Vitaly (Maximenko) of Jersey City

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Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko) of Jersey City was the ROCOR Archbishop of North America and the Abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville.

Biographical timeline

Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko)
  • 1873: Vasily was born on the shores of Azov Sea to Dcn John Vasilievich Maximenko and Evfrosinia Feodorovna Maximenko as the fourth child of a seven child family.
  • 1879: Vasily's father, Dcn John, reposed as a result of pleurisy contracted while fishing.
  • 1880: Vasily's mother reposed from grief. Vasily's orphan wanderings began.
  • He went to school at Mariupol Theological School, feeding himself in his first year with wild plants. He graduated with honours and was accepted into Kiev Theological Academy.
  • Due to participation in a protest against an unfair administrator, Vasily was expelled without right to enrol in another school. He took a teaching job, and the mothers of his students fed him.
  • Vasily then met Bp Anthony (Khrapovitsky), and through his aid was reaccepted to Kazan Theological Academy. Beset by tuberculosis, he was then tonsured a monk by Bp Anthony and given the name Vitaly.
  • 1898: Fr Vitaly ordained to the priesthood.
  • At St Alexander Missionary Academy, Hmk Vitaly taught liturgics, pastoral theology, homiletics and physics. Hmk Vitaly once rescued a student who had spilled kerosene on himself and ignited, despite receiving severe burns. The student died soon afterwards, however.
  • Hmk Vitaly then taught at the Ardon Theological Seminary for three years.
  • Bp Anthony arrived at Volynia cathedral, and seeing Pochaev Lavra, offered to transfer Hmk Vitaly to organise a missionary and ecclesiastical press. Hmk Vitaly accepted.
  • 1902 Nov 29: By decree of the Holy Synod, Hmk Vitaly was released from his teaching position, transferred to the bishop of Volynia and elevated to archimandrite.
Dec 2: Fr Vitaly appointed a teacher of the law of God, head of the printing press and a member of the psiritula court of Pochaev Lavra.
  • 1903: Archimandrite Vitaly appointed editor of the Pochaev Newsletter (Pochaevskii Listok) and the official section of the Volynia Diocesan Bulletin (Volynskie eparkhial'niye vedomosti).
  • 1910: Archim. Vitaly appointed editor of Russian Monk (Russkiy inok).
  • Archim. Vitaly organised a publishing brotherhood and expanded Pochaev's publishing work.
  • Archim. Vitaly became de facto head of the ecclesiastical-patriotic organisation, Union of Russian People (Soyuz Russkogo Naroda), which figured in independence from economic exploitation and alcoholism, and established a People's Bank, providing low-interest credit to peasants.
  • 1917: Revolution stunned Archim. Vitaly, who left for Movilev, wishing to serve a Divine Liturgy in the presence of the Tsar. He was denied access.
  • Archim. Vitaly arrested twice. First imprisoned with Metropolitan Anthony and Archbishop Evlogy in the Uniate monastery of Buchach, then inside the walls of the church of the Cossack Graves, which he had built. Not allowing him to finish serving the Liturgy, his arresters led him to the underwater dungeon in Demblin, where he suffered interrogation and beatings. Fr Vitaly performed the Liturgy there, using his chest in place of an antimension. Through intercessions of other kind people, he evaded execution. On release, he served in the diocese of Belostok under Bp Vladimir.
  • Met. Anthony, through the help of the Serbian Patriarch, sponsored Archim. Vitaly to come to Serbia; from there, he went to Ladomirovo, Chezhoslovakia, called Vladimirovo by the Russians. He settled in a peasant hut, but a monastery formed around him. A printing press was given to him by the Lemkovo Student Committee.
  • 1932: A Serbian bishop, Bp Damascene, consecrated the premises where Archim. Vitaly lived.
  • 1933: The Russian Church Press of St Job of Pochaev was incorporated and registered with the government - having been founded in 1618 and being run until 1918, it was reestablished in 1933. At the same time, he worked with formerly-Uniate parishes. The Church of Serbia had jurisdiction over these parishes, while the ROCOR had jurisdiction over the monastery and press.
  • 1933: Abp Apollinary (Koshovoi) reposed. After approximately 6 times that Archim. Vitaly refused the episcopacy, Met. Anthony told Archim. Vitaly that unless he accepted consecration as the bishop of America to replace Abp Apollinary, Met. Anthony would refuse to be his spiritual father. Archim. Vitaly accepted the consecration.
  • 1934: Abp Vitaly, for the sake of peace, removed the suspensions on Metropolitan Platon and his vicars.
  • 1935: Through the efforts of Abp Vitaly, the Metropolia enters/returns to ROCOR.
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