History of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville (Part III)

The newly-consecrated Bishop Vitaly, departing for America in 1934, appointed Archimandrite Seraphim (Ivanov, +1987) as his successor. Archimandrite Seraphim, who later became Archbishop of Chicago and Detroit, was born August 1, 1897. His parents, Georgii and Vera, ensured that their son received a good education, and he finished Kursk Classic Gymnasium [high school] and then studied for a year at Moscow University. In 1916, he volunteered for the front and joined the 1st Siberian Corps. Later he took part in the Volunteer Army, first in Kornilov's Regiment, then in Markov's Artillery Brigade. After the evacuation, the future Vladyka Seraphim found himself in Belgrade, where he became interested in theology. He graduated with degrees in philosophy, and thereupon theology. In 1926, while visiting St Panteleimon's Skete in Mouth Athos, on the feast day of St Seraphim of Sarov, he was tonsured to the monkhood. That same year, the future Patriarch Varnava of Serbia (+1937), ordained him hierodeacon and soon hieromonk. In 1927, Hieromonk Seraphim was received into the Ladomirovo Brotherhood.

Under the direction of Fr Seraphim, the brotherhood performed a great deal of missionary work, printing service books, religious literature, ecclesiastical calendars and other books, as well as Pravoslavnaya Rus [Orthodox Russia], edited by Archimandrite Seraphim. During World War II, Archimandrite Seraphim printed an enormous number of books. While collecting funds for this work, he traveled to Bulgaria. He hoped that with time he would be able to send service books and other religious literature to Russia. The brotherhood's work helped the development of church life under the difficult conditions of refugee life, for the newly-opened churches in refugee camps were all supplied by Ladomirovo's books. Evacuating the brotherhood of St Job of Pochaev from Ladomirovo in the Carpathians was a great task too; they first stopped in Germany, and after the war, they went to Switzerland. Here in early 1946, Fr Seraphim, on the basis of the ukase of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, was consecrated bishop by His Eminence Metropolitan Anastassy and Archbishop Ieronim.

That year, the monks, led by Bishop Seraphim, went to the USA, to Holy Trinity Monastery. By the unanimous decision of the unified brotherhood and by confirmation of Archbishop Vitaly, Bishop Seraphim was elected the abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery. He resumed the publication of Pravoslavnaya Rus and headed the monastery's print shop. Soon, Hieromonk Konstantin (Zaitsev, +1975) arrived as well and became the editor of Pravoslavnaya Rus, proving himself in this obedience as an "uncompromising zealot of ecclesiastical truth" (Pravoslavnaya Rus, No. 22, 1954).

In 1948, Archbishop Vitaly headed the monastery and Bishop Seraphim began preparing the headquarters for the Synod of Bishops in the US. Vladyka Seraphim persuaded Prince Belosselsky to grant the Russian Church Abroad a country estate in Mahopac and moved there, founding the Kursk-Root Hermitage, gathering a small monastic brotherhood there. By the time Metropolitan Anastassy arrived in the US, he already had a base to work from.

That same year, in 1948, they consecrated the underground church of St Job of Pochaev, located under the cathedral, which was then still under construction. The public celebrated of the great consecration of the cathedral, performed on November 13/26, 1950, which was led by His Eminence Metropolitan Anastassy along with a host of bishops and clergymen with a huge gathering of worshipers from all over North America. During the minor entrance, the founder of the monastery, Hegumen Panteleimon, was elevated to rank of archimandrite.

"Still," said Archbishop Vitaly, "that was not the last of God's mercies towards us. Having already seen the approach of the sunset of our lives here, we thought: what will happen to what we have built, this project we had devoted our lives to? Where will our successors come from in the harvest-fields of Christ?... And here a truly unbelievable thing happened: by Divine Providence, through the intercession of kind people, we now have operating the Holy Trinity Seminary for the preparation of candidates for monastic and parish clergymen... Upon us still lies the obligation to devote all our remaining powers to prepare the workers for the harvest of the Orthodox Church" (Pravoslavnaya Rus, No 22, 1948). The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia blessed the establishment of Holy Trinity Seminary, recognized by the State of New York as a higher educational institution. The Seminary Rector was Archbishop Vitaly himself, the Dean was NN Alexandrov. In 1952, His Eminence Archbishop Vitaly handed over his Rectorshop to Archimandrite Averky (Taushev, +1976), who had received the highest level of theological training in Bulgaria and adhering to a strictly Orthodox theological path.


His Eminence Archbishop Averky was born Alexander Pavlovich Taushev on October 19, 1906, in the city of Kazan to a noble family of Simbirsk guberniya, Pavel Sergeevich Taushev and his wife Maria Vladimirovna. "The nature of my father's work," recalled Vladyka about his childhood, "forced us to constantly travel throughout Russia, and I thank God that although I was forced to leave my dearly beloved Homeland at an early age (in 1920), I was still able to see it and impressed it deeply into my young heart… My recollections of these travels in Russia seem to be like a dream now, but these memories will not leave me until my dying days… Unforgettable for me was the visit to holy Kremlin 'in the heart of Russia—the throne city of Moscow, with its holy sites, beginning with Uspensky Cathedral, where our Tsars were crowned and where the First-Hierarchs of the Russian Church were enthroned; Holy Trinity-St Sergius Lavra with the great relics of 'the griever of the Russian Land,' St Sergius; Kievo-Pechersky Lavra; St Alexander Nevsky Lavra; Petropavlovsky Cathedral; St Isaac's and Kazan Cathedrals and the church 'Savior-on-the-Blood,' in St Petersburg. I cannot believe that these are only 'museum' treasures now, that the former well-springs of the people's faith will not once again be reestablished there!"

The favorite pastime of the young Alexander was reading spiritually-beneficial books kept in an enormous bookshelf in his father's den. From his early days he already had the subconscious desire to lead a monastic life, rejecting the temporal life, in which he saw nothing he wanted. In 1914, the First World War exploded, giving birth to a great burst of patriotism. The late Vladyka of blessed memory never forgot his impressions of the arrival in Lvov of Tsar-Martyr Nikolai Alexandrovich and the Tsarevich. "This was the only time in my life when I saw our Pious Emperor and His son, and actually, at a fairly close distance. What overall joy did the visit of the Tsar and his Son cause! What an unabating 'hurrah' thundered in the square where the soldiers stood at attention!"

After many tribulations in Russia during the Revolution, the Taushev family fled Russia in 1920 and ended up in the large Bulgarian port city of Varna. A year before he graduated the Russian high school built here, Alexander met Archbishop Feofan of Poltava and Pereyaslavl, who came to Varna, which, remembers Vladyka Averky, led "finally to my decision for my future: firmly, without the slightest doubt or hesitation, I chose the monastic path." Finishing school with a gold medal, Alexander enrolled in the Department of Theology of the Sovereign University of Sofia. Successfully completing the courses, he received a Bachelors Degree with the highest honors.

"What was I to do then? I could have taken some position in the Bulgarian Church, but I wished to become a monk and in particular to serve our Russian Church, to labor in her spiritual fields for our own Russian people. I regularly received issues of Pravoslavnaya Karpatskaya Rus [Orthodox Carpathian Russia], which gave me the urge to go to Sub-Carpathian Russia—at the time it was Czecho-Slovakia—where there was a mass movement to return to Orthodoxy among the Russian people enslaved and persecuted there at over hundreds of years, separated from Mother Russia and forced by their enemies into the Unia with Papal Rome. Vladyka Archbishop Feofan approved and blessed my intentions and gave me a sum of money for travel, since neither I nor my family had money to buy a train ticket. I received a document in response to my letter, signed by Ruling Bishop Iosif from Carpathian Russia, that I was accepted into the service of the Orthodox Diocese of Mukachevsko-Prjashev as assistant secretary of the Diocesan Administration in the city of Hust."

On May 19, 1931, Bishop Iosif of Bitol tonsured Alexander to the monkhood at St Nicholas Monastery in the town of Iza with the name Averky, in honor of St Averky of Jerapol, Equal-to-the-Apostles, and the following day, he was ordained a hierodeacon. In 1932, on the feast of the Transfiguration in Devichy Monastery in Dombok, near Cherlenev, in the Mukavich district, Bishop Damascene of Mukachev-Prjash ordained him hieromonk. In June of that year, Fr Averky was transferred to St Nicholas Monastery to minister to the parishes of Nankov and Boronjav, and in September, he was appointed Assistant Rector of a parish in Uzhgorod. Soon the rector of this parish departed for a better world, and Hieromonk Averky became Deputy Rector. By ukase of Bishop Damascene of August 7, 1935, Fr Averky was appointed Chief Editor of Pravoslavny Karpatorusskij Vestnik [Orthodox Carpatho-Russian Bulletin] and a year later, teacher of the Law of God in the Sovereign Real Gymanasium in the Russian and Czech Sovereign Civil and People's Schools of Uzhgorod. On Pascha of 1937, he was elevated to the rank of hegumen. In December 1938, he was appointed rector of a parish in Mukachev, the Administrator of a part of the Mukachevsko-Prjashev Diocese in Hungary and Head of the Bishop's Residence and Diocesan properties in Mukachev. In 1939, he was appointed Chief Editor of the Diocesan Administration.

In 1940, Fr Averky was forced to leave Carpathian Russia and move to Belgrade, where he taught Pastoral Theology and Homiletics at the Missionary-Pastoral Department, reading a series of lectures on spiritual life at the Russian House, organizing religious education meetings with such topics as "Day of Russian Glory" in honor of St Vladimir, Equal-to-the-Apostles, anniversary gatherings for the 1600th year of the repose of St Nicholas, the 50th anniversary of the death of St Feofan the Recluse, etc. Here the future bishop participated in the services of Metropolitan Anastassy of blessed memory, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and was the guardian of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, Protectress of the Russian Diaspora, which performed numerous miracles and consoled Russian refugees in the difficult years of the Second World War.

In 1945, Fr Averky arrived in Munich together with the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Here he continued his missionary educational work, for six years teaching the seniors in two high schools: Merciful Samaritan in Munich and School of the Stateless in one of the refugee camps, and also taught in nursing classes at the Samaritan school. Fr Averky also conducted a lecture series at the Synodal House in Munich on the study of patristic writings and often spoke on theological, ecclesio-historical and theological-moral topics.

In 1951, in connection with his appointment as President of the Missionary Education Committee of the Synod of Bishops, Fr Averky went to the USA and was assigned by Archbishop Vitaly to teaching at Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville. "Then, during our first years in America," remembered Vladyka, "overall enthusiasm ran high: church life was our key then, new parishes were springing up, churches were being built, religious and church charity organizations were being formed, for example, the St Vladimir Youth Circles, the Fund of Fr John of Kronstadt (before his canonization); often, here and there, we had conferences and church celebrations, attended by great multitudes, and one sensed a religious renewal in the masses of believers, finding a calm, peaceful and more or less secure existence here, and churches were very zealously attended."

Fr Averky, as an archimandrite and then a bishop, expended a great deal of energy as the spiritual leader of the St Vladimir Youth movement, created with the aim of "helping our Russian youth develop a correct Orthodox and Russian-nationalist worldview, so that it would become the guiding principle in their lives."

On the day of the Holy Spirit in 1953, he was consecrated bishop at Holy Trinity Monastery Cathedral. On May 12, 1960, after the fortieth day of the repose of their Abbot, Archbishop Vitaly, at a general monastery assembly, held with the blessing of Metropolitan Anastassy, Bishop Averky was elected and confirmed as the Abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery. This heavy burden was borne by Vladyka until his very death in April 1976.

In 1974, Vladyka Averky and the monastic brethren hosted the III All-Diaspora Council at their monastery.

Over the 24 years of Vladyka Averky's service as the Rector of Holy Trinity Seminary, some one hundred clergymen were produced for the Russian Church Abroad, who replaced the older pastors who had gone to the better world. In addition to his primary duties as Abbot of the Monastery, Vladyka Averky led the curriculum in the Seminary and actively participated in the publication of Pravoslavnaya Rus, publishing his archpastoral sermons and articles in each issue. Holy Trinity Monastery published the following written works of the late Vladyka [in Russian]:

1) Guidance in the Study of Holy Scripture of the New Testament (in two volumes);
2) Guidance on Homiletics;
3) True Orthodoxy and the Modern World (a compendium of articles and sermons);
4) Archbishop Feofan of Poltava and Pereyaslavl';
5) Modernity in the Lige of the Word of God. Sermons and Lectures (in four volumes);

As well as many brochures on theological, ecclesio-historical and religious-moral topics.