Philaret (Semovskih) of Sydney

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Note: This article or section represents an Old Calendarist perspective, which may differ from an Eastern Orthodox understanding.

Philaret (secular name Peter Semovskikh) is the Metropolitan of Sydney and Australia of ROCiE-Ph, and is the only bishop in his jurisdiction. He was consecrated under the non-canonical Russian Orthodox Church in Exile (headed by Abp Vladimir (Tselishchev)).

Biographical Timeline

Peter Semovskih was born in 1942 in Dairen, China. Baptised in Church of Archangel Michael by Fr Innocent Patelim.

In 1944 his Family moved to Harbin, Manchuria, due to Soviet bombings. Studied in musical academy, and took classes in mechanical drafting. Served at altar boy in St Nicholas Cathedral. Lived in parish-owned apartment due to parents' service in choir (father was head psalmist). Peter and his mother often accompanied Archim. Philaret on journeys.

In 1957 his Family moved to Australia. Settled in Brisbane.

In 1964 he met and married Catherine.

Dec 20 1964 Bishop Philaret ordained Peter to the diaconate. He served at St Seraphim of Sarov Church, Brisbane.

1966: Metr. Philaret summoned Dcn Peter to New York to work in the Synod. He was ordained to the priesthood and had duties relating to the candle factory, financial obligations, donations, and Synod revenue, in addition to pastoral duties, office duties and being in charge of Synod affairs. Fr Peter had a son during his time in Synod.

In 1967: His assignment to Synod was not a good fit. Fr Peter was transferred by Metr Philaret to his summer residence in Mahopac, NY.

  • 1967-71: Fr Peter studied at Holy Trinity Seminary.
  • 1972: Abp Theodosius and Bp Constantine requested Fr Peter return to Australia. Fr Peter was amenable, and Metr Philaret gave his permission. He was transferred to St Seraphim of Sarov Church, Brisbane, due to the difficult situation there.

In 1979: Metr Philaret elevated him to Archpriest.

In 1986: The Synod awarded him the right to wear a jewelled pectoral cross. At a later point, he was also awarded the right to wear the mitre.

In 2006: Mitred Archpriest Peter was suspended of all functions and removed from the rectorate of St Seraphim of Sarov due to his opposition to ROCORs reunification with the Moscow Patriarchate. He immediately created a schism, based in a chapel located in his house. He initially aligned himself with the Russian True Orthodox Church (under Abp Tikhon (Pasechnik)), but moved to the Russian Orthodox Church in Exile (under Abp Vladimir (Tselishchev))

In 2013: Fr Peter's wife, Catherine, reposed. By October, Fr Peter had received monastic vows, receiving the name 'Philaret' in honour of the late ROCOR Metropolitan of New York, and was consecrated to the episcopacy as Bishop of Sydney and Australia.

  • 2015 Oct: Bp Philaret (Semovskih) and another bishop from ROCiE-V, Cassian (Mukhin), organised a council in Amosovka, Kursk, and formed a new jurisdiction, elevating Bishop Philaret to Metropolitan.
  • 2016 mid-Feb: Metr Philaret suspended and retired Bp Cassian (who had left to join the Orthodox Catholic Church of France).
  • 2016 Feb 26: After they had left his jurisdiction, Abp Vladimir (Tselishchev) (ROCiE-V) defrocked three bishops: Philaret (Semovskih), Cassian (Mukhin) and Anastassy (Surzhik, who had attempted to join ROCA-PSCA under Metropolitan Agafangel).