Biographies and Photographs of the Hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia from its Beginning to the Present
From ROCOR Studies: These biographies by Michael Woerl is a ongoing project that will be updated as the author submits new biographies. Corrections to factual errors are welcome. These biographies are not for an academic audience only, but for a broad English-speaking audence. The biographies include much information not generally available in English and will be of interest to all who find their way to this website. Photos of the bishops can be viewed in the GALLERY.
From the Author: An interest in the hierarchs of the Church Abroad, the gift of a few photos, and the absolute dearth of anything remotely similar in any language led me to the idea of attempting to compile this work.
As strange as it may seem, there does not appear to be an official list of hierarchs who have belonged to the Church Abroad. The first problem therefore was: who should be included? It would seem that a hierarch of the Church Abroad’ is a hierarch of the Church Abroad, and that would be that. Apparently, however, this is one of those “depends on whom you ask” questions.
Differing lists were the product of differing criteria: hierarchs who were consecrated by the Church Abroad; hierarchs who were serving in the Church Abroad at the time of their repose; some lists included hierarchs who participated in the 1921 Karlovtsy Council by correspondence only, with no other contact with the Church Abroad. This resulted only in confusion and many questions about who was and who was not part of the Church Abroad. The simplest criteria is therefore employed here if it could be reasonably verified that a hierarch had served in the Church Abroad, even if only for a few months, they were included.
As a result, here you will find an uneven collection of biographies, some seemingly interminably long, some possibly only a few sentences long. You will see some names that you are extremely familiar with and find others that you have never seen before. Most of all, it is hoped that you will learn things about our Church Abroad that you did not know, things that will help you understand more about the history of the Church Abroad, and things that will make you want to learn even more.
When I started this project, two important things happened that helped me more than anything else: first, a blessing from then Archbishop Laurus of eternal memory to begin collecting photos and materials for the project. This blessing included the assistance of Andrei Psarev in hunting photos for me from the archives of the Jordanville printshop.
Second, Father Georg Seide gave me permission to use the biographies in his manuscript, History of the Russian Church Abroad, as a basis for the biographies I would use. Since I do not speak German, I was able to use the in-progress English translation of Fr. Georg’s book, as translated by Xenia Endres and revised by Serge Nedelsky. The biographies in Fr. Georg’s book were very brief, primarily because they were an appendix to the book.
When I began, finding additional biographical information was almost impossible. Other than a few articles in Orthodox Life and The Orthodox Word and the few Russian articles that I could find, it seemed that I would have to use extremely brief biographies for the most part.
Then the “information explosion” happened before our very eyes and what had not been there before was, seemingly, all of a sudden, there! A great deal of information appeared on the internet concerning many hierarchs of the Church Abroad. The appearance of websites offering free translations allowed me to add more information to the biographies than I ever thought possible. Individual biographies will include information about the sources employed; the same goes for photos. When I began I wanted to use as many photos as possible for each biography. Obviously, however, this site is limited in how many photos can be used, so it will be up to the webmaster to decide about photo usage. I have collected over 400 photos for this project, and hope that more uses can be found for them. I also hope to continue collecting photos of hierarchs of the Church Abroad. Please contact me through this site if you have photos of which I can make use. Any additional information about any of these hierarchs will also naturaly be welcomed.
The order of the biographies was to begin with the First Hierarchs in chronological order, then continue with the rest of the hierarchs in alphabetical order according to first (monastic) name. I had always planned to have everything appear together, but one or a few at a time isn’t a bad idea, either.
Thanks be to God that I was able finally to share this information; thanks to all who helped me collect and share this information. Thanks to all who are interested, read it, look at the photos, and possibly take things another step.
Copyright author 2009.