Bishop Seraphim Ivanov

Next time you come to our parish, you may notice a new portrait has been added to our gallery of bishops.
In case you wonder why, we have asked some parishioners to tell us more about Bishop Seraphim and his role in our diocese.

Bishop Seraphim Ivanov (1897-1987) was born Leonid Georgovich Ivanov in Kursk, Russia. He was orphaned in 1916 when his mother died of the Spanish flu.

Bishop (henceforth Vladika) Seraphim, served in the Imperial Army, and during the Russian revolution, fought in the White Army loyal to Tsar Nicholas II, where he was wounded.
Fleeing to Serbia after the takeover of Russia by the communists, he later earned a doctorate in philosophy and theology at the University of Belgrade.

In 1926, he went to Mount Athos to became a monk, and assumed the name of Seraphim of Sarov.

In 1934, Vladika Seraphim was appointed abbot of the Monastery of St. Job of Pochaev in Ladomirova, Czechoslovakia (present day Slovakia), where he developed the most important printing center of ROCOR.

During World War II, the monastery press produced Orthodox literature for distribution in German-occupied areas of the Soviet Union.
In 1944, as communist troops entered Czechoslovakia, Vladika departed for Berlin, then to Switzerland, and, in 1946, to Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York.

In 1949, he helped found what eventually became Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral and took over the parish fully in 1958. He also served as the head of the Chicago and Detroit Diocese of the Church Abroad. 

In 1960, according to legend, Vladika drove 100 miles northwest of Chicago to search for a site for a children’s summer camp. Getting lost in a sudden thunderstorm, he came upon a 70-acre parcel with a commercial fishing lake that was for sale. Known at the time as Lost Lake Farm, he purchased it, dropped the “Farm”, and established ORPR – an Orthodox summer camp.

Additionally, he sold lots to parishioners. This subdivision was named Vladimirovo and a small country church, under the direction of Protodeacon Fr. John Logvinenko, was built.
Vladika, together with his secretary, archimandrite Feofan Shishmanov, spent every summer at Vladimirovo celebrating Divine Services for the camp, and instructing children in the Holy Orthodox Faith.

In the mid-1980’s, Vladika Seraphim retired to the New Kursk Root Hermitage in Mahopac (NY) where he reposed in 1987. 

More details on his life can be found on this page published by ROCOR Studies

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