CHICAGO DIOCESE: October 12, 2004

The 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 father.

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.