Theodosius (Nagashima) of Japan

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Theodosius of Japan was the first Japanese to be the ruling bishop of the Church of Japan.

He was born on April 3, 1935 in Tokyo. He was attracted to the Orthodox Church through hearing the choir singing in Nicolai-do when he passed the Cathedral during his student days. In the event, as he learned more about Orthodox Christianity he was baptized and became a member of the choir, that was led by Victor A. Pokrovsky, and began attending the Tokyo Seminary. He graduated from the Seminary in April, 1963.

He was ordained a deacon in 1964 and a priest in 1965. Continuing his education, he studied at St Tikhon’s Theological Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania for a year, before returning to Japan. Upon returning he took his monastic vows in October 1969 before Archbishop Vladimir, the then ruling bishop of the Church in Japan. He received the name of Theodosius. In November, he was raised to the dignity of Archmandrite and nominated for bishop. On November 18, 1969, Archbishops John of San Francisco and Vladimir of Tokyo consecrated Theodosius Bishop of Kyoto. With his appointment as Bishop of Kyoto he established his residence in Osaka which is near the old Imperial city of Kyoto.

In 1972, Archbishop Vladimir, wishing to retire, had submitted his resignation. At a council Theodosius was elected the successor to Metropolitan Vladimir. Patriarch Pimen of Moscow, as the Church of Japan had become autonomous under the Church of Russia in 1970, approved the election. Thus, Theodosius became the first native Japanese ruling bishop of the Church of Japan as Archbishop of Tokyo and Metropolitan of All Japan.

Under the guidance of Metropolitan Theodosius, the Church of Japan continued its course of stabilization and growth through the rest of the twentieth century. He died in 1999, to be succeeded by Metropolitan Daniel.