Theodosius (Lazor) of Washington

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His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, was the spiritual leader of the Orthodox Church in America [OCA] from 1977 until 2002.

Metropolitan Theodosius [Lazor] was born in Canonsburg, PA in 1933 to immigrant parents from Galicia, in what is today the southeastern corner of Poland. After completing undergraduate studies at Washington and Jefferson College, Washington, PA, he enrolled in Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, New York, from which he received a Master of Divinity degree in 1960. He spent the next year pursuing additional studies at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, Switzerland, touring the Holy Land, and visiting Orthodox Christian centers throughout Europe and the Middle East.

Upon returning to the US in 1961, he took monastic vows and was ordained to the diaconate and priesthood. From 1961 through 1966 he served as rector of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary Church, Madison, IL and as an assistant military chaplain.

In 1967 he was elected and consecrated to the episcopacy as Auxiliary to the Metropolitan and Bishop of Washington DC and as administrator of the Diocese of Alaska effective June 1, 1967. On November 17, 1967 the Great Council of Bishops elected him as the diocesan Bishop of Sitka and Alaska. He was consecrated a Bishop on May 6, 1967. During his tenure in Alaska he oversaw the rebuilding of historic Archangel Michael Cathedral, Sitka, AK, which had been destroyed by fire. He also initiated regional conferences throughout the diocese and encouraged the establishment of a variety of educational programs and conferences.

In May 1970, as Bishop of Alaska, he headed the OCA’s delegation which traveled to Moscow to receive the Tomos, or proclamation, of autocephaly from the Russian Orthodox Church. The Tomos guaranteed the right of self-governance for the Orthodox Church in America. Shortly thereafter, he hosted ceremonies in Alaska marking the canonization of one of the original Orthodox missionaries to Alaska, the Elder Herman. The event was significant in that it marked the first time a North American had been entered into the Orthodox calendar of saints.

In 1972 he was reassigned by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America to the Diocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. During his five year tenure in his “home