Alexander (Nemolovsky) of Brussels

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His Eminence the Most Reverend Archbishop Alexander (Nemolovsky) was administrator and ruling archbishop of the North American diocese of the Church of Russia during the tremulous times after the Russian Revolutions and Civil War, from 1917 until his return to Europe on June 20, 1922. During his early years in the United States he was an active missionary priest who was consecrated the first vicar of the North American Archdiocese in 1909 as Bishop of Alaska. He was administrator during the interregnum between the departure of Abp. Platon and and the arrival of Abp. Evdokim and again when Abp. Evdokim returned to Russia for the 1917 Council. With the rise of the Bolsheviks and the collapse of the Church in Russia, Alexander was faced with many problems and enemies: loss of income from Russia, factionalism, and dissident priests. While the majority of the diocese remained loyal to him and supported his becoming the ruling archbishop, in the end the elements of the crisis were too great for him and with the return to the United States of Abp. Platon, he requested Platon to take over as ruling bishop, and then he left for Europe.


Alexander Alexandrovich Nemolovsky was born in the Volynia Eparchy on August 30, 1876. He was educated in the local parochial schools before entering the St. Petersburg Theological Seminary. He was ordained a deacon on November 18, 1901, and then a week later he was ordained a priest. Father Alexander then traveled to the United States where he was assigned to the parish at Catasaqua, Pennsylvania. In turn he served in Reading, Pennsylvania (1906-1908) and Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Jersey City, New Jersey (1908-1909) where he worked actively with the Russian Immigrants House in New York City, aiding immigrants and editing the daily Russian-language paper ‘‘Russian Immigrant’’. He also was editor of ‘‘Svit’’ between 1905 to 1909.

In 1909, he was elected to be the first vicar bishop of the North American Archdiocese by the Holy Synod of the Russian Church. In Russia, Father Alexander was tonsured on November 9, 1909 and then consecrated Bishop of Alaska at the St Alexander Nevsky Monastery in St Petersburg. Returning the the United States he traveled extensively through his new diocese, reporting on the developments there in the ‘‘Russian American Orthodox Messenger’’. When Apb. Platon left the diocese before the arrival of Abp. Evdokim, he was named the temporary administrator of the North American archdiocese from July 1914 to March 1915. After the arrival of Evdokim, he was transferred in 1916 to Winnipeg, Canada as Bishop of Canada where his efforts were impaired by the activity of Protestant activists. Then, again in 1917 he was called to be administrator of the Archdiocese when Archbishop Evdokim left for Russia.

Leaving Archmandrite Adam Philipovsky to administer the Canadian diocese, Bishop Alexander moved to New York as the fall out of the Bolshevik revolution descended on him and the North American diocese. When it was announced that Archbishop Evdokim was not return ing the the United States, the Second All-American Council of 1919 in Cleveland, Ohio elected Bishop Alexander as the ruling bishop which was confirmed by the Church of Russia on August 27, 1920.

Bishop Alexander became overwhelmed by the loss of funding from Russia that added to the financial chaos he had inherited, including a debt of $100,000 from Abp. Evdokim. After attempts to raise money locally failed, Bishop Alexander began to resort to mortgaging Church property. This only aggravated the problems. His financial problems also provided cause for his enemies, particularly Father John Kedrovsky and the dissident priests supporting him who were attempting to usurp control of the diocese in line with the Bolshevik manifesto. Abp. Alexander’s lack of understanding of economic and financial matters only aggravated the situation. Additionally, the element of factionalism began to grow in Canada where the immigrants began to split into Russian and Ukrainian factions. Alexander took a strong nationalistic position and did not support his administrator Archmandrite Adam in pursuing the idea of an Ukrainian administration as had been done for Albanians and Serbians. As a result the problem remained, eventually to result in a separate Ukrainian Orthodox diocese.

As these complications grew Abp. Alexander decided that it was best for the Church that he leave the United States. With the return of Metr. Platon to the United States Alexander sent a letter of June 7, 1922 to Platon asking that he assume the duties of the ruling Heirarch. He, then, departed from the United States on June 20, 1922.

Succession box:
Alexander (Nemolovsky) of Brussels

{{succession| before=?| title=Bishop of the Alaska| years=1909-1916| after=Philip (Statvitzky)}

Preceded by:
Bishop of Canada


Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Evdokim (Mischersky) of the Aleutians
Archbishop of the Aleutians
Succeeded by:
Metropolitan Platon (Rozhdestvensky) of New York
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Category; Bishop