Joachim (Levitsky) of Nizhny Novgorod

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The New Martyr Joachim (Levitsky) of Nizhny Novgorod was a hierarch of the Church of Russia who was among those who were martyred by crucifixion, upside down, during the Bolshevik takeover of Russia.

Life

John Ioakimovich Levitsky was born on March 30. 1853 in the village of Petrushek in the province of Kiev of the Russian Empire. His father was either a reader or junior deacon. After completing his early education at the Kiev Spiritual School, John entered the Kiev Theological Academy from which he graduated with the degree of candidate in Theology on March 30, 1879, after which he was appointed a teacher in the Riga Theological Seminary. John married and had two sons.

After his marriage, John entered the Holy Orders and was ordained a priest on June 24, 1880. In 1883, Fr. John served as a teacher of the Law of God at the Riga infantry school and the higher maidens' private school. During the 1880s, Fr. John's family was hit by several tragedies as several children and his wife died. After his wife's death in 1886, Fr. John was tonsured a monk with the name Joachim and was named rector of the Riga seminary. In 1893, Fr. Joachim was elevated to the dignity of archimandrite. While in Riga, he was editor of the diocesan journal, for which he wrote several articles on the ecclesiastical history of the Baltic region with a historical-statistical description of the diocese.

On January 14, 1896, Fr. Joachim was consecrated Bishop of Baltsk, a vicariate of the Kamenets-Podolsk diocese at St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia. On May 24, 1897, he was named bishop of Brest as vicar to the Lithuanian eparchy. On January 11, 1900, he became the ruling bishop of the Eparchy of Grodno and Brest.

On November 26, 1903, he was transferred to the southern area of the Ural mountains as bishop of Orenburg and Uralsk, followed on November 15, 1908, with a title change, as bishop of Orenburg and the Turgay. A man of outstanding spiritual gifts, Bp. Joachim was also a fiery preacher who expanded the missionary work of the diocese among the Kirghiz, Bashkirs, and Tatars. Winning them in large numbers to the Orthodox Faith, he also introduced the Tatar language into the curriculum of the Orenburg seminary. He welcomed many believers of the Old Rite who return to communion with the Church of Russia, while also establishing a number of Edinoverie parishes, and serving in them himself according to the old books.

In his missionary work, Bp. Joachim was assisted greatly by local missionaries including the Old Believer priest Fr. Sabbas Sladky, who formed a large Edinoverie parish, and Fr. Xenophon Kryuchkov through whose efforts some fifty Edinoverie were established in the region from Orenburg to the Caspian Sea. During the first decade of the twentieth century Bp. Joachim initiated a missionary program in the Turgay region, where sectarianism had found root, that invigorated Orthodoxy as missionary priests established their presence, and opposed the sectarians with their knowledge of the Scriptures. He encouraged education in his diocese, expanding the number of spiritual schools, and funded poor seminarians with his own money. Bp. Joachim traveled tirelessly through his diocese that stretched over the Orenburg province and the Turgay region, to the lands of the Urals Cossacks and the city of Guriev on the Caspian Sea.

In 1910, he was appointed Bishop of Nizhni-Novgorod and Arzamas. On May 6, 1916, he was elevated to the rank of archbishop. During the summer of 1917, Abp. Joachim left Nizhni-Novgorod to attend the Local Council of 1917 in Moscow, never to return.

After the Bolsheviks assumed control of the government in late 1917, Abp. Joachim was harassed by the Bolsheviks and imprisoned for his support of the monarchy. On March 22, 1918, he retired from his see in Nizhni-Novgorod and was appointed administrator of the New Jerusalem Monastery in Moscow where he was continued under Bolshevik harassment. After the monastery was closed later in 1918 by the Bolsheviks, Abp. Joachim moved to the Crimea to live with his son.

During the early 1920s, the date is uncertain, being noted as April 1920 or as late as 1921, Abp. Joachim was assaulted by local Bolsheviks. He and the priest of the Simferopol cathedral, Protopriest Alexsei Nazarevsky, were dragged to the entrance of the cathedral to be crucified and hung upside down on the Royal Doors of the cathedral.

Abp. Joachim is numbered among the New Martyrs of Russia, of those who died for their faith during the Soviet Period.

Succession box:
Joachim (Levitsky) of Nizhny Novgorod
Preceded by:
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Bishop of Baltsk
Vicar of the Diocese of Kamenets-Podolsk

1896-1897
Succeeded by:
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Preceded by:
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Bishop of Brest
Vicar of the Eparchy of Lithuania

1897-1900
Succeeded by:
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Preceded by:
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Bishop of Grodno and Brest
1900-1903
Succeeded by:
?
Preceded by:
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Bishop of Orenburg and Uralsk
1903-1908
Succeeded by:
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Preceded by:
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Bishop of Orenburg and the Turgay
1908-1910
Succeeded by:
?
Preceded by:
Nazarius (Kirillov)
Bishop of Nizhni-Novgorod and Arzamas
1910-1918
Succeeded by:
Evdokim (Meschersky)
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