Difference between revisions of "Saint Arseny (Chahovtsov)"

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[http://www.cjoc.ca/pdf/Vol%202%20F%201%20St.%20Arseny%20Akathist%200914.PDF "Canadian Journal of Orthodox Christianity" : Akathist to Saint Arseny]
 
[http://www.cjoc.ca/pdf/Vol%202%20F%201%20St.%20Arseny%20Akathist%200914.PDF "Canadian Journal of Orthodox Christianity" : Akathist to Saint Arseny]
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[http://archbishop-of-ottawa.org/messenger/Com2001-2.12-2.pdf ‘Our Canadian Chrysostom, Archbishop Arseny (1866-1945)’ in “Canadian Orthodox Messenger” (Spring, 2001)], pp. 10, 12.
  
 
[http://archbishop-of-ottawa.org/messenger/Com2003-4.14-4.pdf 'Orthodox theological institute, named after the Blessed Arseny, begins in Winnipeg' in "Canadian Orthodox Messenger" (Autumn, 2003)], p. 14.
 
[http://archbishop-of-ottawa.org/messenger/Com2003-4.14-4.pdf 'Orthodox theological institute, named after the Blessed Arseny, begins in Winnipeg' in "Canadian Orthodox Messenger" (Autumn, 2003)], p. 14.
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[http://archbishop-of-ottawa.org/messenger/Com2005-1.16-1.pdf 'First annual St Arseny commemoration held' in "Canadian Orthodox Messenger" (Winter, 2004/2005)], pp. 1-2.  
 
[http://archbishop-of-ottawa.org/messenger/Com2005-1.16-1.pdf 'First annual St Arseny commemoration held' in "Canadian Orthodox Messenger" (Winter, 2004/2005)], pp. 1-2.  
  
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[http://archbishop-of-ottawa.org/messenger/Com2005-3.16-3.pdf ‘Archbishop St Arseny: Canada’s “Chrysostom”’ in “Canadian Orthodox Messenger” (Summer, 2005)], pp. 6-13.
  
  

Revision as of 15:46, 22 November 2017

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Saint Arseny (Chahovtsov), Bishop of Winnipeg and Canada (1866-1945)


Andrew may be spelt André, Andrei, Andrey, &c.

Arseny may be spelt Arsenios or Arsenius.

Chahovtsov may be spelt Chagovtsov, Chagovtsev, Chavtsov, Chagovetz, &c.


Andrei Lvovich Chahovstov was born on 10 March, 1866, into the family of a village church reader in the Kharkiv Diocese, north-east from Kyiv, in what is now Ukraine. As a young boy, he tended his father’s sheep ; but his intelligence, and his love for school did not go unnoticed.

Education

When his father died, leaving him as the eldest of 5 children, he was sent to a school for clergy children for 11 years. From there, he was admitted to the Kharkov Theological Seminary from which he graduated with distinction in 1887. His years in the seminary and thereafter are only vaguely known. It is certain that he was married before his ordination.

Ordinations

In 1887, Andrei L Chahovtsov was ordained to the Holy Diaconate and then to the Holy Priesthood.

The Priest Andrei Chahovtsov was then assigned to be the priest in a village church in the Kharkiv region.

Father Andrei and his wife had a son, Dionysiy ; but soon, in about 1890, his wife died of an unknown cause. The time following his wife’s repose until his tonsure was a time of great anguish, as he related in his elevation speech as the Bishop of Winnipeg.

Monastic tonsure

Some time later, in about 1900 (after 13 years of service as a priest), Andrei L Chahovtsov was tonsured to be a monk, and he was given the name Arseny, in honour of Saint Arseny of Konevits. The raising of his son Dionysiy was completed by family members. Later, after his education, Dionysiy was ordained to the Holy Priesthood in the Kharkiv Diocese. In 1937, he suffered along with hundreds of others during the 2-year massacre of clergy. He then became known as the New Priest-martyr Dionysiy Chahovtsov of the Kharkiv region.

In 1900, the Hieromonk Arseny (Chahovtsov) was appointed to be the Igumen (Abbot) of Kuriazhkiy Monastery.

At the same time that Igumen Arseny was beginning this responsibility, Bishop Tikhon (Belavin) had assessed the North American territory to which he had been assigned, and he had begun the process of reorganising the diocese. In this year and at his request, the name was changed by the Holy Synod in Saint Petersburg to the "Diocese of the Aleutian Islands and North America". He then continued his work towards providing the resources which this missionary diocese would require in the future. He understood by this time that 2 of these resources would be a monastery and a seminary. He had foreseen the need for the diocese to be able to govern itself and to provide for itself. One of these steps was to invite the igumen of Kuriazhkiy to move to North America.

Transfer to the USA

In 1902, at the request of Bishop Tikhon (Belavin), the Igumen Arseny (Chahovtsov) was transferred to the North American missionary diocese, and he travelled to the USA. Bishop Tikhon understood that Igumen Arseny was a natural preacher. He perceived that he had fluency in many Russian and Ukrainian dialects. Therefore, he was clearly well-suited to the North American missionary environment. Over many years, he was active in serving amongst those who were returning to Orthodoxy from the Unia (Eastern Catholic churches), and he served many communities in the eastern USA after his arrival. These included West Troy in New York, and Mayfield and Simpson in Pennsylvania.

While he was serving these parishes, in consultation with and in obedience to Bishop Tikhon, Igumen Arseny began to collect funds. The collection was towards the establishment of a future men’s monastery in the USA. In addition to the collecting, Igumen Arseny wrote many articles on the subject in the official diocesan publication, “The American Orthodox Messenger” (“Vestnik”). The establishment of this monastery was the mutual, God-given desire of both bishop and igumen. They both understood that there were many unmarried, non-monastic clergy serving at that time, and that they needed a sort of spiritual home. Important also were the monastic clergy who were serving in various parishes, and who needed a true spiritual home to which they could sometimes resort, and a fraternity that would pray for them in their solitude.

Because of the need, and in obedience, Igumen Arseny was active amongst the people. He did comprehend the need, not only for active pastoral attention to the parishes, but also for attention to the needs of monks and clergy. Father Arseny further understood the need for a place in which immigrating clergy could become accustomed to their new environment and their new culture. Some perceive that there were many similarities between Igumen Arseny and Bishop Tikhon in their pastoral disposition.

Formation of a monastery and orphanage

On 15 May, 1905, at the 6th convention of the Russian Orthodox Catholic Mutual Aid Society, with the blessing of Bishop Tikhon, Igumen Arseny proposed the establishment of both an orphanage and monastery. The proposal was accepted, and Igumen Arseny was appointed to chair the commission which would investigate and prepare. They were instructed, however, to search the region around Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, because the Orthodox population there was now so great. By June, a property had been found, and Archbishop Tikhon (who had been made an archbishop the month previous) was taken by horse-and-carriage to examine the property. Archbishop Tikhon blessed the proposal and the site, and on 26 June, the Wagner farm of 82 acres was purchased for $2580 in the rural countryside near Carbondale and Mayfield, Pennsylvania, at South Canaan. The purchase included all the buildings, livestock and implements.

On the day of its dedication, 31 July, 1905, a crowd of more than 1,000 believers formed a pilgrimage-walk of the 16 km (10 mi) through the mountains from Mayfield to the site of the new monastery and orphanage. This walk began at 0530 hrs, and it took more than 3 hours to complete. For this first pilgrimage, Bishop Raphael (Hawaweeny), who was representing Archbishop Tikhon, travelled from New York to the monastery site via Mayfield.

Father Arseny wrote in the “Vestnik” that at the beginning of the first service of Great Vespers, as he stood before its Holy Table, he had been awestruck about the future potential of this particular monastery (albeit yet tiny), and he sensed what could well grow from this beginning. On the following day, Matins was begun at 0800 hrs (at the arrival of the first pilgrims from Mayfield), and the orphanage was blessed immediately afterwards. The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was served outdoors, on the site of the future monastery Temple. Bishop Raphael (Hawaweeny) presided, and he was assisted by the priests Alexander Hotovitsky, Elias Klopotovsky and Alexander Bogoslavsy. Thus, with the blessing of Archbishop Tikhon, the Igumen Arseny had founded the Saint Tikhon’s Monastery and Orphanage (even though the name came later).

At this time, when the new orphanage (which was previously the farm-house) was blessed, the land for the future monastic buildings and chapel were also blessed. After the blessing of the orphanage, the first director was Mother Maria. She was replaced in the autumn by Anna Hlebsevich. The financial operation of the orphanage was delegated to Mr. Nicolai Yablonsky, who served as the builder and the economic administrator of the complex.

At the dedication of the chapel at the partially finished monastery building, Bishop Raphael (Hawaweeny) spoke about Igumen Arseny’s hard work for the realisation of the monastery. When Father Arseny was named to be the superior of the monastery, the crowd answered loudly, “Axios” (he is worthy). The anniversary of this dedication has become the annual Memorial Day pilgrimage to the monastery (on the last week-end of May).

Despite his assignment to be the superior of the monastery, the practical circumstances of the time required that Father Arseny continue to live in Mayfield and to serve the parish as well. This made for some early difficulties, but they were not insurmountable. Two novices soon arrived (Constantine Chupik, Andrew Repella), who were housed in temporary quarters not far from the orphanage and new structures. However, at the beginning, there were not yet regular services available, apart from daily Matins and Vespers. Father Arseny did arrive at every possible opportunity (2 or 3 times weekly) in order to serve the Divine Liturgy for all those who lived and worked there, and to oversee the progress of the work.

At a clergy conference at Old Forge, on 2 August, a motion was passed that the new monastery be named for Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk. The main contractor of the project was Theodore Vachna.

On 5 December, 1905, Archbishop Tikhon arrived at the monastery. He blessed the corner-stone, Cross and cupola for the new Temple of Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk. Later that month, Archbishop Tikhon assigned the Hieromonk Tikhon (Rostovsky) to be the assistant to Father Arseny. With the arrival of Father Tikhon and several other novices, the regular weekly and Sunday cycle of services began which has continued ever since without interruption. Meanwhile, Igumen Arseny continued to serve also in the Mayfield parish. At this time, Father Arseny was the abbot, Father Tikhon was the manager, Father Ipaty was the "economos" (steward), and there were 4 novices : Constantine Chupik, Michael Havula, Andrew Prishtash, and Andrew Repella. The whole week was devoted to the construction of the monastery, and since the workers were able to continue throughout the winter, the work was brought to completion by 30 May, 1906.

Sanctification of the monastery and orphanage

On 30 May, 1906, the procession of pilgrims from Mayfield was reported to have been approximately 1 km long. Before the Divine Liturgy began, Archbishop Tikhon gave Father Arseny the staff of an igumen. This act changed his status from "titular igumen" to "igumen (abbot) of a monastery", or a "true igumen" (which he had been previously in Russia). In addition, the first 2 novices (Constantine Chupik, and Andrew Repella) were officially clothed as novices. The “Wayne Independent” reported that Nicholas N de Lodygensky, the Russian Imperial Consul General in New York (retired, 1908), was present for this occasion, and that the services continued throughout the whole day. It further reported that the monastery building was architecturally beautiful, and that it had 30 rooms. The Temple was large enough to accommodate 250 persons. It noted that more than 20 Russians had left the mines to live on land near the monastery. The article drew attention to the fact that there were already more than 20 orphans being cared for at the orphanage, and that there were plans to erect a home for the aged besides. Finally, the reader was informed that the choir had numbered some 300 people from Brooklyn, Mayfield and Wilkes-Barre.

The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was served by Archbishop Tikhon (Belavin) of New York, Bishop Raphael (Hawaweeny) of Brooklyn, and Bishop Innocent (Pustynsky) of Alaska. They were assisted by the Archpriest Alexander Hotovitsky, Igumen Arseny (Chahovtsov) of Mayfield, the Priest E Zotikov of New York, and the Hieromonk Tikhon (Rostovsky) of Pittsburgh. Amongst other things, Archbishop Tikhon said in his homily that a monastery “from ancient times has been an indispensable companion of the Orthodox Church”.

During the summer of 1906, Archbishop Tikhon remained at the monastery with the brethren. He lived with them, prayed with them, and worked with them. Only on Sundays would he travel to various parishes in order to serve there. About his disposition, it was written that his humility was obvious when, on one occasion, “one day during dinner a bowl of cleaned potatoes was placed before the bishop, while the other brothers received potatoes still in the skins. The bishop not wishing to eat anything different from the other brothers of the monastery, begged the cook not to make any exceptions for him, for he wished in all ways to be as the brothers”.

On 26/13 August, 1906, Archbishop Tikhon led the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in the monastery for the Feast-day of Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk. There were again many visiting clergy who served together with him. On this day, the novice Andrew Repella was tonsured to be a monk, and he was given the name Anthony. On the following day, the monk Seraphim was tonsured also.

Archbishop Tikhon’s last visit to the monastery was in March, 1907, following the 7th annual meeting of the Russian Orthodox Catholic Mutual Aid Society in Mayfield. After he had been summoned to return to Russia, Archbishop Tikhon requested that the Holy Synod establish a fund, and that the interest derived from this fund be sent to the monastery as a subsidy.

At the beginning, living conditions at the new monastery were very difficult. Therefore, Igumen Arseny persuaded the Wagner family (the previous owners of the land) to remain there for a time, and help the brethren to learn how properly to operate the farm. One of the first tasks was the improvement of the soil, which was poor. This meant the spreading of very many wagon-loads of manure on the land, and ploughing it into the soil. Before long, the monastery was able to provide food for the brethren and food for the orphanage from this land. Because of the needed clearing of the land, there was plenty of wood for fuel at the time. Water for everyone had to be manually pumped from the wells until eventually electricity was introduced. There was much swampy land and many streams. Only later were the monks able to rework the land so that there was firm soil and the water collected in ponds after dams were constructed. More buildings were constructed and fields were fenced. One of the monks established a colony of bee-hives to produce honey for domestic use. A small bell-house was constructed and provided with a bell for the purpose of announcing the services. Other buildings were erected as well. The original cows were supplemented by the acquisition of others, and there came a good production of milk for domestic use. Whenever there would be a surplus of any of the farm produce, it would be sold at local markets.

New archbishop

In 1907, Archbishop Tikhon was replaced by Bishop Platon (Rozhdestvensky). Similar to his predecessor, Bishop Platon frequently visited the monastery, and he often stayed for some days.

In 1908, an episcopal residence was constructed on the monastery territory. Thereafter, not only Bishop Platon, but also members of his family would spend their free time during the summers at the monastery, and attend the services.

Elevation to archimandrite ; transfer to Canada

In 1908, Igumen Arseny was elevated to the dignity of archimandrite, and he was assigned by Archbishop Platon to serve as the dean and administrator of the Canadian parishes. The situation in Canada had become difficult in various ways, and Archbishop Platon understood that it required a proven and energetic worker to bring stability and better order to the life there, particularly in the western provinces. At this time, Canada was experiencing a large immigration from Eastern Europe, and there was no resident bishop in Canada.

Incessant travel ; reconciling many to Orthodoxy

He fulfilled this responsibility from the centres of Saint Barbara's Church in Edmonton and Holy Trinity Church in Winnipeg. With his knowledge of many Russian and Ukrainian dialects, and his ability to preach and teach in them, the Canadian faithful (who had immigrated mostly, but not only, from Western Ukraine) almost immediately loved him. With these rare missionary talents, he had the great blessing to receive back many Uniats into Orthodoxy. As well, he welcomed the many Galicians and Bukovinians who were arriving in large numbers to Canada. Indeed, his lifelong work was to include helping people return to Orthodoxy from the Unia. He was constantly speaking and writing plainly and honestly about proper canonical order in Orthodox Christian living. Caring for and feeding the sheep entrusted to him, he published the periodical “The Canadian Field”, about Canadian missionary work, which Tsar Saint Nicholas II is known to have read. Then he also established the periodical “Canadian Orthodox Messenger”. His preaching produced the affectionate epithet for him, “the Canadian Chrysostom”. In addition to everything else, he also did what he could to support the orphanage and Monastery of the Holy Ascension that had developed in Sifton, Manitoba.

There is written evidence that Archimandrite Arseny actively participated in a great event in Rabbit Hill (Nisku), Alberta, in 1910. This was the reconciliation and unification of the Holy Ascension Russo-Orthodox Church and Saint Mary's Ukrainian Catholic Church. There was a large Cross-procession with icons and banners, during which both communities met on the road. When they met, both groups bowed deeply to each other, and they extended their arms towards each other. At this time, Archimandrite Arseny gave an inspirational and emotional address to them all. They then formed a single procession towards Saint Mary's Church, where the Ukrainian Catholics were properly received into the Orthodox Church and they became a single Orthodox parish community through serving the Divine Liturgy. This event is but one example of such notable reconciliatory activities by Father Arseny throughout his life.

In 1910 also, Archimandrite Arseny saw to the completion of the construction of the “School Building” next to the Holy Trinity Church in Winnipeg. This building has served ever since as residential space, and as parish hall and parish office.

In 1910, after only 2 years of service in Canada, Archimandrite Arseny returned with the blessing to Russia. It is not concretely known why he returned to Russia, or what particularly were his activities whilst he was there, although we do have strong evidence that the departure was because of a problem with his health. In his request to the Holy Synod, he wrote :

 In January of this year, I completed seven years of service in the American Orthodox Mission.  I worked, by 
 the mercy of God, as I could, attempting not to be lazy, to carry out the high calling of a missionary, to 
 make a steady effort, not operating solely from rationality/intellect.  In the last two years of my service, 
 heavy afflictions and laborious work in the Canadian wilds have taken their toll on my health, and material 
 lack has repeatedly brought my spirit to full despondency.  In the last while I have been fully invalided with 
 a terrible hernia, which from the constant journeying creates horrible pain.  Doctors are trying to force me 
 towards a surgery, but I am afraid to lie beneath a knife, lest I die in this foreign land.  

right

It can, however, be deduced from these words that Igumen Arseny perceived himself precisely as a missionary, and therefore that he was in Canada on a temporary and replaceable basis. Further, having given himself completely to the missionary work, he found himself both ill and extremely weary. From other details of his life, it can be understood that he never lost his love for his homeland and family. However, he perceived himself, as it were, as a citizen of no earthly city or kingdom, but of the Heavenly Kingdom. Nevertheless, love for his family and his homeland are real factors.

Return to Russia-Ukraine

Upon his return to Russia, there are some reports that he was involved in the training of missionary-priests, and that he was the igumen of a monastery in Crimea. After the Bolshevik Revolution, he served as a chaplain with the White Army to care for and comfort the soldiers. During this time of turmoil, he was captured and sentenced to be shot. However, clearly by a miracle, he lived (despite the waiting firing squad) ; he was rescued, and he escaped to Serbia (Yugoslavia) in 1920, where he entered a monastery.

Then some members of his previous Canadian flock learnt that he was still alive. Knowing this, they quickly petitioned Metropolitan Platon to return him to Canada as a bishop.

If one were to write a book about Canadian Orthodox Church history, Vladyka (Saint) Arseny (Chahovtsov) might well be placed in the 1920s, that is, at a distance from the chronological beginning. This is because it is during that decade that he was given episcopal responsibility in Canada. Were he to be placed in accordance with the time of his arrival in North America and his subsequent arrival and work in Canada soon afterwards, he would be placed at the beginning of the telling of the history, along with Saint Tikhon of Moscow, who had brought him to North America. The placement here, then, might be taken as an expression of the statement that a good writer of mystery stories is required to make the history properly clear and comprehensible. Indeed, all Vladyka Arseny’s personal work, presence and activities in Canada (despite the interval when he had returned to Ukraine) spanned a total of nearly 40 years.

Episcopal ordination

Thus, the Holy Synod, with Metropolitan Platon, chose him to be the Bishop of Winnipeg, and requested his ordination to the Holy Episcopate by the ROCOR (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia) bishops in Karlovtsy. This took place on 6-7 June (23-24 May), 1926, in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Thus it was that, with joy in his heart, Bishop Arseny travelled first to New York to meet with the metropolitan, and then to visit his beloved Saint Tikhon’s Monastery in Pennsylvania.

Bishop of Winnipeg

After these visits, Vladyka Arseny then continued on to his new cathedral in Winnipeg. He lived in one of the second-floor rooms of the “School Building”, which was arranged as monastic cells. He was a diligent pastor and missionary and worker. With a visible sense of humour he described himself as flying from end to end of the diocese. Canada was, however, a different place from that which he left in 1910. The seeds of violence from the Bolshevik Revolution, ardent Ukrainian nationalism, and the “Living Church” made his task of serving the Faithful difficult. People had succumbed to anger, and to fighting with one another. Besides this, controversies began to develop after the establishment of the Greek Orthodox Church of Canada.

Bishop Arseny was both a predecessor of and a contemporary with Archbishop Joasaph (Skorodumov). As did Archbishop Joasaph, so did Vladyka Arseny live through years in which, because of some differences in opinion, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and the “Metropolia” were sometimes in communion with each other and administratively united, and sometimes not in communion with each other and not united. In his speaking and in his writing, Bishop Arseny vigorously defended the Orthodox Way, and the proper order of Christian living, following the Gospel of Christ. This obedience of living in visible harmony and unity in Christ and in constant mutual forgiveness is what we call “canonicity”.

Vladyka Arseny’s deep concern for the proper way of life was expressed in a correspondence between him and a schismatic bishop, Archbishop Adam (Philipovsky), in which he tried hard to convince the schismatic to repent and to return to communion with the Church. Archbishop Adam had previously been an archimandrite serving at this diocese’s Holy Trinity Cathedral in Winnipeg. The correspondence was sometimes heated. In due time, however, Archbishop Adam did return to canonical order. Before his repose, he became a part of the Exarchate of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USA.

Vladyka Arseny continued to visit, to encourage building, to establish monasteries, and to develop the already existing Holy Ascension Monastery in Sifton, Manitoba. This monastery had begun as a community for women, which had operated an orphanage. In 1926, after the fire and the arrival of Vladyka Arseny, it became a monastery for men which operated there a pastoral school for the diocese. The monastery immediately flourished. This was part of the larger pastoral plan of Vladyka Arseny. He hoped that this monastery could become another "outpost" for yet greater missionary work. In particular, he was concerned about the many who were part of a fresh immigration to Western Canada after the Bolshevik Revolution and World War I. They were arriving from the territories of the former Russian Empire and from other eastern European countries such as Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia.

Because of the hot opinions and political differences of the time, Vladyka Arseny was twice injured in this region by certain persons who acted rashly. In 1929, Vladyka Arseny was attacked and severely physically beaten. Then, in 1936, Vladya Arseny was one day injured by gun-fire whilst he was in a parish-house and chairing a meeting of clergy.

 Tireless as a pastor, Vladyka would soon face the Cross of a confessor as well.  While convening a clergy 
 assembly at the home of a priest in Canora, Saskatchewan, 'a band of hooligans, still calling themselves 
 Christians, armed with stones and wooden stakes, broke the windows and doors, shooting through them into the 
 house where Vladyka Arseny and a gathering of clergy had assembled in preparation to serve the Divine Liturgy 
 the next morning'.  Vladyka Arseny was badly wounded in the leg, getting lead-poisoning from the bullet, and 
 it was this, and not any lack of desire to continue, that forced him to retire from active service in 
 Canada.
 
 When it became known that Vladyka Arseny would be transferred away, the loving flock with commensurate honour 
 bade farewell to their meritorious Bishop.  The Edmonton parish of The Holy Great-Martyr Barbara prepared for 
 him, on behalf of Canada, a special Gramota of gratitude.  This Gramota fully speaks of Bishop Arseny's 
 dedicated service : 'Today you pray with us for the last time.  You are entering into your rest.  At this 
 moment, the parish of the Church of The Great-Martyr Barbara, which thirty   years ago you consecrated, and in 
 which you served as First Rector, wishes to express to you its deepest gratitude for your work in the 
 formation, development and strengthening of the Orthodox Church in Edmonton, Alberta and in all Canada'.

Transfer to Detroit ; transfer to Saint Tikhon's Monastery

In 1936, Vladyka Arseny was transferred away from Winnipeg and Canada, and that he was assigned briefly to the See of Detroit and Cleveland.

Soon afterwards, in 1937, he retired to Saint Tikhon’s Monastery. Nevertheless, in retirement he was not able to cease his active service.

Development of the orphanage ; development of the seminary

In 1937, in Cleveland, Ohio, amongst the decisions of the 6th All-American Sobor of the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in North America, it was determined that it was necessary to open a seminary in North America. A commission that was appointed by this council submitted a report to Metropolitan Theophilus (Pashkovsky). The result was that in that same year, Bishop Arseny applied to the Holy Synod of the “Metropolia” for the blessing to establish a pastoral school at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery in South Canaan, Pennsylvania. After this decision, the responsibility of organising and developing this school was delegated to the ever-obedient Bishop Arseny. He was given also the responsibility of being the first rector of the new endeavour. Meanwhile, it was decided that there be a seminary also established in New York City. That seminary was Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary.

The first members of the commission were Bishop Arseny (Chahovstov), the Archpriests Vladimir Prislopsky and Gregory Shutak, and the choir-director Dimitri Ressetar (later a priest), Vladimir F Buketoff, Peter Ratica. Under the capable and astute guidance of Bishop Arseny, the commission was able to open the new school with a budget of $425.00, scarcely enough to keep one person alive. There were 4 professors (Bishop Arseny, Archpriest Basil Demidoff, Count Basil Musin-Pushkin, and choir-director Dimitri Ressetar), and 4 students.

In 1938, with the blessing of the Synod of Bishops, with the approval of the 6th All-American Sobor, and with great effort on his part, Bishop Arseny opened the first classes of Saint Tikhon’s Pastoral School. When Metropolitan Theophilus opened the school in 1938, he said the following :

 Let us give thanks to the Lord God for the Pastors’ School at Saint Tikhon’s has received a worthy beginning 
 because of the great efforts of Archbishop Arseny.  From henceforth the history of our church will record that 
 Saint Tikhon’s Pastors’ School is a memorial to the late Patriarch Tikhon of Holy Memory who gloriously 
 laboured in America. 
 (30 December, 1938)

The first students were housed and instructed in a little white house which had been the summer house of the orphanage. The basement of this house also served as the bakery for the monastery. Despite all the difficulties and shortages of everything, the first year was completed successfully.

This pastoral school would later become Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. For some time, Saint Tikhon’s Seminary was regarded as being the equivalent of a traditional Russian theological seminary, and Saint Vladimir’s Seminary was regarded as being the equivalent of a traditional Russian theological academy.

All these events of 1938 were part of a great “regrouping” movement which began to heal the turmoil and confusion that had afflicted the Church since the Bolshevik Revolution. On Memorial Day in May, 1938, 16,000 pilgrims arrived at the monastery. It was also the 950th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’. Metropolitan Theophilus (Pashkovsky), Archbishop Adam (Philipovsky) and Bishop Arseny (Chahovtsov) served the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, assisted by more than 200 priests. Homilies were preached by all 3 bishops, and by the Priest Joseph Pishtey. During this year also, during the week of 8-13 August, bishops, clergy and laymen numbering nearly 50 attended the first clergy retreat at the monastery. Bishop Arseny served as the host for the event, and he gave one of the talks.

In September, 1938, the Russian Orthodox Mutual Aid Society decided to develop new facilities for the orphanage. Soon afterwards, a 12-acre lot was purchased, on which to construct the new building. Meanwhile, in addition to these activities, Vladyka Arseny, as he had done nearly 40 years previously, continued actively visiting the nearby local parishes and travelling when there were special occasions that required his presence.

Elevation to archbishop

In 1939, Vladyka Arseny was elevated to the dignity of archbishop in recognition of his tireless work. In that year, the monastery’s territory was substantially expanded through the purchase of land intended to be the site of a residence for retired clergy. Archbishop Arseny was assigned to lead the project. He was assisted by Father John Krashkevich, Father Lachno, Father Joseph Pishtey and Father Dimitry Ressetar. (It was eventually understood that by the time this project had been initiated, the actual need for such a residence had decreased.)

On 9 August, 1939, there was an official decision to establish a seminary library. This library was begun in memory of the departed clergy who have served faithfully. Thousands of books were immediately donated by many bishops, clergy and lay-persons. As a result, a specially designed stone building was constructed near the bell-house, in order to keep this library.

It was not until 1941 that the ground was broken for the beginning of the project of constructing a new building for the orphanage. This occurred in May, 1941, at the annual Memorial Day Pilgrimage. In the autumn of that year, Archbishop Arseny, together with Bishop Alexei (Panteleyev) of Alaska blessed the corner-stone of the edifice. They were assisted by serveral priests who had travelled from more distant places for the occasion. On that day, there was a solemn procession of all the clergy from the monastery to the site, and after a moleben (prayer-service), there followed the service of blessing a new home. Enclosed within the stone was an historical document concerning the occasion. At this time, Father Nicholas and Matushka Catherine Bellavin became the new superintendents of the orphanage’s more than 30 children. They succeeded Count and Countess Basil Musin-Pushkin, who had been caretakers of the orphanage during the late 1930s, and who had worked hard to promote the construction of a new building. At this same pilgrimage, the first graduates of the pastoral school received their diplomas. All 3 graduates were later ordained to the Holy Priesthood.

On 1 May, 1942, Archbishop Arseny convened a special meeting which included Bishop Leonty (Turkevich) of Chicago, Bishop Alexei (Panteleyev) of Alaska, and the Archpriest Nicholas Bellavin (the dean of the pastoral school). There was a discussion about the present situation and the future of the pastoral school. All 3 bishops and Father Bellavin concurred that the pastoral school was functioning as it was intended to do, and that the results were satisfactory. Archbishop Arseny added that the school had already surpassed the expectations of the 1937 All-American Sobor. They all agreed that the school ought to remain where it was, soon to be housed in the former orphanage building, and that it be known as a seminary. After receiving the report, the Great Sobor of Bishops blessed the work of the pastoral school and its plans for the future, and the establishment of the school as a permanent seminary. The monastery and the seminary continued to grow.

After the events of 1942, Archbishop Arseny’s health began to be somewhat weaker.

In 1944, Bishop Alexei (Panteleyev) retired from his episcopal duties and settled at the monastery. There, he took part in the teaching in the seminary. He was well-remembered for his deep love for church music, and for his concern for developing healthy monastic communities. By this time also, the USA was involved in World War II. This reduced greatly the number of men who were present at the annual pilgrimage in May. Rationing of gasoline and goods also made it more difficult for people to attend, although very many made the effort to do so. By this time, Archimandrite Luka (Cirkun) was the igumen of the brotherhood, which at that time included many monks who had previously lived in Europe.

Repose

On 4 October, 1945, Archbishop Arseny (Chahovtsov), at the age of 79, fell asleep in the Lord. He had been taken to the Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton, Pennsylvania. His funeral and interment at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery were attended by many hierarchs, priests, and faithful (several hundred in all). His body rests in the cemetery, under the south side of the foundation of the Metropolitan Platon chapel, which was constructed somewhat later. There, his remains were soon to "have company". In 2 years, the body of his long-time co-worker, Bishop Anthony (Tereshchenko) of Montréal was interred under the foundation of the same chapel, "just around the corner", on the east side of the chapel.

Many details about the life of Vladyka Arseny were made available thanks to the unpublished M.A. thesis of the Archpriest John Perich. Therein, he wrote that Vladyka Arseny,

 who gave the appearance of a stern individual, was a very kind, congenial and friendly man, who wished only to 
 serve the church and to expand the monastery that he had founded so that it truly could become the ‘center’ 
 for the entire Orthodox Church in America. 
 
 The Archbishop was described as a man who ‘with the enthusiasm of a youth and filled with an inspired faith in 
 God’ organized a theological seminary without any financial support.  He was a personable man whose 
 relationship with the seminarians ‘was that of a loving father to his sons, always fulfilling their wishes’.  
 Often, if a student had difficulty meeting his tuition expenses, Archbishop Arseny would help them by 
 ‘offering money from his scanty salary, never wanting to be reimbursed’.  
 
 All those who came in contact with the bishop continually looked up to him as their father.  The seminarians 
 would especially honor their beloved ‘Vladyka’ each year on his birthday and the day of his patron saint, 
 presenting him with bouquets of flowers, something which deeply touched the bishop, often bringing tears to 
 his eyes.  As was once stated concerning the Archbishop’s love and concern for his seminarians, ‘he inculcated 
 in them the seed of church devotion, duties of pastorship and church discipline’.  
 
 He was a man who gave entirely of himself to the church and the monastery that he loved so much.  He was the 
 first to donate the necessary funds for the construction of a library building on the monastery grounds, in 
 which the first fifteen hundred volumes were originally housed.  
 
 As was stated by his close friend and associate Father Nicholas Bellavin, Vladyka Arseny ‘was full of 
 activity, enviable energy and perseverance, not knowing any obstacles to the proposed purpose.  This was a 
 great practical Russian mind, with a broad perception and firm character .... Having erected forty years ago 
 St. Tikhon’s Monastery; and thereafter, having worked in the United States and Canada for the benefit of the 
 American Church, Vladyka Arseny returned again to the monastery in his declining days for retirement.  In 
 place of retirement, he developed such activity, which is worthy only of astonishment and regard’.
 
 Vladyka Arseny was an ideal example of a true monastic, ‘living the life of almost an ascetic rarely leaving 
 the monastery grounds, eating scanty meals as prepared at the refectory’.  
 
 Much was accomplished during the Arseny years.  Primarily, however, Archbishop Arseny brought stability to a 
 community which had suffered greatly since the disastrous Russian Revolution and their devastating aftermath.  
 Expansion, both in numbers and facilities considerably aided the steady growth of the monastery, which he had 
 founded back in 1905.  
 
 During his brief, but active last years at the monastery, the Archbishop worked tremendously for the 
 construction of a new orphanage building, eventually accomplishing this task with the financial assistance of 
 R.O.C.M.A.S. in 1942. 
 
 Primarily, however, his most memorable achievement was the organization and establishment of the St. Tikhon’s 
 Theological Seminary, first as a pastoral school, then eventually as a permanent seminary within the Orthodox 
 Church in America.  With a zealous energy and persistence in the attainment of his goals, he was able to 
 accomplish what some said was the impossible.  
 
 Except for the inscription tablet over his grave, there are no monuments or memorial plaques at the monastery 
 or seminary in his name.  However, the spirit and determination which he exemplified has been preserved even 
 to this day.  As once written following the death of the Archbishop, ‘His achievements stand as a monumental 
 pillar in the history of our Russian Orthodox Church in America’.  

Archbishop Arseny already is venerated as being holy in the Archdiocese of Canada, and far beyond it.

The holy Archbishop Arseny (Chahovtsov) of Winnipeg is remembered (amongst many other things) for his repeating the first words of Psalm 107 : "My heart is ready, O God ; my heart is ready". He seems to have repeated these words most particularly at pivotal moments when he understood that the Lord was calling him to a new work. That this could be called his “trade-mark” is just one of the indications of his familiarity in the heart with the Scriptures, and a sign that he lived in these Scriptures. The use of this excerpt in his response to knowing what the Lord asked of him, is a demonstration of the depth of the unity of Vladyka’s heart with our authentic tradition. These words became characteristic of Vladyka Arseny, because they also describe how Vladyka’s heart was (and is) truly in Christ.


Feast-day

Although he is not officially declared and glorified to be a saint, many people do recognise him to be a holy man, and they venerate him accordingly. His Feast-day would be 4 October, the date of his repose.


— Bishop of Winnipeg 1926-1936. Preceded by : Bishop Apollinary (Koshevoy). Succeeded by : .

— Bishop of Detroit and Cleveland 1936-1937. Preceded by : Bishop Jeronim (Chernov). Succeeded by : .


Akathist to Saint Arseny of Winnipeg by the Archpriest Lawrence Farley


Kontak 1 (Tone 8)

O holy Father Arseny, beacon of light in America and Canada ! Like Chrysostom of old you endured the slanders of men and suffered for the truth ! Through your unquenchable zeal you nourished your flock and restored many to the Orthodox Faith ! Praising God who is wondrous in His saints, we cry aloud : Rejoice, holy Arseny, golden-tongued preacher of the grace of God !

Ikos 1

O holy Arseny, by your life among us God shows that He never abandons His Church, but comforts us as a father comforts his children. Through your preaching, the power of God for salvation is revealed to everyone who believes, and through your prayers we are made strong. Marveling at the wonders God has worked through you, we believers lift up this song :

Rejoice, herald of God’s love, illumining the world !

Rejoice, light of Christ’s truth, scattering the darkness of error !

Rejoice, for the anointing of Christ is upon you !

Rejoice, for the Lord sent you to preach His Gospel to the poor !

Rejoice, you whose words set free the oppressed !

Rejoice, you whose prayers give release to the captives !

Rejoice, holy hierarch of the Church and strong bulwark for our souls !

Rejoice, gentle shepherd, feeding the young lambs of the Lord !

Rejoice, holy Arseny, golden-tongued preacher of the grace of God !


Kontak 2

Born into a poor family in Kharkov in Ukraine, O holy Arseny, you tended your father’s flock, learning the ways of a good shepherd, so that you might one day care for the human flock of your heavenly Father. After being orphaned at a young age, you rejoiced in years of school life in Kharkov Theological Seminary, where God filled you with knowledge and called you to be His deacon and priest. Praising God for His providential care in your life, we also cry out : Alleluia !

Ikos 2

Widowed in the prime of life, O holy Arseny, you were left with the care of your son Dionysius, and you strove with all your might to serve Christ’s holy bride as a village priest even though storms of grief thundered about you. Having sown with tears in your youth, you reaped the Lord’s harvest with joy in your maturity, and we who share that joy cry aloud :

Rejoice, you whose untiring labour inspires the souls of priests !

Rejoice, you whose perseverance in times of sorrow makes the people rejoice !

Rejoice, seasoned pilot for the tempest-tossed !

Rejoice, safe haven for those enduring the storms of life !

Rejoice, unfailing intercessor, who turn our mourning into dancing !

Rejoice, heavenly priest, whose help girds us with gladness !

Rejoice, for on earth you served at the Lord’s altar with Saint John of Kronstadt !

Rejoice, for in heaven you stand at the Lord’s throne with all His saints !

Rejoice, holy Arseny, golden-tongued preacher of the grace of God !


Kontak 3

Having endured great trials and made many journeys throughout Russia, you found your home in the harbour of monasticism, embracing the mantle of a monk. Seeking God in the stillness of your heart, you found Him who gives rest to all who labour and are heavy-laden, and you taught us to sing to Him : Alleluia !

Ikos 3

Having humbled yourself in monastic lowliness, you were exalted by God to be an abbot in Kuriansk monastery, for your zeal for holiness was known to all. We who also seek after God feast on the hidden manna of the wisdom you learned there, and rely on your holy prayers, crying aloud :

Rejoice, you that mourned over your sins and overflow with divine comfort !

Rejoice, you that hungered and thirsted after righteousness and are filled with God !

Rejoice, for you blossomed profusely in the desert of the world !

Rejoice, for you led your monastic brothers to see the glory of the Lord !

Rejoice, you that manifest openly the divine love to all !

Rejoice, you whose life is hidden with Christ in God !

Rejoice, bearer of the Cross, for you died to sin and are alive to God !

Rejoice, herald of the Resurrection, for you walk in the newness of eternal life !

Rejoice, holy Arseny, golden-tongued preacher of the grace of God !


Kontak 4

After a brief time in monastic solitude, you were transported by the right hand of God from the desert to the city, and brought by Him to the new world to sow the seed of the Gospel and reap a harvest of salvation. There you taught saving wisdom to many souls, teaching them to cry : Alleluia !

Ikos 4

As a missionary in America, you left as the seal of your apostolate many believers in Troy, Mayfield and Simpson, having admonished them with all wisdom that you might present them complete in Christ, striving according to His mighty power. We who continue to labour in your North American vineyard praise God for you in these songs :

Rejoice, initiate of God’s long-hidden mystery !

Rejoice, steward of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge

Rejoice, for you offered up as a priestly sacrifice the souls you converted by the Gospel of God !

Rejoice, for you fully preached the Gospel of Christ from Russia as far as the new world !

Rejoice, for you brought back many into the fold of the Orthodox Church !

Rejoice, for you strengthened the young lambs in the true apostolic Faith !

Rejoice, for your proclamation of the Gospel has gone out through all the earth !

Rejoice, for the heavens are telling of God’s glorious work in you !

Rejoice, holy Arseny, golden-tongued preacher of the grace of God !


Kontak 5

Filled with compassion for the orphans, you became a father to the fatherless and strove to build an Orphans’ Home in northeastern Pennsylvania, that the little ones of Christ might find rest and joy in Him. Through you, the desolate find a home to dwell in and coming finally to the Father’s House in heaven they raise the song : Alleluia !

Ikos 5

Filled with zeal for God and longing to make His praise resound in the New World, you also strove to build a Monastery in these American lands, working always with the blessing of your bishop, Metropolitan Saint Tikhon. You were tireless in your efforts to raise funds for this goal, that many might come there to find the Pearl of Great Price. Rich with the spiritual treasure you have stored up for us, we unceasingly sing out :

Rejoice, truly-worthy Igumen of the new monastery you founded through the grace of God !

Rejoice, never-failing leader, guiding our souls from earth to heaven with skilful hands !

Rejoice, co-worker with the saints on earth, concelebrating with Saints Tikhon, Raphael and Alexis !

Rejoice, dweller with the saints above, praising Christ in the midst of His heavenly court !

Rejoice, for at the consecration of your monastery your voice was choked with tears of joy !

Rejoice, for now that you stand in heaven your voice never ceases to declare God’s praise !

Rejoice, you that plant the seeds of sanctity so that they might bear fruit in the soil of foreign lands !

Rejoice, you that nourish your Mother the Church so that her children come to glorify the Lord !

Rejoice, holy Arseny, golden-tongued preacher of the grace of God !


Kontak 6

Leaving your new American home, you were sent to build Zion in the far north, that those in Canada might know the Lord, the joy of all the earth. Arriving in Winnipeg, you cared tenderly for your new Canadian flock, binding their hearts to you with cords of love and teaching them to sing to God : Alleluia !

Ikos 6

Like a strong man you ran your course with joy, bringing the saving Law of Christ to your northern flock, travelling through the depths of virgin forests, through limitless prairies, searching for those who had strayed from the Lord. Now that we have been gathered into the sheepfold of salvation, we offer you these praises :

Rejoice, fount of living water, pouring forth rivers of the Spirit from your innermost being !

Rejoice, banquet of living bread, feeding your children with the food of immortality !

Rejoice, you that preached to men in their own languages with Pentecostal power !

Rejoice, you that lifted high the universal Cross that all might look to Christ and be saved !

Rejoice, loving father, begetting many children in Christ Jesus through the Gospel !

Rejoice, loving mother, labouring in travail until Christ is formed in your children !

Rejoice, for you preached the Word in season and out of season, with unfailing patience !

Rejoice, for you endured suffering in your work as an evangelist, fulfilling your ministry !

Rejoice, holy Arseny, golden-tongued preacher of the grace of God !


Kontak 7

Your skilful work in sermons, preached in your Canadian field, brought you to the attention of kings, for the Tsar read your works and rewarded you with a golden cross to thank you for feeding his soul. Now that you stand before the King of kings you rejoice in your heavenly reward, and with all the saints chant the hymn : Alleluia !

Ikos 7

Your tireless ministry of teaching and unstinting service to the souls of men brought you fame far from your field of labours, for even in Russia they knew you as the Canadian Chrysostom. For you, an athlete who has finished the race and kept the Faith, there is laid up a crown of righteousness, and we who also love the Lord’s appearing cry out :

Rejoice, you that devoted yourself to the study of the Law of the Most High God !

Rejoice, you that sought out the wisdom of ancients to share with the children of men !

Rejoice, you that traveled through the lands of foreign nations as the ambassador of Christ the Lord !

Rejoice, you that served among great men and appeared before rulers offering eternal life to all !

Rejoice, for nations declare your wisdom, and our congregations proclaim your praise !

Rejoice, for your name is greater than a thousand, and your praise will not be blotted out !

Rejoice, scribe trained for the Kingdom of heaven, bringing forth abundantly from your treasures !

Rejoice, apostle and unashamed workman, rightly handling the Word of truth !

Rejoice, holy Arseny, golden-tongued preacher of the grace of God !


Kontak 8

Your Canadian fame caused you to be recalled to Russia to direct a school for missionary priests, and you worked faithfully, multiplying the talent given you as a good and faithful servant. Now that you have entered into the joy of your Lord, you extol the Giver of heavenly rewards, saying : Alleluia !

Ikos 8

When war broke out in Russia and brought your home-land into the fire of testing, you served as a good shepherd to your fellow countrymen, serving in the trenches amid danger and death, under the whistling of bombs and explosion of shrapnel. When you were captured by the enemy and were about to be shot the next day, God’s providence rescued you, allowing you to flee to a monastery in Serbia. Seeing how you comforted your comrades and were willing to give your life for your brothers, we offer up these songs of love :

Rejoice, soldier of Christ, fighting the good fight of faith !

Rejoice, good shepherd, willing to lay down your life for your brethren !

Rejoice, you that give new heart to the despairing through your comforting words !

Rejoice, you that strengthen the fainting souls by your fervent prayer !

Rejoice, haven of safety in times of storm and disaster !

Rejoice, sanctuary of peace when chaos and evil overwhelm !

Rejoice, for when the earth was moved in times of war, God was your refuge and strength !

Rejoice, for the Lord was your ever-present help when the mountains slipped into the heart of the sea !

Rejoice, holy Arseny, golden-tongued preacher of the grace of God !


Kontak 9

When your orphaned Canadian flock learned that God had spared you, they insisted that their Metropolitan send you back to them as their bishop. Though you thought to remain in the peace of retirement, when you learned of God’s will, you declared your heart to be ready and immediately answered His call. Thus you were consecrated a bishop in Belgrade and returned to your flock as the Bishop of Winnipeg, so that your people cried out to God with joy, saying : Alleluia !

Ikos 9

During your absence, many tares had grown up in the Lord’s field, and you diligently laboured to preserve the Lord’s planting. You waged war against our spiritual enemy, traversing the vast country to the farthest west and calling all to unity and peace. When the enemy came in like a flood, you lifted up the standard of Christ’s truth against him, and we who have rallied to that standard sing aloud :

Rejoice, fearless proclamation of truth in the midst of a crooked generation !

Rejoice, unfading light shining in the darkness of this world !

Rejoice, vigilant shepherd, terrible to the wolves who menace Christ’s flock !

Rejoice, consolation of heart for those who love the light !

Rejoice, for you set your face as hard as flint against those who rebelled against God !

Rejoice, for you melted the hearts of those who sought the truth of the Lord !

Rejoice, you that ceaselessly strove to protect your little flock !

Rejoice, you that guarded them by your preaching and your constant prayer !

Rejoice, holy Arseny, golden-tongued preacher of the grace of God !


Kontak 10

Looking to the future and knowing that the Church is not of this world, you founded monasteries in Sifton, Bluffton and throughout Alberta, that their watchmen might stand on the walls and call the Church to its true and heavenly homeland. These angels in the flesh learned from you how to unite their praises with the angels in heaven, and together they cry to God : Alleluia !

Ikos 10

While holding fast to the fullness of the Church’s Faith, you reached out in love to those beyond her walls, nurturing fraternal ties with other Christian confessions and with those separated by schism. Grateful to God for your open and heart and steadfast spirit, we sing to you :

Rejoice, you that faithfully sang the Lord’s song in a foreign land !

Rejoice, you that shine the Lord’s light in the darkness of this age !

Rejoice, you that embraced as brothers all that confessed the saving Name Christ !

Rejoice, you that offered to all men the fullness of the Orthodox Faith !

Rejoice, for you clung to the teaching of the Fathers, preserving it undefiled for all generations !

Rejoice, for you imitated the zeal of the apostles, heralding the eternal Gospel in all the world !

Rejoice, gentle heart, who strove to bring all to unity in Christ !

Rejoice, firm foundation of faith, who confirmed the Orthodox in the Church’s truth !

Rejoice, holy Arseny, golden-tongued preacher of the grace of God !


Kontak 11

Furious at the mighty works you accomplished for God’s Kingdom, the enemy of our souls stirred up a band of evildoers to attack you when you gathered with your clergy, and you were shot in the leg. Poison from this wound forced you to retire from your missionary journeys, yet even then you did not cease from your evangelical labours, but founded a Pastoral School to train up priests to work in the Lord’s vineyard. Marveling at your unquenchable zeal, we cry out : Alleluia !

Ikos 11

As an Archbishop residing at the Pastoral School you founded in Pennsylvania, you were loved by all, both by the students in the school and by the faithful in the surrounding parishes, for you poured yourself out in service to them, sharing not only the Gospel but also your own soul. The students there brought you bouquets of flowers on your name’s day and on your birthday, and now that you reside in the courts of the heavenly King, we your children bring you as fragrant garlands these praises :

Rejoice, beloved teacher, whose students drink in your words and find the quiet waters of life !

Rejoice, gentle shepherd, whose sheep follow you in love and are guided into the paths of righteousness !

Rejoice, for your love encouraged the parishes to be steadfast and to abound in the work of the Lord !

Rejoice, for your prayers give them victory through Jesus Christ, and your toil in Him was not in vain !

Rejoice, you that blessed the church altars as a hierarch in Pennsylvania !

Rejoice, you that bless us now from the altar of the Lord Christ in heaven !

Rejoice, for God taught you from your youth and you continued to declare His wondrous deeds !

Rejoice, for God did not forsake you even in your old age, but you declared His power to all who were to come after !

Rejoice, holy Arseny, golden-tongued preacher of the grace of God !


Kontak 12

Weakened by the wound you sustained, you died and were buried with reverence in the monastery you founded. Throughout your entire life of preaching, you taught the faithful to give glory to God for all things, and now that you stand in triumph before the Lord whom you proclaimed, with preachers and saints throughout all the ages, you lift up the final hymn of victory : Alleluia !

Ikos 12

At your burial, all those whose lives you touched with your holy love came in sorrow to bid you farewell and commend your soul to the Lord. Archbishops, bishops, and more than fifty clergy gathered with the faithful around your sacred relics to sing as your funeral dirge the triumphant alleluia song, and we who honour your memory gather to offer these exultant songs :

Rejoice, you that were strengthened by the Lord and fully heralded the Gospel that all peoples might hear !

Rejoice, you that the Lord delivered from every evil deed and brought safely to His heavenly Kingdom !

Rejoice, light kindled by Christ in Russia, burning brightly in North America !

Rejoice, warmth of the faithful throughout the earth, preserving us by your prayers in heaven !

Rejoice, you whose words of fire taught our hearts to love the living Word !

Rejoice, you whose life of love called us to serve the Life of all !

Rejoice, for your heart was always ready to go where your Lord would send you !

Rejoice, for even now your heart is always ready to hear the prayers of His people !

Rejoice, holy Arseny, golden-tongued preacher of the grace of God !


Kontak 13

O holy Arseny, untiring preacher of the eternal Word and steadfast bishop of His apostolic Church, receive these songs from your servants who offer them with hearts grateful for all the wonders God has worked through you. Grant that through your intercession we may join you before His throne and with you sing forever the eternal hymn : Alleluia !

(This kontak is read thrice)


And again Ikos 1 and Kontak 1 :

Ikos 1

O holy Arseny, by your life among us God shows that He never abandons His Church, but comforts us as a father comforts his children. Through your preaching, the power of God for salvation is revealed to everyone who believes, and through your prayers we are made strong. Marveling at the wonders God has worked through you, we believers lift up this song :

Rejoice, herald of God’s love, illumining the world !

Rejoice, light of Christ’s truth, scattering the darkness of error !

Rejoice, for the anointing of Christ is upon you !

Rejoice, for the Lord sent you to preach His Gospel to the poor !

Rejoice, you whose words set free the oppressed !

Rejoice, you whose prayers give release to the captives !

Rejoice, holy hierarch of the Church and strong bulwark for our souls !

Rejoice, gentle shepherd, feeding the young lambs of the Lord !

Rejoice, holy Arseny, golden-tongued preacher of the grace of God !


Kontak 1

O holy Father Arseny, beacon of light in America and Canada ! Like Chrysostom of old you endured the slanders of men and suffered for the truth ! Through your unquenchable zeal you nourished your flock and restored many to the Orthodox Faith ! Praising God who is wondrous in His saints, we cry aloud : Rejoice, holy Arseny, golden-tongued preacher of the grace of God !


Prayer to Saint Arseny

O holy Arseny, blessed bishop and preacher, pastor and teacher, bulwark for the distressed and intercessor for our souls ! As the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world, so has Christ our God sent you to be His ambassador and herald of the truth, and in obedience to Him, you shone like the rising sun upon His Church, traveling in your course from the east even to the furthest west, proclaiming His saving Gospel and teaching us to love the Lord. Now that you have fulfilled all His will and stand before Him in glory, hear our humble prayers and pray for us to the Lord of all. Grant that through your intercessions He might have mercy on His Church in this land. May He manifest the Church’s unity in its fulness, reunite the separated to His saving fold, quiet the ragings of the heathen and shine the light of His Gospel into the hearts of all. Thus blessed and provided for, may we ever praise the Lord our Saviour, who together with His eternal Father and His all-holy, good and life-creating Spirit, lives and reigns, now, and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.


References :

Archdiocese of Canada — Orthodox Church in America, “Orthodox Church in Canada Chronology 1980-1988 The Orthodox Church in Canada : A Chronology” (Ottawa : Archdiocese of Canada, 1988).

Hainsworth, Priest K John, "Archbishop Arseny : a Vita" (Montreal, QC: Alexander Press, 2007). © by Alexander Press, 2007. ISBN : 1-896800-50-5.

Perich, John J, "The Center of Orthodoxy in America : The History of Saint Tikhon's Monastery-Orphanage-Seminary" (South Canaan, PA : Saint Tikhon's Seminary, 1979). [Unpublished M.A. thesis].

Sharko, Emily and Fedor, Hope, "Echoes of Faith : St. Mary's Russian Orthodox Church, Nisku, Alberta" (Nisku : St. Mary's Russian Greek Orthodox Parish Historical Society, 1985). ISBN 0889254990.

Tarasar, Constance, ed., "Orthodox America 1794-1976 : Development of The Orthodox Church in America" (Syosset, NY : The Orthodox Church in America Department of History and Archives, 1975). ASIN : B000ZLZAUE.


Additional information :

Sametz, William, "My father the priest : the life and times of the Very Reverend Dr. Peter Sametz : founding missionary priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada" (Toronto : Hypertex Plus, 2008). ISBN : 9780969670056.

Christianforums : comments

Orthodoxwiki biography

Saint Tikhon's Monastery Cemetery

The Saint Arseny Orthodox Christian Theological Institute

"Canadian Journal of Orthodox Christianity" : Akathist to Saint Arseny

‘Our Canadian Chrysostom, Archbishop Arseny (1866-1945)’ in “Canadian Orthodox Messenger” (Spring, 2001), pp. 10, 12.

'Orthodox theological institute, named after the Blessed Arseny, begins in Winnipeg' in "Canadian Orthodox Messenger" (Autumn, 2003), p. 14.

'First annual St Arseny commemoration held' in "Canadian Orthodox Messenger" (Winter, 2004/2005), pp. 1-2.

‘Archbishop St Arseny: Canada’s “Chrysostom”’ in “Canadian Orthodox Messenger” (Summer, 2005), pp. 6-13.