I am all infirmity, all poverty. God is my strength.
This conviction is my greatest wisdom, which makes me beatific.
St. John of Kronstadt
Father Ioann Il'ich Sergiev Kronshtadtskii (1829-1908), otherwise known as St. John of Kronstadt, was ordained as a priest in 1855 and assigned to the St. Andrew Cathedral on the Island of Kronstadt, in the bay near St. Petersburg. In this highly impoverished area, Father John spent fifty-three years as an urban missionary, caring for the poor and undertaking charitable works. His cathedral received around five thousand worshippers a day for Matins and Liturgy and the services lasted from 4am to noon as he insisted that everyone present should receive Holy Communion. His simple and practical Bible-based meditations were published as My Life in Christ.
Father John was officially canonized in 1988. His relics are located in the crypt of the St. John of Rila Women's Monastery, which he founded in north-east St. Petersburg.
Due to the heightened interest in Russian history in the mid-19th Century, many souvenir kerchiefs decorated with important historical events were produced. Their ornamental patterns, often incorporating acanthus leaves and sea-shells which frame medallions in which historical scenes are depicted, show the influence of earlier epochs. Such kerchiefs were produced in workshops of the Moscow and Ivanov regions. For an example of such a kerchief see the exhibition catalogue, Style and Epoch in the Decorative Arts 1820s-1890s, St. Petersburg, 1996, p. 195.