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The future St. John was born on [[June 4]], 1896, in the southern Russian village of Adamovka in
Kharkov province to pious aristocrats, Boris and Glafira Maximovitch. He was given the [[baptism]]al name of Michael. In his youth, Michael was sickly and had a poor appetite, but he displayed an intense religious interest. He was educated at the Poltava Military School (1907-14), Kharkov Imperial University, from which he received a law degree (in 1918), and the University of Belgrade (where he completed his theological education in 1925).
He and his family fled their country as the Bolshevik revolutionaries descended on the country, emigrating to Yugoslavia. There, he enrolled in the Department of Theology of the University of Belgrade. He was [[tonsure]]d a [[monk]] in 1926 by [[Metropolitan]] [[Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of Kiev|Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of
Kharkov]] (later the first [[primate]] of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia). Metr. Anthony later in 1926 [[ordination|ordained]] him hierodeacon. Bishop Gabriel of Chelyabinsk ordained him [[hieromonk]] on [[November 21]], 1926. Subsequent to his ordination he began an active life of teaching in a Serbian high school and serving, at the request of local Greeks and Macedonians, in the Greek language. With the growth of his popularity, the [[bishop]]s of the Russian Church Aboard resolved to elevate him to the [[episcopate]].
[[Image:John_mx.jpg|right|thumb|Photo of St. John]]Hieromonk John was [[Consecration of a bishop|consecrate]]d [[bishop]] on [[May 28]], 1934, with Metr. Anthony serving as principal consecrator, after which he was assigned to the Diocese of Shanghai. Twelve years later he was named Archbishop of China. Upon his arrival in Shanghai, Bp. John began working to restore unity among the various Orthodox nationalities. In time, he worked to build a large [[cathedral]] [[church]] that was dedicated to ''Surety of Sinners [[Icon]] to the [[Mother of God]]'', with a bell tower and large [[parish]] house. Additionally, he inspired many activities: building of churches, hospitals, and orphanages among the Orthodox and Russians of Shanghai. He was intensely active, constantly praying and serving the daily cycle of services, while also visiting the sick with the [[Holy Gifts]]. He often would walk barefooted even in the coldest days. Yet to avoid the appearance of secular glory, he would pretend to act the fool.