Centenary of the Archdiocese of Orthodox Churches of Russian Tradition in Western Europe

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Bishop John (Leonchukov)

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Born on June 30 (July 12) 1866 in the village of Arbuzinka, district of Elisavetgrad, province of Kherson, in the family of a priest. In 1889, he graduated from Odessa Theological Seminary.

On October 3, 1889, he was ordained a priest, and from 1889 to 1894 he was regular priest of the Nikolsky Cathedral of the city of Bobrinets, professor of law in the city schools. In 1894 he was appointed rector of St. Nicholas Church in Odessa Botanical Garden and also continued his service as a professor of law in the city's schools. In 1909, he was elevated to the rank of archpriest. He was appointed president of the Central Committee of Diocesan Candle Factories at the Holy Synod.

In 1916 he became assistant to the rector of the synodal church of Sts. Fathers of seven Ecumenical Councils in St. Petersburg, and was a volunteer at the Theological Academy of St. Petersburg. At the same time, he became a widower.

During the All-Russian Local Council of 1917-1918, he was responsible for the maintenance and distribution of all delegates to the Council. In 1919 he was sent to London on business with the Candle Committee, but was unable to return to Russia and settled in exile in Paris, where in 1920-1923 he served as an independent priest at St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.

From March 5, 1923, he was rector of St. Vladimir's Church in Berlin and professor of law at the Russian high school, and also looked after the Russian parishes of Hamburg and Bad Homburg.

On July 6, 1923, he pronounced his monastic vows and on July 7 was elevated to the dignity of Archimandrite.

In 1924, he returned to France. He founded the church of Saint-Nicolas le Merveilleux in the town of Ugine in the Alps, the parishes of Vichy, Montargis, Lille and others.

From 1924 to 1935 he was a member of the Diocesan Council under Metropolitan Euloge (Georgievsky), and from 1924 to 1925 he was a member of the founding committee of the Saint Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris. From March 30, 1925 to January 26, 1947, he was governor of the Saint-Serge enclosure in Paris.

On February 27, 1935, in Paris, in Saint-Alexandre-Nevski Cathedral, Metropolitan Euloge (Georgievsky) and Mgr Vladimir (Tikhonitsky) ordained Bishop of Chersonese, vicar of the exarchate of Orthodox parishes of Russian tradition in Western Europe.

He participated in spiritual congresses in Clichy (near Paris) (1936, 1937), in the Days of Russian Orthodox Culture (1930s), events organized by the Theological Institute of Paris. He was a member of the Jubilee Committee to Honor Metropolitan Euloge (1938).

On August 29, 1945, with the oral consent of His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Benjamin, Metropolitan Nikolai (Yarushevich) of Krutitsky and Kolomna, who arrived in Paris especially for this, accomplished the act of reunification with the Moscow Patriarchate of Metropolitan Euloge and his vicars Mgr Vladimir (Tikhonitsky) and Jean ... On September 2, at the Saint-Alexandre-Nevski cathedral in Paris, all the hierarchs celebrated together the Divine Liturgy.

After the death of Metropolitan Euloge in 1946, he began by not supporting Archbishop Vladimir (Tikhonitsky) with the majority of the clergy and parishioners of the Archdiocese in their desire to return under the omophorion of the Patriarchate of Constantinople; However, he ended up returning to the archdiocese.

He died on December 27, 1947 in Paris and was buried in the Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois cemetery.