Peter (L'Huillier) of New York
Archbishop Peter was born as Paul L'Huillier on December 3, 1926, in Paris, France. He embraced the Orthodox faith in 1945 while enrolled at the St. Denys Institute in Paris. L'Huillier also did graduate work at the University of Paris and received a Licentiate of Theology from the Moscow Theological Academy in 1962 and a Doctorate of Canon Law degree in 1985.
The archbishop began his ecclesiastical life on August 30, 1954, when he was tonsured Monk Peter. On September 4 and 5, 1954, he was ordained hierodeacon and hieromonk by Abp. Boris, Exarch of the Russian Patriarchate in Europe. His priestly work took place at two Orthodox churches in Paris, Three Hierarchs and the Church of our Lady the Joy of Those who Sorrow. In 1960, Abp. Peter was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite. On September 12, 1968, the feast of St. Alexander Nevsky at the former St. Alexander Nevsky Monastery (Lavra) in St. Petersburg (then called Leningrad), Abp. Peter was consecrated Bishop of Chersonese. Participating at that consecration were the Metropolitan of Leningrad, Nikodim (Rotov) and Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) of Sourozh.
As bishop, he was a member of the Russian Orthodox Church, which granted autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in America. In 1979, he was invited to come to the young autocephalous church by His Beatitude Metropolitan Theodosius. He was designated as an auxiliary bishop to the Metropolitan, with the title of "Bishop of Brooklyn" until 1981.
In 1981, when the Holy Synod of Bishops established the new diocese of Washington, DC, for the seat of the Primate, he was installed as the Bishop of the remaining part of the Metropolitan's former local diocese with the title "Bishop of New York and New Jersey." In 1990, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America bestowed on him the title of Archbishop of New York and New Jersey.
Abp. Peter's linguistic fluency (in four languages), his formal degree in the Orthodox canonical traditions, his familiarity with varieties of ethnic and national Orthodox customs, made him one of the more academically involved Orthodox hierarchs worldwide. He also chaired the OCA's External Affairs Department for many years.
In the academic world, he lectured at the Institute of St. Denys, Paris, France, from 1949 to 1950. From 1952 to 1962, he taught at the Three Hierarchs Seminary in Villemoisson, France. He was a Professor at the Catholic University in Paris from 1966 to 1978. He was Adjunct Professor of Canon Law at St. Vladimir's Seminary, Crestwood, New York, since 1979. As a specialist in Orthodox Canon Law, Archbishop Peter occupied prominent positions. His final book, published by St. Vladimir's Press, urged the Orthodox Churches to adopt the Western Christian calculation of Easter, aka Paschalion. This has been a controversial topic for some time in Eastern Orthodox circles. Some critics of Archbishop Peter's book emphasized that only the Eastern Paschalion holds to the Nicene Council's 4th century prohibition on celebrating the Resurrection before the Jewish Passover. Abandoning it could imply a subtle subtext of anti-Semitism, they argued, since it would mean further decoupling the connection between Christianity and Judiasm. This criticism is made on both historical and contemporary grounds, the latter being that Western Christianity annually ignores contemporary Jews' calculation of Passover.
After more than thirty years as a hierarch, the members of the Holy Synod of the OCA accepted Archbishop Peter's request for retirement in March, 2005. He had been on a leave of absence from the spring 2004 session of the Holy Synod. His retirement became effective April 30, 2005.
In light of Abp. Peter's retirement, the members of the Holy Synod decided to establish the new Diocese of Washington and New York, composed of the former Diocese of New York and New Jersey and the Diocese of Washington, effective April 30, 2009. The move was a return to the diocesan boundaries and structure that had existed until 1981, when the Diocese of Washington was created as the seat of the OCA Primate.
Abp. Peter reposed on November 19, 2007. In 2010, the OCA Synod of Bishops abolished the merged diocese, returned the Metropolitan see to Washington, D.C., and reestablished the Diocese of New York and New Jersey. Bishop Michael (Dahulich) was appointed leader of the revitalized diocese in May, 2010.
- Jacob's Well, Newspaper of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey, Orthodox Church in America, Fall/Winter 98-99, pp. 4-6
- In Memoriam
- Links to articles by Archbishop Peter
- His Eminence Peter, Archbishop of New York and New Jersey at the Orthodox Research Institute
Peter (L'Huillier) of New York
|Bishop of Chersonese
|Bishop of Brooklyn
|Archbishop of New York and New Jersey