Review: Man of God: St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco

Updated: Jul 18, 2019

The specific book I reviewed is a translation of the Russian original and was published in 1994 by Nikodemos Orthodox Publication Society. I acquired it when I visited the Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco this past summer.

The book is divided into four parts: a brief vita followed by a number of stories from those who met or knew St. John when he was alive, a collection of testimonial stories of wonders wrought either by St. John personally or through beseeching his aid after his repose, a brief collection of some of his homilies and, lastly, a few decrees and exhortations.

When I started this book, all I knew of St. John was that he was a refugee from Communism who led his flock across the Pacific, helped build the Orthodox community in California as well as being a wonder-worker. When I finished it, I was in awe of the piety, humility and spiritual power of this man. His prayers healed numerous people physically, whereas his guidance saved untold myriads of souls. Throughout his life, he managed to remain balanced on that difficult-to-obtain equilibrium between being overly harsh and overly permissive. He was not afraid to attack modernism, impiety and hollow devotion, but always did so with true love for the soul of the lost individuals in question.

Since finishing the book, I have personally received great benefit from beseeching the intercessions of St. John on my behalf. I would strongly recommend this book to all.

St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco, pray to God for us.

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