Orthodox America

  Confession with Saint John of Kronstadt

 Those wanting to confess to Fr. John became so numerous that to satisfy this desire was physically impossible. When Fr. John served the cathedral was so packed that an apple couldn't find place to fall.

    With absolute openness of heart, uninhibited by the crowd, people shouted out their sins without holding back even the worst of them. And they shouted loudly, so that, if possible, Fr. John might hear them. A penitential lamentation the cathedral; the crowd was covered in sweat--not from heat but from emotion.

   Literally everyone wept openly, without the slightest constraint, and together with their outcries and groanings, the souls of the people were wondrously cleansed, just as a piece of gold is purified in a fiery crucible.

    Fr. John, aflame with prayer, stood on the ambo before an icon of the Saviour, entreating the merciful Lord' s forgiveness for the entire crowd of weeping and repentant people. He looked at us with his penetrated gaze and suddenly –large tears streamed copiously down his cheeks. He wept for us. With his pure tears he washed away the filth of our sins. Yes, Fr. John wept, mingling his tears with our tears. At that moment the tearful ferment of the crowd reached its peak of intensity. The vast cathedral filled with lamentation; it seemed to shake from the uninterrupted outcries. 

(Translated from the biography of St. John by I. K. Soursky; Belgrade, 1941)