50th anniversary of the priesthood and 30th anniversary of the episcopacy
of Archbishop Alypy of Chicago and Detroit
From the Editors: On
October 11, the Diocese of Chicago and Detroit solemnly marked the
50th anniversary of the priesthood and the 30th anniversary of the
episcopacy of Archbishop Alypy. We offer our readers a biography
of the honoree and a photo-report of the event.
Archbishop Alypy was
born Nikolai Gamanovich on December 19 (n.s.), 1926, in the town
of Novaya Mayachka in the Kherson oblast. His parents were Mikhail
and Liudmila (nee Martynova). Nikolai's father was a blacksmith
by profession, a specialty he and his brother inherited from their
Nikolai's family did
not stay long in their long-time homeland, where his parents and
grandparents were born and raised. This was in the Soviet period
of collectivization and "raskulachivaniye," the destruction
of the wealthy peasant class. Many left their native lands and wandered
the wide country, seeking a way to survive. The same fate befell
Nikolai's family. His family finally settled in Fedorovka. Here
Nikolai entered elementary school, where there were only four classes.
To pursue his education further, Nikolai went to a neighboring town,
Kucheryavo-Volodimirovko, where there was an 8-year course of study.
During World War II,
the Germans took young people from the territories they occupied
to work in Germany, first as volunteers, then by force. Among those
taken was Nikolai. This happened in early December 1942. Together
with others from his village, Nikolai found himself in a camp for
Eastern workers, the "ostarbeiter," as workers from the
Soviet Union were called. Nikolai was the eldest of the children
in his family. In addition to his parents, three brothers and two
sisters remained behind.
When the conditions
at the camp permitted, Nikolai would travel to the church in Berlin.
Once while there he met Hieromonk Kyprian (Pyzhov), who acquainted
him with the monastic brethren of St Job of Pochaev, which fled
Slovakia with the onset of Soviet troops. Nikolai expressed the
desire to join the monastics, and the superior, Archimandrite Seraphim
(Ivanov) agreed to take him. Leaving his "ostarbeiter"
camp illegally, Nikolai joined the monks on February 3, 1945. Five
days later, the monks left Berlin and settled in Southern Germany.
After Germany's capitulation,
the monks moved first to Geneva, and from there, on December 1,
1946, to the USA, to Holy Trinity Monastery, founded by Archimandrite
Panteleimon with the blessing and support of Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko).
In Geneva, before his
departure for the USA, Nikolai was tonsured into the rassophore
and given the name Alypy. At Holy Trinity Monastery, Fr Alypy performed
various obediences alongside the other monks, but his main work
was in the icon-painting studio, working under the same Fr Kyprian,
the famous icon painter of the Russian diaspora. In 1948, together
with two other novices (one of them now His Eminence Metropolitan
Laurus and the other Archimandrite Flor), he was tonsured to the
mantle by Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko).
After finishing the
monastery's seminary, Fr Alypy taught several subjects there (Church
Slavonic, Greek and others). He also wrote a Church Slavonic grammar
book, published in 1964, and reprinted in 1984.
In 1950, Fr Alypy was
ordained a hierodeacon by Metropolitan Anastassy, and in 1954, he
was made a hieromonk.
In 1974, Archimandrite
Alypy was consecrated as Bishop of Cleveland and Vicar of the Chicago
and Detroit Diocese by Metropolitan Philaret, Archbishop Seraphim
and Archbishop Vitaly and Bishop (now Metropolitan) Laurus.
After the repose of
Archbishop Seraphim (Ivanov) in 1987, Vladyka Alypy was appointed
Ruling Bishop. In 1990, he was elevated to the rank of Archbishop.
In 1994, he was transferred to the Diocese of Australia and New
Zealand, but because of his ill health, the Australian Consulate
delayed his permanent visa, and through the intercession of the
parishioners of Protection Cathedral in Chicago (Des Plaines), he
was returned to his former diocese. While fulfilling his duties
as diocesan bishop, Vladyka Alypy never abandoned his icon painting.
He painted the frescos of St Sergius Cathedral in Cleveland.
During Great Lent, 2002,
on the grounds of the Cathedral, Vladyka fell, striking his head
against the asphalt, as a result of which he lost the ability to
move independently. Since then, Vladyka has made great strides in
his rehabilitation, which he approaches with great seriousness.
In 2003, to aid His
Eminence Vladyka Alypy, Archimandrite Peter (Lukianov), the Head
of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, was consecrated
into the episcopacy.