Paul (Popov) of Novoarkhangelsk

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His Grace the Right Reverend Bishop Paul (Popov) of New Archangel led the New Archangel vicariate of the Diocese of Kamchatka during the troubled years following the sale of Alaska to the United States, from 1867 to 1870. He was faced with the departure of the Russian administrative organization and arrival of the American sectarians as well as the new governing apparatus.

Born Peter Popov in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, Bp. Paul was a peaceful man who lived in a life of Christ-like poverty. Named the vicar bishop for New Archangel (Sitka) in November 1866 he arrived in Alaska as the transition from Russian to American rule was underway. In coming American sectarians were accompanied by the military and life, particularly in New Archangel, became perilous. Sitka, as the New Archangel became known, was reduced to a population of only twenty families by 1877. With the multitude of changes that this transition caused, his rule was marked by great difficulties.

It was also during this period that Bp. Paul initiated a move that heralded the coming transfer of the see to San Francisco. For a period of time Bp. Paul had assigned Priest Nikolai Kovrigin to San Francisco to serve the spiritual needs of the Slavic population in the San Francisco area. Fr. Nikolai arrived in late March 1868. He served his first liturgy on Pascha in a residence on Mission Street. Fr. Nikolai, also noted in his report to Bp. Paul, that the Gospel was read in four languages: Greek, Slavonic, English, and Russian. He also reported that the next day he served the Divine Liturgy in Greek for the Greeks in the city. Fr. Nikolai also advised that he also held services in Sacramento. Fr. Nikolai’s last liturgy in San Francisco before returning to Alaska was on Sunday, May 19, 1868.

Bp. Paul departed Alaska in January 1870, traveling across the United States on the way to Russia. As he was leaving Alaska he met his successor, Bishop John, who had arrived the day before. While he was in New York City he consecrated, on November 12, 1870, the first Orthodox church there, the Holy Trinity Greco-Russian church organized by Father Nicholas Bjerring.

Succession box:
Paul (Popov) of Novoarkhangelsk
Preceded by:
Peter (Lysakov)
Bishop of New Archangel
Succeeded by:
John (Mitropolsky)
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