Seraphim (Ivanov) of Chicago

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His Eminence, the Most Reverend Seraphim (Ivanov) was a hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the second ruling bishop of the Diocese of Chicago and Detroit (now the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America).


Leonid Georgievich Ivanov was born in Kursk, Russia in 1897. After completing his elementary and secondary education, graduating in 1915, from the Kursk Gymnasium (High School) in Kursk, Leonid entered the Philosophy Faculty of Moscow University. His education was interrupted by World War I when he was called to serve in the Imperial Russian Army. After taking part in offensive action with the First Siberian Corps, he was assigned to the Sergievsky Artillery School in Odessa, Russia. In late 1918, he visited Kursk for the funeral of his mother before joining the White Army following the Bolshevik takeover of the government of Russia in early November 1917. While serving with the Kornilov regiment, he contracted typhus during the retreat to the Black Sea. After recovering from the illness, he was evacuated with the White Army and emigrated to Yugoslavia. After arriving in Yugoslavia, Leonid entered the Philosophy Faculty of Belgrade University, but soon changed to the Theology Faculty. After graduating he taught the Law of God at a Serbian high school in Skopje. In 1926, Leonid undertook a pilgrimage to Mount Athos where he sought guidance about his future from a holy elder. After visiting and praying with the Elder Theodossy of Karoulia and the blind Hieroschemamonk Elder Ignaty, Leonid returned to Yugoslavia before entering St. Panteleimon Monastery on Mount Athos. There he received his tonsure as a monk on August 1, 1926, the feast day of the Opening of the relics of St Seraphim of Sarov, and thus received the name Seraphim.

Returning to Skopje, the monk Seraphim was ordained a priest by Metropolitan Varnava of Skopje, later Patriarch of Serbia. Seraphim served until 1928 as a parish priest in Skopje before joining the Monastery of St. Job of Pochaev in Ladomirova, Czechoslovakia (present day Slovakia).

In 1934, hieromonk Seraphim was raised to the rank of archimandrite and appointed abbot of the monastery by Metr. Anthony (Khrapovitsky) to replace Archimandrite Vitaly (Maximenko) who had been consecrated bishop and had moved to America. During the years Archimandrite Seraphim led St. Job of Pochaev Monastery he placed great importance on its printing capabilities, developing it to the most important printing center of ROCOR. During World War II, the monastery press produced Orthodox literature for distribution in German occupied areas of the Soviet Union.

In 1944, after the war turned against the German forces. Archimandrite Seraphim and the brotherhood of the monastery fled before the advancing Soviet forces. After first going to Berlin, they fled to Switzerland. In February 1946, in Switzerland, Archimandrite Seraphim was consecrated Bishop of Santiago and Chile at the Cathedral of the Elevation of the Cross in Geneva by Metr. Anastassy (Gribanovsky) who assisted by Bps. Jeronim (Chernov) of Montreal and Nathaneil (Lvov) of Brussels and Western Europe.

Not being able to assume his post in Chile, Bp. Seraphim then emigrated to the United States with the brotherhood from St. Job monastery, where they joined the Holy Trinity Monastery at Jordanville, New York. Bp. Seraphim was then named abbot of the monastery with the title of Bishop of Holy Trinity and vicar of the Diocese of Eastern America.

In 1948, Bp. Seraphim initiated the founding of the New Kursk Root Hermitage in Mahopac, New York to serve as the home for the Kursk Root Icon and as headquarters of the Synod of Bishops from 1951 to 1958. Then, both moved to 75 East 93rd Street in New York City. Between 1951 and 1957 Bp. Seraphim headed the Hermitage and was a permanent member of the Synod of Bishops.

In October 1957, Bp. Seraphim was appointed ruling bishop of the Diocese of Chicago, Detroit, and Midwest succeeding Abp. Gregory (Borishkevitch) who had reposed. In 1959, he was elevated to archbishop.

In 1960, Abp. Seraphim and Abp. Theophil (Ionscu), a Romanian bishop who was a member of ROCOR, consecrated Archimandrite Akakios, a member of the Greek Old Calendar Church, a bishop. Metr. Anastassy and the Holy Synod, however, did not sanction the consecration. In late 1969, however, Metr. Philaret and the Synod confirmed the consecration.

Being very interested in the youth of the church, Abp. Seraphim established the Organization of Russian Orthodox Pathfinders which established a summer camp in a rural area west of Chicago, called Vladimirovo, This led to his appointment by the Holy Synod to oversee the youth programs for all of ROCOR.

In 1974, at the request of Abp. Seraphim, Igumen Alypy (Gammanovich) was consecrated Bishop of Cleveland a vicar to the Diocese of Chicago and Detroit. Igumen Alypy was consecrated in October 1974 in the Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in Chicago. In 1976, Abp. Seraphim became the first deputy to Metr. Philaret.

As age began to take its toll on his physical strength, in the mid 1980s, Abp. Seraphim retired to the New Kursk Root Hermitage in Mahopac with Archimandrite Feofan where he reposed in 1987. He was buried in the hermitage's cemetery..

Succession box:
Seraphim (Ivanov) of Chicago
Preceded by:
Leonty (Filipovitch)
Bishop of Santiago and Chile

Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Panteleimon (Nizhnik)
Abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery
Succeeded by:
Vitaly (Maximenko)
Preceded by:
see created
Bishop of Holy Trinity

Succeeded by:
Averky (Taushev)
Preceded by:
Rector of New Kursk Root Hermitage
Succeeded by:
Innocent (Bystrov)
Preceded by:
Gregory (Borishkevitch)
Archbishop of Chicago, Detroit & the Midwest

Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Archbishop of Chicago, Detroit and Mid-America

Succeeded by:
Alypy (Gammanovich)
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