John of Shanghai & San Francisco (1896-1966) is a very unusual Russian Orthodox Saint of our times. He was a pastor, a spiritual father, a healer & even possessed a gift of foreseeing. He belongs to the family of the Serbian origin Saint John of Tobolsk comes from. In fact, John of Shanghai is a rare example how piousness might be transmitted through generations.
John of Shanghai (the original name Mikhail Borisovich Markimovitch) was born in a small village Ad’amovka near Kh’arkov. As a child he was already very pious: prayed hard, collected Saint books & Icons. His religious spirit impressed even his governess, who was of the French origin, so she converted to Orthodox Christianity. At youth he wished to become a military man, so he attended Poltava Military School (1907-1914). Mikhail was a true patriot or his motherland, nevertheless when the Revolution 1917 began he saw weakness & moral decadance of people so he made a decision to serve God.
His family refuged to Yugoslavia & he spent some time in Belgrade. There he graduated from the Belgrade University as a theologist. In 1926 he was tonsured as a monk, then in 1934 he became a hierodeacon John, obtained a priesthood of Cheli’abinsk & departed to Shanghai. There he made plenty of pious acts, healed people, protected the poor & those who were in need. They say that he even protected the whole island Tubabao from tsunami while his staying there.
Having returned back home, he inspired spiritually his priesthood & people around. He was very active in the international affairs & travelled alot for the best of the Orthodox Christians. He visited Washington to arrange a settlement for the Russian refugees in the United States. In 1951 he was assigned to the Diocese of the Western Europe. He visited France & Belgium, managed to solve urgent Christian matters there without forgetting common people. His first trip to Saint Francisco took place in 1962. He developed a serious missionary activity in the USA that improved the religious situation there.
Saint John of Shanghai was famous with his ascetic way of life: he prayed hard, was strict with his meal, walked barefoot & hardly slept. He died while visiting Seattle on the 2nd July ( June 19 by the Julian calendar) of 1966 as he had foretold. He was canonized in 1994.