His Eminence Archbishop Vsevolod, Eparch of the Western Eparchy of our Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and Titular Hierarch of Skopelos of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, died on 16 December 2007 in his 80th year.
Vsevolod Kolomijcew-Majdanski, was the son of Protopresbyter Wasylij and Panimatka Maria Kolomijcew-Majdanski, and was born in Kalisz, Poland on 10 December 1927. Along with his parents and his sister, Ilaria, Vsevolod lived in Kalisz until 1945, when the family fled the approaching Soviet army, which treated Ukrainian clergymen and their families harshly. At that time the Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Western Europe was Metropolitan Seraphim who provided letters of safe transit for the Orthodox clergy in Poland fleeing the Soviets. The Majdanski family was able to escape under such protection and after five months of travelling arrived in Germany in May 1945, where they settled.
The young Vsevolod had received his elementary and secondary education in Poland and began his studies in theology at the Warsaw Orthodox Theological Seminary but now completed them at the Dillingen Theological University in Germany. In 1949 the Ukrainian Orthodox parishes in Australia were being organized and invited Protopresbyter Wasylij to serve the spiritual needs of the faithful in Sydney where Vsevolod continued his higher education at Sydney and Melbourne Universities.
Vsevolod’s mother died in 1952 but three years later the rest of the family eventually emigrated to the United States, where a large Ukrainian community had developed following the end of World War II. Having settled in New York City, Vsevolod began continued his studies at Yeshiva University in the City, from which he graduated in 1964. He was appointed to the Medical Faculty of Einstein College as a Psychotherapist specializing in family and youth therapy, working with families at the Jewish Family Service and also in group therapy with institutionalized youth at the Jewish Board of Guardians. He was then appointed as Principal Associate in Medicine at the Medical School of Yeshiva University.
His father died in 1961, but it was not until 1985 that he was ordained to the priesthood by Metropolitan Andrew (Kuschak) of Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America within Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, He ordained Vsevolod to the Holy Priesthood in 1985. Elevated to the rank of Archimandrite in 1987 by Metropolitan Andrew, who died later that year, he was elected and consecrated to the episcopate on 27 September 1987 at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, New York City, by Archbishop Iakovos, Metropolitan Silas, Bishop Athenagoras and Bishop Phillip.
As Prime Hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America. he developed a closer relationship with the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and supported the invitation by the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA to enter the Patriarchate. Following the acceptance of this invitation, Bishop Vsevolod and the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, having been strongly urged to do so by the Sobors of both jurisdictions, worked to achieve the long dreamed of goal of uniting the two jurisdictions. This unification took place at the Metropolia Center of the UOC of the USA in South Bound Brook, NJ in November of 1996. In 1997, Bishop Vsevolod was appointed as the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the UOC of USA with his Episcopal See in Chicago, IL. He was elevated to the rank of Archbishop, first by the Sobor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and formally elected to the dytychs Holy Orthodoxy in 2000 by the Holy and Sacred Synod of Constaninople.
Archbishop Vsevolod was active in the ecumenical dialogue between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches and in other ecumenical dialogues. In 1999, We are All Brothers, a collection of his writings and speeches was published and a second volume was published in 2006. He helped initiate and organize the Orientale Lumen conferences in Washington, DC, which have met annually since 1997. He has been a plenary speaker and led many of the prayer services at these ecumenical meetings. He also served as a representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the on-going dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church. and participated in numerous ecumenical conferences.
His Grace Thomas Mar Makarios, Metropolitan of Canada & Europe, died in Newcastle on 23 February 2008, aged 81 years.
K.C. (Thankatcham) Thomas was born on 26 May 1925 at Kuttikandathil, Ayroor, Pathanamthitta District, Kerala, the eldest son of A.T. Chacko and Mrs. Mariamma Kuttikandathil. After attending schools and colleges, he became a teacher but eventually entered the Orthodox Theological Seminary at Kottayam, where he was ordained deacon on 23 February 1951. He was ordained priest at Broadway St. Thomas Cathedral, Madras in September 1952 by His Holiness Catholicos Geevarghese Baselios II. He was sent to New Delhi, the capital city of India, where there was only a small Orthodox parish, and to organize congregations in North Indian cities. During this time he lodged in a small room in the Delhi YMCA.
Whilst living in Delhi he was able to assist church lawyers involved in the lengthy church litigation which has bedeviled the Orthodox Church in India, helping the lawyers of the church understand the history, traditions and Canons of the Church. This was instrumental in seeking an historic verdict by the Supreme Court of India in favor of the Church in 1958. Mar Makarios has studied in various religious institutions in England, Germany, Switzerland and France.
In 1962, whilst attending a meeting of the World Council of Churches in Delhi he was invited to the U.S and was able to pursue his studies, earning a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Nashota House in Wisconsin, a Master of Sacred Theology from Virginia Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate in Theology from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond. He returned back to India and worked as a professor of Church History at Orthodox Theological Seminary in India for many years. On 16 February 1975, he was consecrated as a Metropolitan by His Holiness Catholicos Eugen I and appointed the first metropolitan of Diocese of Bombay, where he served until 1979 when he moved to North America to serve as first Malankara Orthodox Metropolitan of North America 1979-1993 and since 1993 as Metropolitan of Canada & Europe from his base in Buffalo. In 1985 he began teaching religion at Alma College in Michigan in recognition for which he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1990. In 1994 Mar Makarios was appointed as the first metropolitan of the newly created Diocese of Canada and Europe.
His wide sympathies and generous spirit enabled him to make many friends in ecumenical circles and his universal perception of Orthodoxy meant that he was happy to ordain native Americans and Canadians as priests. He and Abba Seraphim first met in London in 1989 and, having established an immediate rapport, remained friends for the next two decades.
On 5 January 2008, whilst travelling to Newcastle airport following a pastoral visit to Sunderland, a vehicle struck the passenger side of the car in which His Grace was travelling. He was seriously injured and admitted to Newcastle General Hospital where doctors worked to save his life. After seven weeks he remained comatose and his condition deteriorated. Following the funeral service at the Indian Orthodox Church in Brockley, his remains were flown to India, resting overnight at the Orthodox Seminary, Kottayam before being buried in a specially prepared tomb at the southern part of the Catholicate Aramana Chapel, Devalokam. Abba Seraphim and clergy of the British Orthodox Church attended and participated in the funeral service at Brockley.
Geoffrey Florentine, died on 13 March 2008 aged 55 years.
Geoffrey Florentine first came into contact with the church when he was a sixth-form pupil at Catford Boys’ School when Abba Seraphim (then still a deacon) joined the staff of the English Department. He became a regular attender of the monthly talks given by the Church at Blackheath in the early 1970s and, being a keen amateur photographer enjoyed photographing church services and events, often travelling long distances in the United Kingdom and abroad to do so. Between 1972-1981 he also filmed church ceremonies and later donated to the church rare footage of the late Metropolitan Georgius, when alive and of his funeral. Geoff’s professional knowledge of computers also proved invaluable and he was always at hand to come to our aid at the Church Secretariat when technical or other problems arose, on one occasion using a vacuum cleaner to extract large quantities of cat fur which had entered the back of the church computer !
Over forty years Geoff remained a warm friend and was always willing to support and assist church activities, the last being the Thanksgiving Service for Abba Seraphim’s 30th Anniversary. He was also a greatly valued member of St. George’s Anglican Parish at Perry Hill, Catford, where he served for two terms as a churchwarden and helped to steer the parish through the traumatic experience of the demolition and rebuilding of their Church.
Diagnosed with leukaemia, he remained philosophical and co-operated fully with his doctors – still going to work and maintaining as normal a life-style as his illness permitted. The hope offered by a bone-marrow transplant was tragically a failure and for the last six months he was cared for in Guy’s Hospital, where he died.
Abba Seraphim was among those who attended his funeral at St. George’s on 3 April.
As we go to press we are saddened to learn of the death, after a long illness, of Hegoumen Mikhael Ibrahim Salama, Priest of St. Mary & Archangel Michael Coptic Orthodox Church at Golders Green on 11 July 2008. Memory Eternal !