Sergius (Black) of Portland

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Bishop Sergius or Sergios (secular name David Black; born 1942, Willimantic, Connecticut)


David Black was born in 1942 in family of Frank Albert and Ethel Mildret Black and was raised in a small rural town in Connecticut. He spent his summers and holidays in an even smaller and more rural town in northern Vermont with his grandmother, who had a great influence on his boyhood formation.

He graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1964 with a BA in Philosophy and went on to attend St. Vladimir's Seminary, graduating in 1967. In 1968 he graduated from Fordham University with an MA in Byzantine Studies.

On May, 1969 was ordained Priest in the Diocese of Sitka, Alaska, where he served until August, 1972. There he joined the history faculty of the Sitka branch of the University of Alaska.

In 1972, with the departure of his ordaining Bishop from Alaska, Archimandrite Sergios spent a year's sabbatical leave at St. John the Baptist Orthodox Monastery in Essex, England.

In 1976, he spent a second sabbatical year at Simonos Petras Monastery on the Holy Mountain.

In 1982 he sought and received permission from the ecclesiastical authority to permanently leave the parish ministry and to lead the monastic life. He spent 18 months, 1983-1984, in Greece, living and studying in a variety of monastic communities, from small sketes to large coenobitic monasteries, both on Athos and in mainland Greece.

In 1984 he was tonsured in a small monastery in Western Europe, established by his spiritual father, Archbishop Basil (Krivoshein).

The foundation of what was originally called St. Gregory Palamas Monastery was laid by Archimandrite Sergios and his spiritual son, Monk Simon, in California, in far-northern Trinity County, in 1984. During his 18 month pilgrimage to monastic Greece, however, another community of that name had moved to California, and in order to avoid confusion, Archimandrite Sergios changed the designation of his community to St. Gregory of Sinai - an older and like-minded contemporary of St. Gregory Palamas.

St. Gregory of Sinai Monastery was to relocate first to the Bay Area in 1986, and in 2000, to Lake County where a gift of 300 heavily-forested acres on the southern flanks of Mount Hannah (3900 feet) - an extinct volcanic formation at the eastern end of the Mayacamas mountain range - in the town of Loch Lomond, gave the community - numbering 5 men at the time - its permanent home. Without water, utilities or buildings, the Brotherhood spent its first year living and worshipping in used Army tents, carrying in water, and enjoying the gift of the use of a neighbour's garage for tasks requiring electricity. From the beginning, the self-supporting community had made its way materially by painting ikons for churches and individuals. To this was added a modest greeting card project, using its own ikons, for the most part, as the cards' designs. Gradually, with the addition of two more men to the Brotherhood, and thanks to an original push provided by a visiting Priest from Calgary, Canada, a substantial organic v vegetable garden was established, to which a small fruit orchard was added. A well (530' deep) was dug; a multi-purpose building was constructed, 120' long and housing the Chapel (dedicated to St. Silouan the Athonite), Trapeza, kitchen, laundry and cells for the monks and their guests, and this Summer of 2004, a second building to provide more adequate housing for its ikon workshop and other needs, in underway.

From its beginning the Monastery was an institution of the Orthodox Church in America, one of the jurisdictions of the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in the Americas. Concerns centering on a growing awareness of the actual content of contemporary syncretistic ecumenism, particularly in its chief institutional expression, the World and Regional Councils of Churches, led the Monastery to affiliate, in September 2000, with a Synod of Bishops who refrain from membership in organizations with syncretistic ideologies, practices and goals, the Eparchial Synod of the Holy Orthodox Church in North America, whose President is Metropolitan Makarios of Toronto. In 2001, this Synod established a new Metropolis to serve the American states west of the Mississippi and elected Assistant Bishop of Roslindale Moses as Metropolitan of Seattle.

In 2002 a gift of 10 acres located in the adjacent town of Kelseyville (whose post office supplies the Monastery with its mailing address) some 30 minutes from the Monastery was received, together with 3000 newly-planted olive trees which will come into production with 5-7 years. With this gift came a newly-constructed barn complete with an Italian-made, computer-driven olive press, giving the small Brotherhood additional possibilities of supporting its life and work.

In 2003 hegumen Sergios was given the rank of Archimandrite and in early 2004, the Eparchial Synod elected Archimandrite Sergios Assistant Bishop to assist Metropolitan Moses in his ministry to the geographically-vast territory composing the Seattle Metropolis. Archimandrite Sergios will serve as Bishop of Loch Lomond.

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