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Porphyrius (Uspensky) of Chigirin

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His Grace, '''Porphyrius''' or '''Porfiry (Uspensky) of Chigirin''' was the Bishop of Chigirin, Vicar of the Eparchy of Kiev of the [[Church of Russia]] during the nineteenth century. His greatest fame was as a scholar, archaeologist, orientalist, and cataloguer of the ancient manuscripts of the Eastern Church. He was also the founder of the [[Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem]].
Bishop Porfiry was born Constantine Alexandrovich Uspensky in a small town in Kostroma on [[September 8]], 1804, the son of Alexander Matveevich, a sexton, and Darya Stepanovna. After completing his basic education at the local religious school in 1818, he entered the theological [[seminary]] in Kostroma, graduating in 1824.
In 1825, he was admitted to the [[St. Petersburg Theological Academy]] from which he graduated in 1829 with a degree of Candidate of Theology. On [[September 15]], 1829 he was [[tonsure]]d a [[monk]] with the name of Porfiry. Then, on [[September 20]], Mnk. Porfiry was [[ordination|ordained]] a [[hierodeacon]] followed by his ordination as a [[priest]] on [[September 25]]. On [[July 1]], 1831, Fr. Porfiry received his Master's degree.
On [[July 2]], 1831, he was appointed a teacher of religion at the Richelieu Lyceum in Odessa, now the I. I. Mechnikov Odessa National University. On [[May 1]], 1834, Fr. Porfiry was appointed the [[abbot]] of the Monastery of the Dormition in Odessa followed by his becoming an [[archimandrite]] on [[May 20]]. It was during his service in Odessa that Archim. Porfiry Porphyrius became interested Oriental Christianity and during which he learned modern Greek and Italian. On [[July 18]], 1838, Fr. Porfiry Porphyrius was appointed head of the Kherson Theological Seminary in what is now southern Ukraine.
On [[November 15]], 1838, Fr. Porfiry Porphyrius was appointed the priest of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Vienna, Austria. This position gave him the opportunity to learn German and as well as to participate in a scientific investigation in Dalmatia of the life style and written heritage of southwestern Slavs.
Thus, based upon Fr. PorfiryPorphyrius's language abilities and experience working with Christians aboard, Fr. Porfiry Porphyrius was subsequently sent to Jerusalem by the Holy Synod to become acquainted with the Orthodox Christians in Palestine and Syria.
In this new assignment, Fr. Porfiry Porphyrius had opportunities to visit the monasteries of the Middle East and explore the ancient Christian holy sites. In the first half of 1845, he explored Egypt, [[Mount Sinai]], and the monasteries of the Nitrian desert. In the year from mid 1845 to mid year 1846, Fr. Porfiry examined the rich Christian treasures of antiquity at [[Mount Athos]]. It was [[St. Catherine's Monastery (Sinai)|St. Catherine's Monastery]] at Mount Sinai that most interested Fr. Porfiry which, unlike the other old monasteries, had never been plundered.
While at St. Catherine Monastery Fr. PorfiryPorphyrius, in 1845, identified and described from among its library of documents a major portion of an ancient Bible manuscript in Greek. This manuscript later would be identified as the ''[[Codex Sinaiticus]]''.
Also while he was in Palestine the idea came to Fr. Porfiry Porphyrius of establishing a mission in Jerusalem as a representation of the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1847 after several years lobbying, he was finally able to get the support of the Russian government to establish the mission when, on [[February 23]], Emperor Nicholas I signed a resolution establishing the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission which Fr. Porfiry then headed until 1854.
Through the years Fr. Porfiry Porphyrius and his team of collaborators visited the old monasteries of Egypt. At St. Catherine's Monastery, he complied for the [[monastery]] a catalogue of the Greek language manuscripts held there, forming the first scientifically-based catalogue of oldest library collections of the Orthodox East.
On [[May 8]], 1854, Fr. Porfiry Porphyrius left Jerusalem at the opening of the Russo-Turkish War, leaving his research library at St. Archangels Monastery. He returned again in 1858 with an expedition but with the specific duty of returning to Russia his property and library collections from Jerusalem. Having accomplished this, in 1961, Fr. Porfiry returned to Russia, not to leave again.
Acclaimed as a scholar of world renown in St. Petersburg, Fr. Porfiry Porphyrius became the advisor to both the government and the [[Holy Synod]] as an expert on Christians antiquities. He was also elected honorary or full member of various scientific and charitable societies. It was eleven years, however, before the Holy Synod assigned him to a new ecclesiastical position. On [[February 14]], 1865, Archim. Porfiry was [[consecration of a bishop|consecrated]] Bishop of Chigirin and appointed the first [[vicar]] of the [[diocese|Eparchy]] of Kiev, a position under his former tutor from the seminary in Kostroma, [[Metropolitan]] Arseny (Moskvin).
On [[February 14]], 1865, Archim. Porphyrius was [[consecration of a bishop|consecrated]] Bishop of Chigirin and appointed the first [[vicar]] of the [[diocese|Eparchy]] of Kiev, a position under his former tutor from the seminary in Kostroma, [[Metropolitan]] Arseny (Moskvin).  The period in Kiev was a fruitful time for Bp. Porfiry Porphyrius as he was able to spend time sorting and studying the many items from his collections. It was also during this time that he published most of his writings. In 1878, he was appointed to the Synodal office and abbot of the New Monastery of Our Savior (Novospassky Monastery) in Moscow. Leaving Kiev reluctantly, Bp. Porfiry Porphyrius found working with his "Oriental studies" made him forget his sorrow as he sought repositories for his manuscripts and printed books.
Bp. Porfiry's manuscript collection was sold to the Imperial Public Library in 1883. His research library was given to the library of the Holy Synod.The collection was stored in the basement of the New Monastery of Our Savior where it may have perished following the Bolshevik revolution.
Bp. Porfiry Porphyrius reposed quietly on [[April 19]], 1885 and was buried at Novospassky Monastery.
*[ Bishop Porfiry Porphyrius (Uspensky) and his Collection]
*[ The Russian Church Mission in the Holy Land]

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