Sometime in the late 1880's or early 1890's the following conversation took place between Emperor Alexander III and Countess Aleksandra Andreevna Tolstaja, the correspondent, confidante, and cousin of her illustrious namesake, Lev Nikolaevič Tolstoj:
The Emperor. Tell me who you think are the most remarkable and popular persons in Russia. I know how honest you are and I am sure you will tell me the truth. Of course you mustn't think of including me in the list.
Countess Tolstaja (smiling). I won't include you.
The Emperor. But just whom will you include? That's what interests me.
Countess Tolstaja. First of all, Lev Tolstoj.
The Emperor. I expected that. Who else?
Countess Tolstaja (thinking). I'll name you one more person.
The Emperor (impatiently). But who is it? Who is it?
Countess Tolstaja. Father Ioann of Kronstadt.
The Emperor (laughs). I had forgotten about him. But I agree with you.