A Prodigal Saint Father John of Kronstadt and the Russian People
- List Price: $92.95
- Binding: Hardcover
- Publisher: Pennsylvania State Univ Pr
- Publish date: 06/01/2000
Rarely are we privileged to see the making of a saint, but it is Just what this book gives us for John of Kronstadt (1829-1908), a major figure in the religious life of Late Imperial Russia. So popular was Father John during his years of ministry that Kronstadt became a pilgrimage site replete with peddlers selling souvenir photographs, postcards, and commemorative mugs. A Prodigal Saint follows Father John's development from activist priest to venerated spiritual leader and, after his death, to his elevation to sainthood in 1990.
Father John represented a fundamentally new type of religious behavior and a new standard of sanctity in Late Imperial Russia. He ministered to the poor of Kronstadt, creating shelters and employment programs and participating in the temperance movement. In the process he acquired a reputation for prayerful intercession that soon spread beyond Kronstadt. When he was asked to minister to the dying Alexander III in 1894, his fame became international as he attracted correspondents from the United States and Europe.
Kizenko draws upon rich and virtually unknown documents from the Russian archives, including Father John's diaries, thousands of letters he received from his followers, and the police reports on the sect that formed around him. John's diaries are a truly unique source, for they document the making of a modern saint: his struggles with doubt, his ascetical practices, and his growing realization that others saw him as a saint.
A Prodigal Saint is published in collaboration with the Harriman Institute at Columbia University as part of its Studies of the Harriman Institute series. It is a pioneering study that contributes to our understanding oflived religion, saints' cults, and modern Russian history.