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Schema-abbot John

Schema-abbot JohnSkhemaigumen John was born as Ivan Aleksejevits Aleksejev in 1873 in the Tver region North of Moscow. He came to the Valaam Monastery, then in Russia, at the age of 16 and after military service returned in the year 1900, where he was after seven years accepted in the brotherhood and 1910 became a monk.

In 1921 he was sent to Petsamo to lead the Monastery of St. Trifon, but after his own request he could return to Valaam in 1932. He was in 1938 elected by the monks the confessor for the Valaam.

Known as Skhemaigumen Otets Ioan he survived the Soviet Union, moved to Finland in 1940 and was the director and confessor in the New Valaam in Finland until his death in 1958.

Christ Is in Our Midst: Letters from a Russian Monk

Author/Artist: Schema-abbot John
ISBN: 0913836648
Publisher: St. Vladimirs Seminary Pr.
First published: 2001

In 1955 a group of Father John's desciples decided to collect as many as possible of his letters and to publish them.

He said: "If you think that someone can profit from them, do it, as you so wish."

In 1962 the letters were published in Russian in Paris in the magazine called Vetsnoje.

The letters form only a small part of the vast correspondence of Father John.

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True Christian Love
The letters to people 'in the world' are full of the boundless love of an elder, who lived his life in Russia and Finland in the Valaam Monasteries. Skhemaigumen John had a vast correspondence.

Here is a short extract form the book:

In our Monastery life goes silently on although the brothers are quite old, just like in an old peoples home, one older than the other. If I am alive in July I will be 79 - a respectable age, and I am ready to enter eternity. I thank God that I have lived to such an old age and that he has allowed me, a sinner, to live all my life in a monastery. I have not had to experience the worldly life, full of deceit, vainglory, lies and pride. Can anyone amidst these sins feel peace and tranquillity in their souls? Surely not."

Reijo Oksanen, Switzerland
added 2003-07-24

To answer Father John's question, even though I have not read the book, I would say surely yes.

Guy Hoffman, United States
added 2003-07-24

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