7 or so years of age at the time she knew him, let's say up to 1962 when he was assigned to San Francisco. These years were very difficult for the Russian emigres. If St John had any substantial gifts of money given him, he surely would have used that to help his flock in necessities, like rent, food, perhaps taxi fares or Metro fares to get to Church or work. St John would have purchased Icons for people and presented those. NOT fluffy animals which again sound like something from financially comfortable suburban American family life !
Last edited by Barbara on Tue 24 April 2018 4:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Fake Spiritual Daughter of St John Maximovitch ?

Postby Maria » Tue 24 April 2018 4:16 am

That this story about St. John is being published by the MP is remarkable, don't you think?

Even hardened communists often take one step backwards followed by two steps forward to confuse the ignorant.

Could it be that the MP is telling the truth here to give a better impression and to cover some of their evilness, ecumenism, and heresies?

St. Elisabeth Convent, under the MP, is doing a wonderful job in caring for the sick. The MP needs these nuns, and no doubt is posting stories like this to encourage vocations, where nuns can work for the communist state without demanding a salary. These nuns in turn are wonderful ambassadors for Russia and the MP. Look at the religious videos which the MP is producing. These propaganda videos are painting a very rosy picture of life in Russia.

p.s. Regarding the stuffed toy animals. It has been known for some time that stuffed animals like teddy bears give great comfort to sick children. So, if a person donates some money to a bishop asking him to purchase some toys for sick children, don't you think that this act of charity would be done? In every parish which I have belonged, especially around Christmas time, we are asked to buy toys for the sick children and to donate these toys to give comfort to those in need.
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Re: Fake Spiritual Daughter of St John Maximovitch ?

Postby Barbara » Tue 24 April 2018 4:31 am

Well, it was published by the MP, in fact, and given a splash. An authentic anti-Communist emigre's account would never make it to the MP media.

Sentences like these tipped me off at the 1st reading :

Nun Theodosia : "Vladyka Laurus later became my spiritual father. He tonsured me a nun in 1986 in Jerusalem. Remembering him always brings a tear to my eye. This was a man who also loved us all, he was very meek and prayerful. Thank God, it was under his reign that canonical communion was reestablished between the Russian Church Abroad and the Russian Orthodox Church."

A heartwarming anecdote is proffered of the future Met Laurus at Lesna. [ How often did Met Laurus visit the Provement Convent, by the way - ? Only Mother Evfrosinia could enlighten us here. ]
However, it was Met. PHILARET who is said to have sojourned there every summer possible. Why are the cute little schemes relating to him absent ? He also loved the youth. But like St John, he was interested in conveying the truths of the Orthodox faith to the youngsters. Not in handing out little props like a doll or a stuffed animal.
Last edited by Barbara on Tue 24 April 2018 4:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Fake Spiritual Daughter of St John Maximovitch ?

Postby Maria » Tue 24 April 2018 4:39 am

Barbara wrote:Well, it was published by the MP, in fact, and given a splash. An authentic anti-Communist emigre's account would never make it to the MP media.


Never say never. Again, communist propagandists are known to take one step backwards.

If the Sergianists and ex-KGB agents can convince people that authentic anti-Communists can join the MP church, and that it is now safe to do so, then their propaganda will have succeeded. That they have been convincing young girls to join MP monasteries to serve the poor, elderly, orphaned, and sick is remarkable. Remember that under communism, the poor, sick, elderly and orphaned did not fare very well, but under the care of the nuns, these unfortunate ones are thriving.
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Re: Fake Spiritual Daughter of St John Maximovitch ?

Postby Maria » Tue 24 April 2018 4:47 am

Have you seen the recent movies to come out of Russia?

One was called The Priest, I think. It denounced communist Russia. I had difficulty watching it for in the first few minutes, as it showed the brutal murder of an innocent girl by a Nazi soldier. Then someone convinced me to watch it to the end. It was the story of a young priest who was asked to serve the Russian Orthodox in an area of Russia that had been conquered by the Nazis.

This movie had to have had the approval of the MP, and that would have been difficult. However, propaganda is carefully done. Today, Russia needs to get the native Russians in Europe and in America to move back. They are succeeding. Many in England have already moved back to Russia with Russia guaranteeing these people land if they agree to work the land for a certain number of years.

So, yes, I think that these stories maybe true, but they are also propaganda geared to get people to move back to "Holy Russia."
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.


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