PRIEST SERAFIM GAN
(Towards the 80th anniversary of the Cathedral of the Mother of God of Kazan Monastery in Harbin)
From the Editors: Before embarking upon the biography of Archbishop Yuvenaly (Kilin) of Tsitsikar, the founder and Superior of the Mother of God of Kazan Monastery in Harbin, China, it is worth saying a few words about the Harbin Diocese, in which this wondrous monastery was found.
Protopriest Aristarkh Ponomarev writes: "After the revolution, a stream of refugees swamped Northern Manchuria. Harbin changed completely. The Russian population grew by several times. Together with the refugees and military, many clergymen arrived. Most of them had retreated with the White Army from the Volga and Kamensk regions, from the Urals and Siberia, having been military chaplains, with a minority of them leaving their native lands with the exiles. In February 1920, Archbishop Mefodii (Gerasimov) of Orenburg and Turgai arrived, and in August of that year Bishop Meletii (Zaborovsky) of Chitin and Zabaikal came. Among the refugees there were more than a few eminent activists of church society. For the Vladivostok Diocesan Authorities, in whose jurisdiction was the strip of territory delineated by the Chinese Railroad (KVzhd), it was difficult enough to devote attention to church matters in Manchuria. The course of events on the Pacific could not inspire hope that this last stronghold of the White Movement would hold: its political situation was extremely uncertain and alarming. The entire oblast was simmering with Red partisans, finally turning into a military theater. Contact with Vladivostok was often broken. Yet in Harbin, all the conditions for normal church life were in place. It was only natural, then, that by the beginning of 1922, the leading ecclesiastical and social circles of Harbin gave birth to the idea of forming a diocese of Harbin towards the purposes of normalizing church life in Manchuria. This notion was approved and adopted by the Supervisor of the KVzhd, an engineer by the name of Ostroumov, who promised material support from the Railroad. Together with him, a group of Orthodox Christians sought and gained the establishment of a Harbin Diocese by the Ecclesiastical Authorities abroad with an episcopal see in Harbin, and the assignment of Archbishop Mefodii of Orenburg and Turgai.
Archbishop Mefodii was well known to the refugees from the Diocese of Zabaikal, Tomsk and Orenburg, whom he then continued to lead; they formed a significant portion of the mass of exiles in Harbin, and they had an earnest, filial love for him. Invited by the Parish Council of St. Nicholas Cathedral for Sunday and holiday services, Archbishop Mefodii soon became renowned both to the old residents of Harbin and to its entire church-going populace, which came to love this flaming patriot, this fatherly archpastor, incessant beseecher of the Lord and experienced administrator with all their hearts. For this reason, when the idea of creating a Harbin diocese appeared, the name of Archbishop Mefodii was on everyone’s lips as the desired head of the new diocese.
The Supreme Ecclesiastical Administration abroad, hearing the intercession of the Supervisor of the KVzhd and his aide, decreed: "1) In light of the special, extraordinary situation in which the alienated KVzhd region is found in an administrative and political sense, in light of the complete cessation of contact with His Holiness Patriarch of All Russia and the supreme ecclesiastical organs, and the disrupted contact with the cathedral city of Vladivostok, where Bishop Michael of Vladivostok resides, in whose jurisdiction the KVzhd region exists, to temporarily establish, in the alienated strip of he KVzhd region, an independent see with its cathedra in the city of Harbin. 2) To appoint His Eminence Mefodii, Archbishop of Orenburg, to this cathedra with the title of Archbishop of Harbin and (blank), directing him to organize a temporary Diocesan Administration." This decree was made known to Archbishop Mefodii and Bishop Michael of Vladivostok by the Supreme Ecclesiastical Administration by an ukase dated March 16/29, 1922.
On June 30, 1922, Archbishop Mefodii reported to the SEA abroad that 1) he assumed control of the newly-opened diocese on June 2, 2) he organized a temporary diocesan council and 3) as soon as the mechanism of the diocesan administration would be finalized, he would convene a diocesan congress for the election of the members of the diocesan council, to form other diocesan institutions and to decide various matters of diocesan life. At the same time, referring to the undetermined second part of the title of the bishop of the Harbin Diocese, and reporting on the decision of Diocesan Council to name the bishop of the Harbin Diocese in accordance with the general opinion of local church society the "Bishop of Harbin and Manchuria," Archbishop Mefodii sought the SEA’s blessing. By its ukase of September 1, 1922, the SEA confirmed this title. The Supervisor of the KVzhd issued Order No. 148 on June 30, 1922 as follows: "His Eminence Archbishop Mefodii reported to me that with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon he is appointed Archbishop of Harbin and Manchuria. I announce this while in transit for your information."
According to available documentation, the establishment of the Harbin Diocese was an act of the Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority abroad, but there is reliable information indicating that His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon granted his permission and blessing for it. According to this information, Archbishop Mefodii sent him a report on the need to establish a diocese for Harbin, taking advantage of the trip from Harbin to Moscow of a fully trustworthy and devoted Russian Orthodox person. In the aims of secrecy--in light of the searches conducted of passengers from Harbin upon entry onto the territory of the USSR--the report was written by hand in the tiniest of handwriting by one of the Harbin choir directors masterful in such writing, and inscribed on a tiny piece of paper which was then sewn into the shoe sole of a courier. Archbishop Mefodii received a telegram from His Holiness consisting of nothing but "I bless." This telegram does not exist in the archives of the Diocesan Council, but this is explained by knowledgeable persons by the fact that Archbishop Mefodii held it in strict secrecy. This might explain why the above directive does not include a reference to the ukase by the SEA Abroad on the appointment of Archbishop Mefodii to the Harbin cathedra, but the blessing for this by His Holiness the Patriarch is mentioned.
A member of the first composition of the Harbin Diocesan Council, Prof. Miroliubov, sent three telegrams to His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon on the ostensibly incorrect actions of the Synod of Bishops Abroad. These telegrams received the following responses from His Holiness: "To the Member of the Diocesan Council Miroliubov, Harbin. Follow the decrees of the Council of 1918. Patriarch Tikhon;" the second: "Harbin. To the Member of the Diocesan Council Miroliubov. I confirm the signature of the telegram, Patriarch Tikhon."
Archbishop Mefodii comes to the conclusion, "In answering N.I. Miroliubov as a member of the Diocesan Council, His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon confirmed his recognition of the Harbin Diocesan Council as a lawful ecclesiastical administrative organ, and, consequently, confirmed his recognition of the canonical existence of the Harbin Diocese." Upon concluding the Diocesan congress, the following telegram was sent to His Holiness from the Ruling Bishop and the Diocesan Congress: "Moscow, Donskoy Monastery. To His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon. The delegates of the Diocesan Congress of the Harbin Diocese, gathering to fulfill the ukase of the Synod of Bishops for the reelection of members of the Diocesan Council, guided by the decrees of the Council of 1918 and confirmed by Your Holiness by the decision of the Synod of Bishops of the Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority of 7/20 November 1920, peacefully conducted the elections. In providing this report, the elected members once again respectfully greet Your Holiness and, in testimony to their loyalty, ask Your holy prayers and blessings. (Your Holiness’) lowest servant, Archbishop Mefodii" (citation taken from Protopriest Aristarkh Ponomarev’s "Christianity in the Far East").
In the 1920’s, Archbishop Sergii (Tikhomirov) of Japan, elevated to the rank of metropolitan in 1931, called Harbin "church-loving," because the period of the archpastoral service of His Eminence Mefodii was remarkable in the great church-building effort: 22 churches, including those at educational institutions, and by the end of his life there were 46 churches and two monasteries in the diocese. During his rule over the Harbin Diocese, a charitable arm was established at the Diocesan Council, a Benevolent Fund for needy clergymen, the Orphanage "House of Asylum" with a free pharmacy and clinic housing over 140 residents; parishes formed theological-missionary courses and spiritually-benevolent discussions, attention was paid to the propriety and uniformity of church services, five diocesan congresses were convened which included clergy and laity, many were drawn into service to the church, many edifying epistles and ecclesio-theological works: "On Church Troubles," "On the Convening of a So-called Ecumenical Council," "On the Living Church," "On the Meaning of the Self-renovatin of Holy Icons," "The Mystery of the Resurrection of Christ," "A Denunciation of the Gathering of the Impious Calling Themselves the ‘Living Church’" and many others. In October 1929, Archbishop Mefodii, on the 35th anniversary of his episcopacy, was elevated to the rank of metropolitan by decree of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad. Vladyka died on March 15/28, 1931, on the day of the Glorification of the Mother of God.
That same year, the Synod Abroad appointed His Eminence Meletii (Zaborovsky) as Archbishop of Harbin and Manchuria, who officiated at the consecration of Archbishop Yuvenaly at the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God Monastery. Here we will embark upon the biography of Archbishop Yuvenaly:
His Eminence Archbishop Yuvenaly, born Ivan Kelsievich Kilin in April 1875 of religious parents from peasant stock in the Vyatsk guberniya. From early childhood he was drawn to the Church and monastic life. This youthful love for the Divine was given to him by his pious mother, who often told him of her pilgrimages among the holy places of Russia, as Vladyka recalled in the speech he gave during his consecration into the episcopacy: "My home religious rearing and education was given to me by my pious mother, who in her childhood had, with her grandmother, worshiped at holy monasteries—Solovki, in Sarov, Tikhvin and other places in Russia. When asked by my grandmother to give his blessing to enter a convent, a pious elderly hieromonk of the Tikhvin men’s monastery in Novgorodskaya guberniya did not give her blessing, but said prophetically that this peasant girl Maria would marry and her offspring would be clergymen. And so, by the mercy of God, it was. My elder sister, my godmother, two sons finished Perm Theological Seminary and one of them, Konstantin Yumin, died as a clergyman in exile in a Bolshevik prison. My second sister, Nun Aglaida, filled with humble monastic sensibilities, passed away in a convent. My youngest brother is a priest, separated from his family, enduring the heavy cross of priestly service. My cousin also bears the heavy burden of the life of a schema nun. I remember my distant relative—first a humble priest in my native land of the Sarapulsk uezd, Vyatsk guberniya, Fr. Michael Platonovich Krasnoperov, later, in monkhood Mefodii, upon finishing the Kazan Theological Academy, after service to a bishop, was called to the episcopacy himself in the city of Petropavlovsk, Omsk Diocese, where he met his martyrdom in 1922."
Successfully finishing the local school in Arzamastsev, Ivan entered the Sarapulsk Uezd School, graduating in 1889. Here he met his first elder-mentor, Bishop Afanasii of Sarapulsk (later Archbishop of Ekaterinburg), who had a benevolent influence on the boy: "The blessed Vladyka, during the final exams on the Law of God of the uezd school, pointed me out of all others with a greeting and blessing, giving me the best mark in the examination for my reading by heart of the 50th Psalm, giving an explanation of its historical genesis. This encouragement by His Grace was the greatest joy in my youth, and for the rest of my life I thankfully pray for the blessed Vladyka Afanasii."
In 1894, after the early death of his father, who had been a member of he Sarapulsk Zemsky Administration for many years and a local clerk, young Ivan, with his mother’s blessing, undertook a pilgrimage to the holy monastery in Verkhotursk, where at the relics of St. Simeon he was overcome by a firm desire to become a monk. This good intention was eagerly and joyfully approved by his mother, who blessed him with a copy of the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God which she had received from the prophetic spiritual father of Tikhvin Monastery, to enter St. Nicholas Missionary Monastery in Belogorsk, called the "Siberian Mt. Athos" by the people. Freed from military service, he was included among the monastic brotherhood.
Here the novice Ioann, a cell-attendant and aide to the Superior, Archimandrite Varlaam, whom he loved and respected greatly, obeyed him in everything and made a significant contribution to the building of houses and churches for the monastery and the completion of the construction of the monastery cathedral on Belaya mountain. On July 2, 1900, he was tonsured into monkhood with the name Yuvenaly, and in three weeks was ordained a hierodeacon by Bishop Peter of Perm, and on February 12, 1902, the successor of Bishop Peter, His Grace Ioann, elevated him to the rank of hieromonk. During these years, Hieromonk Yuvenaly, accompanying Fr. Valaam, was able to visit many holy sites: the Holy Land, the Holy Mount Athos (1907), Kievo-Pecherskaya and Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavras, New Athos and Valaam monasteries, Optina and Sarov monasteries (1903), and many others: "I was encouraged and inspired by those wondrous examples of strict monastic life that I saw during my travels among the Russian monasteries and hermitages, especially during the memorable years of traveling with my abba, Varlaam, to the Holy Land and Mt. Athos. During my first summer of my service as a clergyman, I was spiritually strengthened by being at the Sarov celebrations during the opening of the righteous remains of St. Seraphim. Then I gained a great deal of spiritual pleasure from the services in Kronstadt and other places, having been able to serve several times with the venerable beseecher-of-God of the Russian land, Protopriest Ioann Sergiev of Kronstadt, from whom I also received guidance and advice on monastic and pastoral service. Deeply heartwarming were the personal conversations and written instructions of the podvizhnik elders of the Athos and Russian monasteries, for example, Elder Gavriil and others—which humbled and strengthened my weak spirit and prevented me from sinking into an abyss of sin in the stormy seas of life." It is interesting to note that Fr. Yuvenaly participated in the cleansing of the relics of St Seraphim at their opening in 1903.
That same year, Fr. Yuvenaly, with the blessing of Bishop Ioann of Perm, was appointed by Archimandrite Varlaam to head, and to build, the podvorie [branch] of the monastery in the city of Perm, where among a wide variety of large structures he built the Church of St. John Chrysostom. In 1910 he was transferred to the Episcopal House in Perm and appointed its ekonom [manager]. As manager, at the end of 1911, Hieromonk Yuvenaly, greatly enjoying the stories of the eminent missionary of Kamchatka, his co-server in Harbin, Hieromonk Nestor (Anisimov), he "burned with the holy inspiration and desire to go to distant, frigid Kamchatka," but instead, through the intercession of Bishop Palladii of Perm and the decree of the Holy Ruling Synod, he was elected in February 1912 as the first hegumen and builder of the Tabor Transfiguration of the Savior Hermitage. Here Fr. Yuvenaly audited missionary courses under A.G. Kuleshov and became known for his zealous church-building; in 1912, Transfiguration of the Savior Cathedral was completed, and in 1915, the house church of the Mother of God of Kazan and the summer Elevation of the Cross Church. On July 19, 1912, on the feast day of St Seraphim of Sarov, Bishop Palladii elevated him to the rank of hegumen in the Annunciation Church of the Synodal podvorie. In 1915, he was appointed as dean of all monasteries of the Perm Diocese by New Martyr Archbishop Andronik of Perm, and in June of the following year, he was made an archimandrite.
In connection with the martyrdom of Saint Andronik of Perm, Archimandrite Varlaam and other clergymen in 1918, Fr Yuvenaly together with a few monastics from Belogorsk hid from the Bolshevik persecutions (over 400 monastics were shot in the Belogorsk Monastery). In accordance with the words of Christ: "But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another" (Matth. 10:23), Archimandrite Yuvenaly moved to Chita in 1919, and in 1920 found himself in Harbin. Upon arriving in that city, he was appointed the rector of Dormition Church and head of the new Russian cemetery. In 1922, with the blessing of Archbishop Mefodii of Harbin and Manchuria, he founded a men’s monastery on Krestovsky Island, in the outskirts of Harbin, but that very year he was sent to Serbia, where he became the superior of one of the men’s monasteries of the Serbian Orthodox Church. During his absence, the monastery’s superior was Hieromonk Nifont.
Returning to Harbin in 1924, the archimandrite was once again appointed to build the new Kazan Mother of God monastery, moved now to New Modyagow, where he built a splendid, three-altared church in honor of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, with the altar on the right devoted to Great Martyr Panteleimon and Archangel Michael on the left; a printshop, cells for a multitude of monastic brethren and a hospital named after the late Harbin doctor V.A. Kazem-Bek.
On August 4/17, 1924, Archbishop Mefodii blessed of the foundation of the Kazan Cathedral of the monastery, and in December of that year the finished church was consecrated, in which icons of the Mother of God particularly venerated by the monks were found: the great Kazan icon of the church, and two miraculously renewed icons, the Vladimir Mother of God and the "Burning Bush." In the St Panteleimon section of the church an icon of the Great Martyr that was particularly adored was kept, which was sent from Mt. Athos by the elder Schema-monk Denasii (Yushkov).
The monastery printshop issued a spiritual-moral periodical, Khleb Nebesniy ["Bread of Heaven"] the editor of which for 10 years was Archimandrite Yuvenaly, a position later assumed by Archimandrite Vasily (Pavlovsky) and the famous church writer, historian and singer of Harbin, E.N. Sumarokov. Among the multitude of publications put out by the monastery were: Detskoye Chtenie ["Childrens' Readings"], a compendium titled Rozhdestvenskii Blagovest ["Christmas Tidings"], Polniy molitvoslov s kanonami I pravilom ko Sv. Prichashcheniyu ["Complete Prayer-book with Canons and Rules for Holy Communion"], the compendium Nadezhda ["Hope"] with an explanation of the Lord’s prayer and the 9 beatitudes, Pesnopeniya Strastnoi I Paskhal’noi Sedmitsy i dvunadesyatykh prazdnikov s perevodom ikh na Russkii yazyk ["Singing from Passian and Holy Weeks and the Twelve Holidays with Translations into the Russian Language"] Zhitiya Svyatykh ["Lives of the Saints"], Khristianskaya zhizn’ po Dobrotoliubiyu ["Christian Life According to the Philokalia"], Serdtse chelovecheskoye. Opyt izobrazheniya dukhovno-nravstvennogo sostoyaniya lyudei grezhnykh i pravednykh ["The Human Heart. An Attempt at Characterizing the Spiritual-Moral Condition of Sinners and Righteous People"], Kratkiy slovar’ inostrannykh slov N.P. Pokrovskogo ["A Brief Glossary of Foreign Words by N.P. Pokrovsky"], Tserkovniy entsyklopedicheskiy slovar’ archimandrita Feodosiya ["An Ecclesiastical Encyclopedic Dictionary by Archimandrite Theodosius"], Put’ pravoslavnogo khristyanina v Tsarstvo Nebesnoye ["The Path of the Orthodox Christian to the Kingdom of Heaven"], Kratkiy ocherk vozniknoveniya, ustroyeniya i zhizni obiteli ["A Brief Outline of the Foundation, Establishment and Life of the Monastery"] and many others. Besides their own printshop, the monastery had other workshops: for icon-painting, furniture-making, bookbinding, shoemaking, and tailoring.
The hospital, which provided medical treatment free of charge, was established at the monastery in memory of Dr. V.A. Kazem-Bek, who never charged a fee. At the beginning of 1932, it was furnished with 17 cots. Every year, on the eve of August 4, the day Dr. Kazem-Bek reposed, the monastery Cathedral held a parastas with an enormous number of clergymen and laypersons gathering, and on the day itself, a funerary liturgy and pannikhida over the doctor’s grave, who had died at an early age from diphtheria he had contracted from a girl. The anniversary of the hospital’s opening, November 1, was marked every year by a solemn service by the Ruling Bishop of the Harbin Diocese along with a host of bishops and city clergy. Metropolitan Meletii of Harbin and Manchuria usually gave an edifying sermon and visited all the sick, blessing and greeting them.
The Kazan monastery was renowned with its Spirit-bearing podvizhniki [laborers-in-God], among whom the more famous ones were Schema-Hegumens Ignatii and Seraphim and Schema-monk Mikhail, having received the gifts of prayer and sagacity.
At the end of 1929, by the intercession of Blessed Metropolitan Anthony, Archimandrite Yuvenaly was awarded the rights of a Superior of a first-class monastery by the Synod Abroad (whereby one is greeted with the staff and cross on a plate). In 1934, in Sremskije Karlovtsy, by the intercession of the Head of the Peking Mission, Bishop Viktor, Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia decreed to consecrate Archimandrite Yuvenaly as Bishop of Xinjiang (in Eastern Turkestan), the second vicar of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, with a residence in the city of Urumchi, where Russian refugees kept the Tabyn icon of the Mother of God and built several churches. In connection with this, the Russian residents of Urumchi suffered much from the Bolsheviks, and so the council appointed an archpastor for them to support them and to solidify their diocesan and church life.
received this decision by the Council, Archimandrite Yuvenaly, preparing
for his consecration, performed divine liturgy every day in the
monastery Cathedral, where, at the request of the monastics, the
election was held on February 1935. The celebrations were headed
by Archbishop Meletii of Harbin and Manchuria along with Archbishop
Nestor of Kamchatka and Petropavlovsk, Bishop Dimitry of Hailar
and Bishop John (Maximovich) of Shanghai, the first vicar of the
Peking Mission. On February 10, the bishops participating in the
election performed the consecration itself of Fr. Yuvenaly in St
Nicholas Cathedral in Harbin. At the end of liturgy there was luncheon,
during which Vladyka Meletii said: "Filial duty requires us to wish
good health to our spiritual Helmsmen: the imprisoned Metropolitan
Peter of Krutitsa and Metropolitan Anthony of Kiev."
At the conclusion of his address, Vladyka Yuvenaly said: "My mind’s eyes are now turned with acknowledgment to the First Bishops of our Russian Orthodox Church, that is: to the Locum Tenens of the Patriarachal Throne of All Russia, His Eminence Metropolitan Peter, our great father, the President of the Synod Abroad, His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony with his entire Sacred Council of Bishops, who had the kindness to call my unworthiness to the responsible rank of bishop.
"Along with them, my heartfelt gratitude for the election, fatherly love and trust to my unworthiness pours out to my ruling archpastor, the Head of the Chinese Mission, His Grace Bishop Victor, the most worthy successor of the blessed bishops Metropolitan Innokentii and Archbishop Simon [Bishop Victor of Peking, on the day of the consecration, gave Archimandrite Yuvenaly as a memento of the Heads of the Mission, prayer beads and the staff of the first one and the panagia [chest-icon] of the last one—Priest S.G.].
"And you, Your Grace Vladyka John, as a holy obedience, moved by love for Christ, deemed necessary to travel from faraway Shanghai to share with us this spiritual joy."
Unfortunately, for the newly-consecrated Yuvenaly, the situation did not develop well, for due to significant problems in traveling, he was not able to go to the flock assigned to him in Xinjiang. Over the course of a year, Vladyka continued to be the superior of the monastery, and in 1936, he replaced the Head of the Mission, His Grace Bishop Viktor, who was in Belgrade. From 1937-1938, Vladyka stood in for the Mission’s vicar, Bishop John the Miracle-worker, who was participating in the work of the Council of Bishops in Sremskije Karlovtsy. After his return, Vladyka Yuvenaly was appointed superior of St. Nicholas Memorial Church in Shanghai, where he helped Bishop John in the work of the Mission, and then, in 1940, by the intercession of the Vladyka himself and by decree of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, he was once again appointed superior of the Kazan Mother of God Monastery, with the subjection to him also of the monastic community in Trekhrechiye and the granting to him of the title "Bishop of Tsitsikarsk, Second Vicor of the Diocese of Harbin and Manchuria." Here Vladyka continued to lead a strictly-ascetic life, attracting many worshipers by his astute teachings and love for the proper rule of services. "Vladyka Yuvenaly," recounts L.V. Shabardina, "was for me like my own father. My childhood was spent near the monastery. I knew all the monks and residents of the monastery. My father had died when I was four and a half. Vladyka visited us often, and would say to me: ‘I am your papa,’ or ‘I am your godfather.’ When he returned from Shanghai in 1940, he taught me to read the psalms. Vladyka was like a relative in our home, since we lived across the street from the monastery, and Mama was from Perm. He often recalled Perm and its elders. Vladyka loved our church services. During vigil at the monastery, he would emerge to the middle of the church during the 9th song and he would say ‘Everyone sing!’ The whole church then sang, and this seemed to refresh the worshipers. When Vladyka served, he immersed himself entirely in the service and fervently prayed, drawing others into a prayerful mood with his pious service. For this reason, we who prayed didn’t tire. During Great Lent, Vladyka always performed the unction, and conducted a general confession. The church was always filled with worshipers, and the Eucharist was administered from three chalicesÉ"
Bishops Yuvenaly and
Dimitry (Voznesensky), the
father of Metropolitan Philaret,
with the clergy and worshipers of
the Mother of God of
Kazan Monastery in Harbin.
In 1947, Vladyka Yuvenaly was forced to go to the USSR, where he was appointed Bishop of Chelyabinsk. Arriving in Moscow, he heard of the death of Archbishop Dimitry (Voznesensky), the father of the future Metropolitan Philaret, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and immediately left for Leningrad to attend his funeral and burial. In 1948, Vladyka Yuvenaly was elevated to the rank of archbishop and appointed to Irkutsk, and a year later, to the Omsk cathedra, where he was the first bishop of that diocese after its reestablishment. As Archbishop of Omsk, Vladyka performed the transfer of the holy relics of Metropolitan Ioann of Tobolsk to its new crypt. The clergy of the Omsk Diocese still remembers Vladyka as a Spirit-bearing elder. In 1952, Vladyka was transferred to the Izhevsk and Udmurtsk cathedra. In 1944 he was awarded the right to wear a cross on his klobuk.
Recently, the author of this article received a transcript of Vladyka with the Soviet Commissioner on the ROC of the Omsk oblast of July 8, 1949, in which we read the following: "Yuvenaly often repeated that he is busy with the creation of a ‘scholarly’ work on the topic ‘History of Christian Sermons,’ towards his goal of a ‘scholarly’ degree of Candidate of TheologyÉ It was determined that Yuvenaly brought with him anti-Soviet church literature, but no instances of his disseminating it have been discovered. Within the small circle of church people, Yuvenaly speaks negatively about kolkhozy [collective farms]. He often turns off the radio, saying that on the radio, he can only listen to church services, which he did when he was abroad."
The final cathedra of Vladyka, as noted, was that of Izhevsk and Udmurtsk. As the former cell-attendant of Vladyka Yuvenaly, Protopriest Nikolai Soloviev, said, before his death, Vladyka asked to be allowed to retire due to failing strength. The Patriarch asked him to remain on the cathedra, even offered him a metropoliate, but Archbishop Yuvenaly said that he does not serve to gain rank and that monasticism is more important for him. Foreseeing his death, Vladyka asked Archimandrite Peter (Semyonovykh) from Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, whom he knew from Harbin, to tonsure him into the great schema, which he did, giving him the name of Ioann, in honor of St. John the Theologian. Vladyka showed the Soviet Commissioner on the ROC of the Izhevsk Diocese and others the place where he wished to be buried. This was inside the cathedral, on the left side, and he asked that after his burial that build an annex with an altar dedicated to Apostle John the Theologian. It must be said that the Commissioner, Arkadii Arkadievich, despite his duties, was a believer, and that icons hung in his house, with lampadki [oil lamps] burning in front of them, and he very much loved and supported Vladyka, who was the one who had converted him to the faith.
"In his life, Vladyka was humble," remembers Fr. Nikolai, "he loved to joke, but was strict. He tried to hide his sagacity; a light often burned in his cell late at night, and during holidays he gave his cell-attendants 25-50 rubles to distribute among the poor (in those times, that was a significant amount). Vladyka was friends with Priest Kuksha, and they had an agreement that if one of them dies, the other would pray for him."
from "Orthodox Churches
in Northern Manchuria"
Harbin, 1931, pg. 20
Fr. Nikolai himself recounted the following event which evidenced the sagacity of Vladyka. In his youth, Fr. Nikolai wished to join the seminary. Together with other lads he traveled to Moscow. Vladyka gave everyone money for a one-way ticket, but gave Nikolai enough to get there and back. Before this, he implored him to stay behind and bury him first, but Nikolai was stubborn. Finally, all the young men joined the seminary, but he failed his exams and returned to Izhevsk. While going to Vladyka’s house, the latter three times instructed the house manager, Anastasia Aleksandrovna, to go meet Nikolai, but she said that he would only return during winter recess. The third time, she finally went, and turning the corner, she saw him coming. So he was able to participate in the funeral of Vladyka.
At the end of 1958, Vladyka fell ill, and on December 12/25, the Sacrament of Unction was performed over him. Before his death, Vladyka lay in his schema robes, which he donned on December 14/27, 1958. The following day, accepting the Holy Eucharist, Vladyka turned to his friends and asked them to sing the prokimenon "Sing to our God, sing, sing to our King, sing." The third time this was sung, he said "Here is our new land, here is our new world," and died.
The late archpastor is widely respected among the old Harbinites of the Russian Church Abroad and the clergy and faithful in Russia. Many stream to his crypt in the Izhevsk Cathedral and appeal to him for prayerful intercession, sensing his grace-filled help. A few years ago, Archbishop Nikolai of Izhevsk and Udmurtsk (ROC/MP) performed the translation of his righteous relics, during which it was discovered that his body was uncorrupt. The Diocese of Izhevsk is preparing for the glorification of Vladyka Yuvenaly as a local saint.