Keywords: Ivan Shcheglov (I. L. Leontiev), st. John of Kronstadt, S. A. Rachinsky, N. S. Leskov, letters, memoirs, diary, archive fund.
For citation:

Fetisenko, O. L. “On the History of the Essay ‘Visiting Father John of Kronstadt’ by Ivan Shcheglov (I. L. Leontiev).” Dva veka russkoi klassiki, vol. 4, no. 2, 2022, pp. 166–193. (In Russ.) 

Author: Olga L. Fetisenko
Information about the author:

Olga L. Fetisenko, DSc in Philology, Leading Research Fellow, Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House) of the Russian Academy of Sciences, nab. Makarova 4, 199034 St. Petersburg, Russia.


E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Received: December 17, 2021
Approved after reviewing: February 11, 2022
Published: June 25, 2022
Issue: 2022 Volume 4 No. 2
Department: Russian Literature of the 18th–19th Centuries
Pages: 166–193

UDK: 821.161.1.09"19"


The article reconstructs for the first time the creative history of the memoir essay Visiting Father John of Kronstadt by Ivan L. Leontiev (Ivan Shcheglov) on the basis of the author’s diaries and his correspondence with Sergey A. Rachinsky, Vasily P. Gorlenko, Mikhail O. Menshikov and Priest Iosif Fudel. The essay was published for the first time in 1892, during the revered canonized churchman’s lifetime. The work on this essay coincided with the time of a fundamental spiritual change in the life of a “depressed humorist” (as Ivan Shcheglov was labelled by the critic Alexey A. Izmailov) and was underway in parallel to the completion of a story denouncing Leo Tolstoy’s ideology and the Tolstoyan movement (Around the Truth) and the creation of a story about “psychopathic times” (The Soul on the Wane). Conceived as an ordinary article for the Christmas issue of the Novoe Vremia newspaper, the essay grew both in size and content and was published in the Niva magazine’s book of collected stories and articles, which was followed by a separate edition. An impetus for making the concept more elaborate was the publication of Nikolay Leskov’s story Midnight People, which contained sharp criticism of Father John and his trustees. Abstaining from an open debate with Leskov, Ivan Shcheglov sought to treat the figure of his holy contemporary “with heroic grandeur.”


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