John (Shahovskoy) of San Francisco

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John (Shahovskoy) of San Francisco

Introduction

His Eminence the Most Reverend John (Shahovskoy) Archbishop of San Francisco was one of the many emigree from the Russian Civil War who entered a monastic life in the Orthodox Church and to become a diocesan bishop in the United States. After first being consecrated Bishop of Brooklyn in the American Metropolia, he was elected Bishop of San Francisco and Western America and Archbishop in 1961, a position he held until his retirement in 1973.

His Life

The future Archbishop John was born on August 23, 1902 in Moscow, Russia as Prince Dimitry Shahovskoy. His early education was in St. Petersburg, but it was interrupted by the Revolutions of 1917 and the ensuing Civil War. He served with the White Army and was evacuated from the Crimea to France at the end of the Civil War. He continued his education at the Louvain University in Belgium, studying history and political economy. During the years 1923 to 1926 he pursued a number of literary adventures including publishing books of his poetry and editing a journal of philosophy and literature.

In 1926, young Dimitry turned to Christ when he entered the Monastery of Panteleimon on Mount Athos. There he made his monastic vows and was tonsured with the name John by Archmandrite Kiryk. From Mount Athos he returned to Paris, France under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Metropolitan Evolgy and studied at the St Sergius Theological Institute. While at St Sergius he was granted a mantya and was ordained a deacon. Going to Yugoslavia, he was ordained a priest by Bishop Benjamin on March 5, 1927 and was assigned by Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) to Belaya Tserkov. Here Hiermonk John began his life of priestly, missionary, and educational activities. He distributed religious tracts throughout Yugoslavia through a publishing house that he established. These activities attracted many young Russian refugees to the Church but also provoked controversy with Metropolitan Anthony.

This led the missionary hiermonk to return to France, where Metropolitan Evlogy assigned him to Berlin, Germany. Here his missionary and educational work continued, reaching far beyond the boundaries of his parish. In 1935 he was elevated to iguman and to archmandrite in 1937. As the Second World War enveloped him and his parish, Archmandrite John and his parish found themselves helping many of the “workers from the East,

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