Author Topic: A Prodigal Saint  (Read 3702 times)

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Offline Jennifer

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A Prodigal Saint
« on: December 08, 2004, 04:38:04 PM »
I'm currently reading a wonderful book about St. John of Kronstadt.  I can't stand 'hagiographies' but this book presents a very real picture of St. John.  It's also a fascinating picture of late Imperial Russia.  


Offline ania

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Re:A Prodigal Saint
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2004, 05:46:01 PM »
That book got good reviews from academics, but some clergy are not happy about what how the saint is portrayed...
Now where were we? Oh yeah - the important thing was I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones...

Offline Jennifer

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Re:A Prodigal Saint
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2004, 06:06:56 PM »
St. John comes across as very human in this book.  Very holy, but still human.  Like according to the book he didn't tell him wife before their marriage that he intended to be celibate which put her in a very bad situation.  

I don't like 'hagiographies,' books about the saints where they're perfect.  That's not real to me.  I'd much rather prefer to read about people who dealt with real issues and still become holy.

Offline ania

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Re:A Prodigal Saint
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2004, 11:56:34 AM »
I appreciate that kind of writing as well... this book however was different for some reason, I have to ask my father who reviewed the book, but I don't remember the exact details.
Now where were we? Oh yeah - the important thing was I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones...

Offline Pravoslavbob

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Re:A Prodigal Saint
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2004, 04:57:47 AM »
Jennifer,

St. John comes across as very human in this book.  Very holy, but still human.  Like according to the book he didn't tell him wife before their marriage that he intended to be celibate which put her in a very bad situation.  

Wow, really?  I didn't know that.

I see your point about hagiographies.  Sometimes, they are just a little too sacharine. (Sp?)

Ania, can you let us know what your take is on the book too, once you have checked it out some more?  It sounds like a book I'd like to read.

Bob
« Last Edit: December 10, 2004, 05:09:19 AM by Pravoslavbob »
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Offline alexander

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Re: A Prodigal Saint
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2005, 04:24:24 AM »
It costs 70 bucks! for a hardcover copy at amazon!If anyone knows where it(hardcover edition) is available cheaper,please let me know.

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: A Prodigal Saint
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2005, 05:51:27 AM »
I can understand wanting to avoid hagiographies. I think they are wonderful, wonderful things, and of great benefit to read. But after a while, especailly if you are reading a collection of martyrs or something, it starts to really drag out and get tedious and difficult. Plus, people in modern society are much more interested in the biographical details than people were in previous times. I do think that "Biographies" have some problems, though. I've read a couple now which seem to try and be accurate, but came off having just as much a bias as any hagiography (sometimes to the benefit, sometimes to the detriment, of the subject).

I did a search for the book Prodigal Saint: Father John of Kronstadt and the Russian People, but unfortunately the price does seems to go about $70 hardcover ($25-27 soft cover) everywhere on the net.
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Offline Tallitot

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Re: A Prodigal Saint
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2005, 06:12:16 AM »
I'm lucky, we have a large seminary library here in town that circulates to the public..I can check out books tapes vid's etc...I've gotten some great vid's on Orthodox topics there. Beats paying for books, not to mention accumulating them.
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Offline Pravoslavbob

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Re: A Prodigal Saint
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2005, 02:31:46 PM »
Hey Ania,

Have you had a chance to look at the book yet, by any chance?   :)

Bob
Religion is a disease, and Orthodoxy is its cure.

Offline erracht

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Re: A Prodigal Saint
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2005, 05:56:35 AM »
I believe that is true. St. John's wife came to the Bishop complaining that he didn't want to have sex with her. The Bishop then rebuked St. John, but afterward suffered an injury to his leg or something, and took it as a sign from God. The wife eventually agreed to the celibacy and the Bishop accepted it.
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Offline observer

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Re: A Prodigal Saint
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2005, 02:11:37 PM »
 <I see your point about hagiographies.  Sometimes, they are just a little too sacharine. >

I understood that hagiography was literary iconography.   The saints don't look real do they?  We have a set of lives by S. Baring-Gould, an  obnoxious Anglican who vilifies all the hagiographies, but nevertheless he does give accurate dates.   The life of a saint is not a biography in the modern sense, it is iconographic.  You can't sit back and read them like a novel or someone's bio.   We read them at the meal table to aid spiritual digestion... ;) ;)
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Offline Ntinos

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Re: A Prodigal Saint
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2005, 02:41:14 PM »
Did he have children with his wife?

Offline Jennifer

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Re: A Prodigal Saint
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2005, 02:42:00 PM »
Did he have children with his wife?

No.

Offline Ntinos

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Re: A Prodigal Saint
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2005, 03:02:36 PM »
Then why did he marry if he didn't want to have children and completely abstained from sex?

Offline idontlikenames

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Re: A Prodigal Saint
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2005, 03:05:30 PM »
Whoever said he completely abstained from sex? :brew:
laa ilaah illa al-Maal wa Rothschild howa nabeehi

Offline Jennifer

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Re: A Prodigal Saint
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2005, 03:20:53 PM »
Then why did he marry if he didn't want to have children and completely abstained from sex?

He married because it was expected that priests would be married.  I believe he married the daughter of a priest at the church in Krondstadt which is how he ended up at that parish. 

I could be wrong but my understanding was that at that time if someone wanted to minister to the 'people' (meaning not live in a monastery) one had to be a married priest. 

I think he always planned to be celibate and only saw marriage as a way of getting to do what he wanted to do.  Unfortunately his wife didn't have the same expectation entering into the marriage. 


Offline suzannes

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Re: A Prodigal Saint
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2005, 12:44:46 PM »
I've been dying to read this book, but am sadly, broke right now.  I was very curious about how the Church felt about this book.  I know that the author is the daughter of a priest, and I believe, teaches part-time at Jordanville.  I mean, with credentials like that, I was very curious, because she is also well respected in the secular academic world.  It's intereting to me that one could negotiate two such different worlds.   Ania, do you know the author?  I know you have a Jordanville connection.
I love St. John of Kronstadt, and it's interesting to me how both he and St. Elizaveta Fedorovna wanted to be "in the world" with their missions.