Philaret (Voznesensky) of New York

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His Eminence the Most Reverend Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky) of New York was the first hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia from 1964 until his death on November 21, 1985.


George Nicholaevich Voznesensky was born on March 22, 1903 in Kursk, Russia into a family of a priest, Father Nicholas Voznesensky and his wife Lydia Vasilievna. In 1909, his family moved to Blagoveschensk on the Amur River in Siberia. In 1920, George graduated from the local gymnasium. Later in 1920 in the midst of the Russian Civil War, his family moved to Harbin, Manchuria. In 1921, his mother died, and his father accepted tonsure as a monk with the name Dimitri. Dimitri later became Archbishop of Hailar. He died in 1947 shortly after he repatriated to the Soviet Union.

Living in Harbin, George entered the Russo-Chinese Polytechnic Institute from which he graduated in 1927 as an electromechanical engineer. He then began studies in pastoral theology in what became the Theology Department of the University of St. Vladimir. In 1930, George was ordained a deacon. In 1931, George graduated from St. Vladimir University. Also in 1931, he was tonsured a monk with the name Philaret. In 1932, he was ordained a Hieromonk. In 1937, he was elevated to Igumen and to the rank of archimandrite. During this period he was also a professor of New Testament, Pastoral Theology, and Homiletics at St. Vladimir University.

In mid 1945, after the Communist Chinese and Soviet forces took over Manchuria at the end of World War II, Archim. Philaret remained with the Orthodox believers in Manchuria, but he firmly rejected all attempts to get him to accept a soviet passport. Further, he fearlessly denounced the atheistic communists. His overt position against the soviets placed him in great personal danger. Their hatred of him resulted in an attempt to burn him alive in his monastic cell. He escaped, but suffered severe burns.

In 1962, the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia was able to acquire an exit visa for Archim. Philaret that allowed him to reach Hong Kong. From there Archim. Philaret quickly traveled to Brisbane, Australia where many of his former flock from Manchuria had settled. After his arrival in Brisbane, his followers petitioned the Synod of ROCOR to appoint him their bishop.

On May 24, 1963 The profession of faith by Archim. Philaret was received in the Archbishop's Chapel by Abp Sava of Sydney, Bp Anthony of Melbourne and Bp Dionysios of Nazianzos (GOA).

With the active support of the ailing Abp. Sava of Sydney, Archim. Philaret became Bishop of Brisbane, vicar of the Australian diocese. Archim. Philaret was consecrated by Abp. Sava and Bp. Anthony of Melbourne on May 26, 1963. Due to protests from committee members of Sts Peter and Paul Church, Bp Dionysios was asked not to participate in the consecration.

In 1964, Bp. Philaret represented Abp. Sava at a meeting of the Council of Bishops of ROCOR in which the first hierarch Metr. Anastassy announced his resignation. As the youngest bishop among those at the council, the Council elected Bp. Philaret the successor to Metr. Anastassy. Metr. Philaret was enthroned first hierarch of ROCOR on May 14, 1964.

Metr. Philaret served as the first hierarch of ROCOR for twenty one years. He reposed on November 21, 1985 and was buried in the cemetery of the Church of Dormition. In November 1998, the Synod decided to transfer Metr. Philaret's relics to to a new vault under the altar of Holy Trinity Cathedral at Jordanville, New York. When his tomb was opened, his relics were found to be incorrupt.


Metropolitan Philaret has been canonized by a number of non-canonical church groups (four between 2001 and 2009). These glorifications are not recognised by the Orthodox Church.

Succession box:
Philaret (Voznesensky) of New York
Preceded by:
Athanasy (Martos)
Bishop of Brisbane

Succeeded by:
Constantine (Essensky)
Preceded by:
Vitaly (Maximenko)
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York

Succeeded by:
Vitaly (Ustinov)
Preceded by:
Anastasy (Gribanovsky)
First Hierarch of ROCOR
Succeeded by:
Vitaly (Ustinov)
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