Serapion of Novgorod

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Our father among the saints Serapion of Novgorod, (Russian: Серапион) was Archbishop of Novgorod the Great and Pskov of the Church of Russia from 1506 to 1509. His feast day is March 16.


Serapion was from the village of Pekhorka (now Pekhra-Pokrovskoye within Balashikha in the Moscow Oblast). After his marriage he was ordained a priest, but was widowed after a year. He was tonsured a monk at the Dubensky Dormition Monastery in Vladimir province with the name Serapion, where he went on to be the igumen. Subsequently, he was igumen of the Stromynsky Dormition Monastery before becoming the igumen of Trinity Monastery in 1495, that later became known as Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra.

On the initiative of Grand Prince Basil III of Moscow, Igumen Serapion was consecrated and enthroned as Archbishop of Novgorod and Pskov on January 15, 1506, although he had refused the position.

After becoming Archbishop of Novgorod, Abp. Serapion became involved with Joseph of Volokolamsk who had become prominent for his involvement in the defense against the heresy of the Judaizers and the dispute concerning property ownership by monasteries. Joseph became a supporter of Prince Basil III. In 1507, Joseph transferred the Joseph-Volokolamsk Monastery to the patronage of the prince while he was under Serapion's episcopal jurisdiction, an act for which Serapion deprived Joseph of his blessing and excommunicated him. Joseph directly appealed his dispute with Serapion to Simon, the Metropolitan of Moscow. This was an act that Serapion deemed to be anti-canonical. In May 1509, at the sobor that considered the conflict between the two, Serapion actions were seen by Basil III as a disapproval of their actions, and Serapion was found at fault. He was released from his see, and exiled to a heavy imprisonment at the Andronikov Monastery. In 1511, he was released from Andronikov and spent the rest of his life at Trinity Monastery.

Abp. Serapion suffered his imprisonment that denied him not only his dignity but even his monastic mantle with great humility and patience. Having made peace with everyone and obtained the schema, Abp. Serapion reposed on March 16, 1516. After his death, the See of Novgorod remained vacant until 1526.

Succession box:
Serapion of Novgorod
Preceded by:
Archbishop of Novgorod
Succeeded by:
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