At Last an English-Speaking Russian Orthodox Bishop of London

From the Synod of Bishops of the Church Outside Russia, held in San Francisco on the 25th anniversary of the canonization of St John of Shanghai, more good news reached us yesterday, St John’s feast-day. This is that our new bishop, Irenei (Steenberg), is to be granted the title ‘of London and Western Europe’ as he arrives here permanently. This comes 90 years to the day since the last Russian Orthodox bishop of London, Bishop Nikolai (Karpov), who was consecrated as Bishop of London and Vicar of the Diocese of Western Europe on 30 June 1929.  Bishop Irenei becomes then the second Russian Orthodox Bishop of London to be consecrated since 1054. However, unlike Bishop Nikolai, he is English-speaking and has already lived in England for ten years. It means that, after so many decades in the wilderness and unrelenting striving, the refounded and now constituted Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia can expand further, the new backlog of candidates for ordination can be dealt with and more parishes opened.  With three priests in Wales, one in Ireland and several in England, much has been achieved after the transformations since January 2017 there is still much to be done. The only Russian Orthodox bishop living permanently in London, Bishop Irenei will be arriving in London on 5 July, St Alban’s Day.

After the establishment of the Russian Orthodox Exarchate in Paris, another dream after 45 years of waiting has come true!