Today, the memory of Archpriest John Kochurov, Hieromartyr, who was killed in the first days of the October revolution of 1917, a priest. The fate of father John amazing. His life was for many years connected with the city of Chicago, he spent a lot of time in the United States, devoting himself to missionary work, as well as the construction of the temple and of the first Orthodox cemetery in the city. And ended his life a Martyr, near Petrograd, Tsarskoye Selo.
The PriestMartyr John Kochurov
Because once I learned about this Saint, I am grateful to his eldest son. No, he didn’t tell me about it. It’s just that he was born on the day of memory of Saint Martyr John the presbyter Tsarskoye Selo. It happened exactly 10 years ago.
I must say that the name of our baby came as something of itself. The wife offered to call the boy Joe. I did not refuse, although I had other considerations. We wanted to give the name of the child to the nearest commemorate the Saint of that name. The delivery date falls on the twentieth of November, and in the calendar these days just had the memory of Sainted John Chrysostom. In General, everything is logical and planned. However, we did not consider one nuance. Wife for medical reasons had to carry out the operation, and therefore, the timing shifted two weeks earlier. And the day of the surgery just became this day – 13 November, the day of memory of Archpriest John Kochurov.
And then, of course, I was curious. We found the name of John’s father in the calendar; but, to my shame, it almost didn’t. He knew only that he was born on this day, apparently, is not accidental. This amazing and Holy and has become part of our family.
Father John was originally from a large family, a village priest from the province of Ryazan. Graduated from the Ryazan theological Seminary, and then Theological Academy in St. Petersburg. Calling his father John believed the missionary, so at the end of the Academy, he soon received a decree about the direction in North America. It was the Aleutian Islands and Alaska diocese.
Priest father John took in the United States, and soon was sent to Chicago, where he was to serve the next 12 years. It was a hard and happy time. Difficult, because to start father John had almost from scratch. Almost non-existent parish, another country, another culture, poverty. One parish in Chicago, the other in Streator. At the time of service of father John in America, and had the bishopric in the same country of St. Tikhon (Belavin). The future Patriarch also spent many years in his zealous service to the Lord in the American Department.
Well and happy, probably because the efforts and writings of father John in Chicago and Streator has grown a large and wonderful community of Orthodox people of different nationalities, those of whom the Lord had gathered on American soil from different parts of the world in the care of the future of the Russian Martyr, those in exile found on a small Chicago parish their spiritual homeland.
The life of father John, and of St. Tikhon proved to be closely associated not only with the service on American soil. As a Bishop in America, St. Tikhon repeatedly pointed out the works and talent of his father John on the field of pastoral Ministry. They were entrusted to father John of the Golden pectoral cross as a reward for special merits before the Church and after decades of priestly service.
On the day of the ceremony, the father of John, thanks to parishioners and the Archbishop for the award, noted that it is not just a reward, but the gift that will remain with him to the grave, but will not go into the sepulchral darkness, but will remain to posterity and to those who will continue his Ministry in the future. Then the words of father John were almost prophetic. And Tikhon became Patriarch after many years, will show a different cross father John – the cross of martyrdom.
The result of the father’s service John’s were numerous and full, strong parishes in the Chicago and Streator. His care was committed many cases, built the Church of the Holy Trinity, openly Orthodox cemetery, created a Sunday school. Among the emigrants, and not only immigrants, but even those who later joined the Orthodox Church from among the local people, father John had enjoyed great respect and was genuinely loved.
However, the circumstances, and, probably, a sincere longing for Home, yet made his case and petition of his father John on his return to Russia was secured, and in 1907 he returned home. Ahead was years of service at parishes in Estonia, which was at that time part of the Russian Empire, and return to Petersburg.
The last place of service, father John became Catherine’s Cathedral in Tsarskoye Selo. It happened at the end of 1916, and several months later was followed by the February revolution and further events began to develop rapidly, bringing the terrible finale and many years of life without God and the Church.
30 Oct revolutionary forces approached the Royal village, left in order to avoid street fighting Cossack troops of General P. N. Krasnova. Was made the shelling of the city began to panic, many residents flocked to the temples, as, apparently, in the last place, where they hoped to find protection.
Rector of the Church a decision was made to hold a prayer service and procession with special petitions for the cessation of internecine strife. The clergy of the Cathedral had been arrested by the Bolsheviks, and father John tried to protest and seek explanation was beaten, removed to the airfield and shot. The bullets killed the priest instantly, so enraged the bandits some time finished him with rifle butts and dragged on the pavement by the hair.
Already in the hospital, preparing the body of the slain priest, suddenly found his pectoral cross. So was fulfilled the words spoken by his father John on a decade of his Ministry: “… I will not part with him till my grave. But it has no place in the grave. Let it remain here on earth for my children and descendants, as a sacred heirloom.” The pectoral cross was not found, but the descendants have a Martyr’s cross missionary priest John Kochurov, priest, Chicago and Krasnoselskaya.
Buried father John was in the crypt of the Cathedral. And in 1939 the Cathedral was destroyed.
The earthly Church is closely connected with the Church in heaven. That day, when my son was born, the relics of the Tsarskoye Selo presbyter was first uzneseni from the altar of St. Sophia Cathedral for the worship of the faithful. This day was officially declared about the attainment of his venerable remains. We named our son in honor of him, not even really knowing about the life and Martyr’s death of father John.
Read memories of Maria Gerasimova, the great granddaughter of the Saint. Amazing and kind words. Sincere pain and love. And understanding. And gratitude for the storage of this memory.
There is a very good feeling. The feeling that we are today a little of his relatives. Not by earthly blood ties. In heaven. And that memory now lives near us and in us. How inseparable we all are with those who are in the beginning of the terrible and rebellious century, as if at the beginning of the Church of Christ in antiquity, took up his cross and kept it until his death. And left it to us.