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Sergei Verhovskoy

Sergei Sergeevich Verhovskoy, a member of the Russian intellectual emigration in Paris in the 1930s and 1940s, was a professor at St. Sergius Theological Institute in Paris from 1944 to 1952 and St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theology Seminary from 1952 until his retirement in 1981.


Serge Verhovskoy who was born in Sarzha Russia in 1907. He left Russia with his parents and sisters in his early youth following the Bolshevik Revolution. He completed his secondary education in Prague, Czechoslovakia before moving to Paris, France. Through these years he grew up in the milieu of the Russian emigre intelligentsia in which he developed a deep interest in theology from his involvement with the Russian Student Christian Movement.

He attended St. Sergius Theological Institute in Paris from 1932 to 1936 during which time he developed his particular identity as a theologian. Influenced by Fr. Georges Florovsky, he developed a critical stance against the trends that were popular among the Russian intellectual emigration in Paris as put forward by Fr. Sergius Bulgakov, Nicholas Berdyaev, Kasian (Bezobrazov), and Anton Kartashev.

He married Olga Chetverikova, the daughter of the priest Fr. Sergius Chetverikov who was the chaplain of the Russian Student Christian Movement.

Serge began teaching at the St. Sergius Theological Institute in 1944. He also began writing and produced two papers: On the names of God and Theological issues related to the dogma of Chalcedon. In 1952, Serge moved to the United States with his wife and three daughters to teach dogmatics at St. Vladimir's Seminary. The seminary, then headed by Fr. Georges Florovsky, was located in Manhattan in rented facilities of the Union Theological Seminary. At St. Vladimir his first challenge was linguistic, as he had to improve his English in order to lecture. This he did, not with great perfection, but with great zeal, which reflected his total dedication to the young, missionary community of American Orthodoxy. He continued his writing, first in Russian and then later English.

With the resignation of Fr. Florovsky in 1955, Serge served as head of the seminary as provost and dean of students until the arrival of Fr. Alexander Schmemann in 1962. After Fr. Alexander's arrival, he continued as provost, responsible for personnel, finances, and facilities operation at the seminary's new campus in Crestwood, New York until his retirement in 1981.

Professor Verhovskoy reposed on August 4, 1986 at Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville, New York.