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

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Bishop Methodius (Kuhlman)

Vladimir Kuhlman was born on June 1 1902, son of Nicolas Karlovitch Kuhlman, a renown philologist. He left Russia with his parents for Bulgaria, then settled in Prague, where he studied in Prague University of History and Philology. In 196 he joins Saint Serge Theological Institute in Paris. On December 14 1930, Metropolitan Euloge tonsured him with the name of Saint Methodius Peshnoshsky.

In 1931, after his studies at St. Serge Theological Institute, he is ordained hieromonk and nominated rector of the Christ the Saviour parish in Asnières-sur-Seine, where he will stay for 42 years and will never leave, even after his ordination as bishop.

Bishop Methodius brought his talents and numerous charismas at the service of this parish which he built as a place of prayer, thinking, instruction, gathering, mutual help and outstanding joy.

The number of its parishioners, its reach and the gratitude of all who have been educated in it testify for it.

Bishop Methodius qualities for organisation, pedagogy, redaction, and sheperding, flourished in this parish : be it the acquisition of the parish's building, the setting up of a Russian school, of the library, of a breadline or handing out clothing for the needy, His Eminence always found the time, the faithful contributors and the necessary resources.

He opened a sister-parish (Rueil-Malmaison), a retirement home (Rosay-en-Brie), published a monthly magazine "Вечное", "The Eternal" (316 issues in his lifetime). His energy, his power of persuasion and his work did wonders! His numerous spiritual children, including Mother Olga (Slezkine), where worthy continuators of his work and spirit.

Pilgrimages to the Holy Land deserve a special place in bishop Methodius deed : beyond his talents for organisation, predication or communication, this part of his achievements showed, above all, his deep joy in Christ.

No pilgrim who followed him between 1952 and 1974 in Palestine could forget his joyful smile and the lightness of his steps, under the torching summer heat, when he trod this Holy Land that our Saviour had walked upon.

It is this same Easter joy which will preside over his passing on Holy Saturday, April 13 1974, within a few hours of the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ.

"Christ is risen" was the greeting that Deacon Igor was bringing him to his room on the upper floor above the church. "He is risen indeed" was Bishop Methodius answer by all his life and his achievements!

His funeral, during the Easter Week, brought him to his resting place in the crypt of the church of the Dormition in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, accompanied by the Paschal Troparion:

« Christ is risen from the Dead, tramping down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! »