Diocesan Hierarchy
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The Orthodox Church is, as established by Christ, a Hierarchical Church, governed by the Holy Episcopacy and the ranks of her Clergy. Just as the Church herself is the Body of Christ God, and not a mere human institution, so too the hierarchy of her clergy is also divinely fashioned, following the pattern set forth by Christ and handed down in unbroken succession through the Apostles and the Holy Fathers of the Church throughout her history.

The Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland has at its Head our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and is under the pastoral care of His Grace Bishop Irenei of Richmond and Western Europe (Richmond being traditionally the district of London after which the Ruling Hierarch of the Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland has been named). Bishop Irenei tends to the flock of the Diocese as a member of the Holy Synod of Bishops, under the presidency of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

His Grace Bishop Irenei of Richmond and Western Europe

His Grace Irenei, formerly Bishop of Sacramento, was appointed by the Holy Synod to assist the First Hierarch in the administration of the Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland from 2017-2018, and on 20th September 2018 was appointed Bishop of Richmond and Western Europe, regular Ruling Bishop of our Diocese and the Diocese of Western Europe. For the conclusion of 2018 and the first part of 2019 he continues to be resident in the see of his previous vicarial service (the Diocese of Western America), visiting our Diocese as often as possible, as preparations are concluded for his move to the UK in 2019.

Bishop Irenei is the Synodal Secretary for Inter-Orthodox Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and in this capacity is a regular member of the Holy Synod. His has also served as the Dean for Monastic Life of the Western American Diocese of the ROCOR (appointed 2012); a member of the Education Department of the ROCOR (appointed  2014); and of the Synodal Biblical and Theological Commission of the Moscow Patriarchate (appointed 2016). In 2012, the new Sts. Cyril & Athanasius Institute for Orthodox Studies began operation with the blessing of the Holy Synod, with then-Archimandrite Irenei as its director, and which he operated until the time of his episcopal consecration (thereafter handing it over to a permanent administration). From 2012-2018 he served on the Secretariat of the Assembly of Bishops of the United States, and worked in close cooperation with hierarchs of the ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate in matters relating to the Episcopal Assemblies and other inter-Orthodox contexts. From 2014, then-Archimandrite Irenei assisted in the founding of the new men’s monastery in Sonora, California, dedicated to the memory of St Silouan of Mt Athos, and at the official foundation of the monastery on the Saint’s feast day in 2015 was appointed its Abbot, which role he retains.

Bishop Irenei served for seven years as an Archimandrite at St Tikhon's Church in San Francisco: the former home and orphanage of St John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco, and was consecrated to the Episcopacy before the relics of St John on the feast of the Theotokos, 'Joy of All Who Sorrow.' In his academic life Bishop Irenei has focused chiefly on the theology and spirituality of the Holy Fathers, together with Orthodox liturgics and ecclesiology; and in parish life he has been particularly dedicated to youth in the Church, to his role as a Confessor, and to the spiritual and liturgical formation of parish life.

Click here for a fuller biography of Bishop Irenei.


Communications from Bishop Irenei
'Primacy and Identity': A Response to ‘First Without Equals’ and the Tragedy of Deficient Ecclesiology - 20/11/2018

A study by Bishop Irenei of the theological and ecclesiological problems undergirding some of the challenges in contemporary pan-Orthodox relations.

'Beauty Will Save the World': A text by Bishop Irenei - 20/10/2018

An article on the famous phrase, on beauty as the intermingling of joy and sorrow, and how this should inspire us in the Spiritual life and trials of our day.

'Speaking with the Voice of the Church': An Interview with Bishop Irenei - 16/07/2015

An interview with Pravoslavie.ru on living as an Orthodox Christian in the midst of modern society.

Previous Hierarchs

The following is a chronological listing of Hierarchs who have had oversight of the flock of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Metropolitan Evlogy (Georgievsky) of Paris & Western Europe

(b. 10/04/1868, d. 8/4/1946)

From 1921-1927 served as the first Diocesan Bishop for Western Europe, which included London and Great Britain.

Click here for a biography of this Hierarch.

Metropolitan Seraphim (Lukianov) of Paris & Western Europe

(b. 23/8/1879, d. 18/2/1959)

From 1926-1927 served as Archbishop in London (with the title 'Archbishop of Finland'); from 1927-1929 as Rector of the London parish; from 1932-1946 as Diocesan Bishop for Western Europe (including Great Britain); retired in 1949.

Click here for a biography of this Hierarch.

Bishop Nicholas (Karpoff) of London

(b. 1890, d. 11/10/1932)

From 1928-1932 served as Rector of the Cathedral Parish; and from 1929-1932 as Bishop of London.

Click here for a biography of this Hierarch.

Archbishop Nathaniel (Lvov) of Vienna and Austria

(b. 1906, d. 10/11/1986)

In 1951 appointed as Bishop of Preston & The Hague; then Diocesan Bishop for Western Europe (including Great Britain); later Archbishop of Vienna and Austria.

Click here for a biography of this Hierarch.

Archbishop Nikodem (Nagaieff) of Richmond and Great Britain

(b. 28/4/1883, d. 17/10/1976)

From 1952-1976 served as Rector of the Cathedral Parish, from 1954 onward as Bishop; from 1964 as Diocesan Bishop for the Diocese in Great Britain; from 1968 as Archbishop.

Click here for a biography of this Hierarch.

Saint John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco

(b. 4.6.1896, d. 2/7/1966)

From 1953-1962 served as Archbishop of Brussels and Western Europe (which included Great Britain); later Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America (1962-1966); glorified in 1994.

Click here for a Biography of St John as Archbishop of this Diocese.

Archbishop Anthony (Bartochevitch) of Geneva and Western Europe

(b. 30/11/1910, d. 2/10/1993)

From 1962-1964, and again 1976-1981, served as Diocesan Bishop for London and Great Britain.

Click here for a biography of this Hierarch.

Bishop Constantine (Jesensky) of Richmond and Great Britain

(b. 30/5/1907, d. 31/5/1996)

From 1981-1986 served as Rector of the Cathedral Parish, as well as Diocesan Bishop for London and Great Britain.

Click here for a biography of this Hierarch.

Archbishop Mark (Arndt) of Berlin, Germany and Great Britain

(b. 29/01/1941).

From 1986-2016 served as Diocesan Bishop for Great Britain and Ireland, in addition to his first Diocese of Germany.

Click here for a biography of this Hierarch.

Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

(b. 6/01/1948)

From 2016-2018 served as Diocesan Bishop following the retirement from Great Britain and Ireland of Archbishop Mark.

Click here for a biography of this Hierarch.

Bishop Irenei (Steenberg) of Richmond and Western Europe

 (b. 7/12/1978)

From 2016 Auxiliary Bishop of Sacramento; from 2017 served as Administrator of the Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland, and from 2018 as Diocesan Bishop for the Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland and the Diocese of Western Europe.

Click here for a biography of this Hierarch.

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Bishops Irenei's Calendar

Bishop Irenei's pemanent move to England as resident Bishop for Great Britain and Western Europe is planned to take place in 2019, pending the finalisation of practical arrangements. In the meantime, his calendar — which focusses on the completion of his service in the Western American Diocese — is as follows:

November 2018:

  • 3-4: Holy Ascension Church, Sacramento, CA
  • Feast of the Theotokos ‘Joy of All Who Sorrow’:
    • 5-6: Holy Virgin Cathedral, San Francisco, CA
  • 10: Mare Island Memorial Panikhida, CA
  • 10-11: Holy Ascension Church, Sacramento, CA
  • 12-15: Pastoral Conference of the Western American Diocese, Seattle, CA
  • 17-18: Holy Ascension Church, Sacramento, CA
  • 24-25: Holy Archangels Church, Phoenix, AZ
  • 26-19: St Paisius Women's Monastery, Safford, AZ

December 2018:

  • 1-2: Holy Ascension Church, Sacramento, CA
  • Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple (Tue.):
    • 3-4: Holy Ascension Church, Sacramento, CA
  • 6-10: Regular Meeting of the Holy Synod of Bishops, New York, NY
  • 15-16: Holy Ascension Church, Sacramento, CA
  • 17-23: Moscow, Russia
  • 24-29: St Herman's West Youth Conference, Placerville, CA
  • 29-30: Holy Ascension Church, Sacramento, CA

January-February 2019:

  • Jan 15 - Feb 7: Theophany visit to the Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland

April-May 2019:

  • Apr 23 - 15 May: Holy Week and Paschal visit to the Dicoese of Great Britain and Ireland

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