December 20, 2023

"I Saw Father John in Kronstadt" (St. Silouan the Athonite)

By St. Silouan the Athonite

I saw Father John in Kronstadt. He served the Liturgy. I was amazed at the power of his prayer, and until now, almost forty years have passed, yet I have not seen anyone serve like him. The people loved him, and everyone stood with the fear of God. And it’s no wonder: the Holy Spirit draws people’s hearts to Himself. We see from the Gospel how many people followed the Lord. The word of the Lord attracted the people, for it is spoken by the Holy Spirit, and therefore it is sweet and pleasing to the soul.

When Luke and Cleopas walked to Emmaus, and on the way the Lord approached them and spoke to them, their hearts burned with love for God. Father John had within himself abundantly the Holy Spirit, which warmed his soul to love God, and the same Spirit acted on people through him. I saw how the people ran after him, as if into a fire, to take a blessing from him, and when they received it, they rejoiced, for the Holy Spirit is pleasant and gives peace and sweetness to the soul.

Some people think badly of Father John, and thereby offend the Holy Spirit, Who lived in him and still lives in him after death. They say he was rich and dressed well. But they do not know that in whom the Holy Spirit lives, wealth does not harm him, for his soul is entirely in God, and has been changed by God, and he has forgotten his wealth and attire.

Happy are those people who love Father John, for he will pray for us.

His love for God is ardent, he is all in the flame of love. Oh, great Father John, our intercessor! I thank God that I saw you, I thank you too, good and holy shepherd, for through your prayers I parted with the world and came to Holy Mount Athos, where I saw great mercy from God. And now I am writing, rejoicing that the Lord has made me understand the life and deeds of the good shepherd.

It is a great feat to live with a young wife and not touch her. Only those who tangibly carry the Holy Spirit within themselves can do this, for He is sweet and conquers the love of his sweet wife.

Many Saints were afraid to be near women, but when among women Father John had the Holy Spirit, Whose sweetness surpasses carnal love.

I will also say that he was so humble that he did not lose the grace of the Holy Spirit, and that is why he loved the people so much and brought people’s minds to God.

Do you see the power of the Holy Spirit in him? When you read his book “My Life in Christ”, your soul feels in his words the power of God’s grace. You say: “I don't have a taste for what I read.” But I ask you: Is it because you are proud? For grace does not touch a proud heart.

Oh, Father John, now you live in heaven and see the Lord, Whom your soul loved while on earth. We ask you: pray for us, so that we too will love the Lord and bring repentance, in which the Lord rejoices.

Oh, good and holy shepherd, you, like a high-flying eagle, rose above great Russia and saw the needs of the people from the height to which the Holy Spirit living in you raised you.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, you attracted the people to God, and people, listening to the word of God from your lips, wept and brought ardent repentance.

Oh, great and good shepherd, although you died in body, you are with us in spirit, and standing before God, in the Holy Spirit you see us from heaven. And we humbly honor you.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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