Alypy (Gramanovich) of Chicago
His Eminence, Archbishop Alypy (Gramanovich) of Chicago is the Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago and Detroit of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. He was appointed to the see, succeeding the reposed Archbishop Seraphim (Ivanov) in 1987.
Nikolai Mikhailovich Gamanovich was born on December 19, 1926 in the village of Novaya Maiyachka of Kherson Province of the U.S.S.R. the site of which is now within the nation Ukraine. His father, Mikhail, was a blacksmith. His mother’s name was Lumilla. The family included five younger siblings: three younger brothers and two younger sisters. While his parents had him baptized, he was not able to attend many church services because the Soviets had closed most of the churches near them. In the face of the Soviet programs of collectivization and expropriation of property from prosperous owners, Nikolai’s family left their village to wander until they settled in the village of Fedorovka. Here Nikolai attended a four year school before going on to an eight year school in the village of Kucheryvo-Volodimirov.
As an aftermath of the invasion of the Soviet Union by Nazi forces in 1941, Nicolai became a victim of the Nazi practice of taking young men to work as forced laborers in Germany. At fifteen years of age, Nicolai was one of fifteen young men from his village sent to Germany as an ‘’ostarbeiter’’ (east-worker). In Germany, he initially worked in Berlin in a truck factory where he was under constant guard. Later, he worked on a farm and then at a cemetery. When he was assigned to working at the cemetery, he was transferred to a ‘’Ostavsky’’ labor camp that was free of guards and where the workers were required to use public transportation to work assignments. During this time Nicolai was able to attend church services from time to time. In 1944, during a visit to church, Nicolai met Hieromonk Kyprian (Pizhov) of the St. Job of Pochaev Brotherhood.
Fr. Kyprian was in Berlin as the Pochaev Brotherhood had fled Slovakia before the advancing Soviet Red army. Having read some books of the Lives of the Saints that belonged to his grandfather, Nicolai expressed the desire to join the brotherhood. On February 3, 1945, Nicolai left the labor camp, illegally, and was accepted Archimandrite Seraphim to begin the spiritual labors of monastic life, Five days later Nicolai and his monastic companions fled Berlin for southern Germany, going to an area that was taken by the American army. From southern Germany he and his monastic companions proceeded to Switzerland in August 1945.
On September 23, 1946, Nicolai was tonsured a rassaphore monk and given the name Alypy. Later in 1946, Alypy and his companions traveled to the United States, to the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York. At the monastery, monk Alypy undertook the study of iconography under the tutorship of Fr. Kyprian who was renowned as an iconographer. On March 19, 1848, Alypy was among a group of three monks, the other two rassaphore monks were Laurus (Skurla) and Flor (Vanko), who were tonsured mantia monks by Abp. Vitaly (Maximenko). On December 3, 1950, monk Alypy was ordained to the diaconate by Metr. Anatassy (Gribanovsky). On July 4, 1954, hierodeacon Alypy was ordained to the priesthood by Abp. Vitaly.
Graduating from Holy Trinity Seminary, Fr. Alypy remained to teach. Among the several subjects he taught were Church Slavonic and Greek. He also wrote a grammar on Church Slavonic that was published by the Monastery in 1964. This book has been subsequently been reprinted and translated for English language students. Fr. Alypy continued his education at Norwich University, graduating in 1970 with a Master’s degree in Russian language. During this period Fr. Alypy was very active as an iconographer. His work covered many churches including the iconography of Holy Trinity Cathedral at Jordanville, the Cathedral of the Mother of God of the Sign in New York City, St. Sergius Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio, and later, the new Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in Chicago, Illinois.
In 1974, Igumen Alypy, was nominated to the episcopate by the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Outside of Russia, and on October 20, 1974, he was consecrated Bishop of Cleveland, vicar of the Diocese of Chicago, Detroit and Mid America. The consecration of Bp. Alypy was led by Metr. Philaret (Voznesensky) and assisted by Abp. Seraphim (Ivanov), Abp. Vitaly (Ustinov), and Bp. Laurus (Skurla). During the few years before Abp. Seraphim’s death in 1987, Bp. Alypy administered the Diocese of Chicago. After his death Bp. Alypy was appointed as ruling Bishop of Chicago. In 1991, Bp. Alypy was elevated to Archbishop.
In 1994, Abp. Alypy was appointed bishop of the Diocese of Sydney, Australia, and New Zealand. However, The Australian government was reluctant to grant Abp. Alypy a permanent resident status due to health issues. Also, the faithful of the diocese, especially from his Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral, petitioned earnestly appealing to keep Abp. Alypy as their bishop. Considering these conditions, the Synod of Bishops decided that Abp. Alypy would remain as Bishop of Chicago.
During the ensuing years, Abp. Alypy led the revitalization of the life of the diocese that he had begun earlier with the construction of the new Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in 1990. He led a diocese of three cathedral parishes and some twenty parishes in the mid-west area of the United States, as well as five monasteries, three male and two female.