Nicholas (Ziorov) of Warsaw

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His Grace the Right Reverend Bishop Nicholas (Ziorov) of Warsaw was a 19th century bishop of the Church of Russia serving in Alaska and other parts of the Russian Empire. He was known as a leader who demanded prompt compliance with his instructions, yet was diplomatically careful. Bp. Nicholas successfully surrounded himself with able assistants, assistants who would be among the significant personalities in the growth of the North American mission. During his time as Bishop of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska the Orthodox presence in the United States grew from five to 17 parishes while he still cared for the community in Alaska.


Michael Zacharovich Ziorov was born on May 21, 1851, in the District of Kherson. He completed his education at the Moscow Theological Academy, graduating in 1878. While still a layman he held the position of Inspector at the Vologda and the Mogilev seminaries. In 1887, he entered monastic life, receiving his tonsure and name of Nicholas. Later in the year he was ordained a deacon and then a priest. He was then appointed Rector of the Moscow Theological Seminary. He continued in this position until September 29, 1891, when he was consecrated Bishop of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska.

Bp. Nicholas was a stern person who presented himself with stately dignity. While quick tempered he was diplomatically careful and would good naturally make amends for his flare ups. He surrounded himself with able assistants, numbering among them such priests as Alexander Hotovitzky, Theodore Pashkovsky, John Kochurov, Alexis Toth, and Raphael Hawaweeny who are all well remembered for their services in the early 20th century. Since his arrival as Bishop of the North American diocese, the number of parishes kept growing as the numbers of people returning from the Unia continued. To provide communications among these parishes he initiated publication of the English-Russian-language weekly, the Russian American Messenger under the editorship of Alexander Hotovitsky.

Yet Bp. Nicholas continued to look after his flock in Alaska. He made two tours of the parishes and chapels that served the 15,000 native Orthodox Christians in the original centers of the Orthodox mission in North America. In 1897, he visited the faithful who had settled in the midlands of Canada. With the shift of activity toward the eastern United States, he transferred the mission school from San Francisco to Minneapolis.

Then in 1898, Bp. Nicholas was transferred back to Russia, to be Archbishop of the Diocese of Tver and Kashin. Subsequently he was assigned as Archbishop of Warsaw. As World War I engulfed the area he moved to St. Petersburg where he died during the autumn of 1915.

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Succession box:
Nicholas (Ziorov) of Warsaw
Preceded by:
Vladimir (Sokolovsky-Avtonomov)
Bishop of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska
Succeeded by:
Tikhon (Belavin)
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