Hieromartyr Ephraim, Bishop Of Selenginsk

Bishop Ephraim, in the world Epiphanius Andreyevich Kuznetsov, was born in 1876 in a family of Trans-Baikal Cossacks. He was orphaned in early childhood. A local priest noticed the orphan-shepherd, made him a reader in church and sent him to the Chita theological school and then the Irkutsk theological seminary. In 1899 he finished his studies at the Irkutsk seminary and was ordained to the priesthood. In 1899 he entered the Kazan Theological Academy, graduating in 1903 with the degree of candidate of theology. Then he served in the Trans-Baikal spiritual mission situated in Chita, becoming its head in 1904. He converted many Mongols, Buryats and especially Koreans to the Faith. He re-settled the Koreans in Chita and founded a parish for them. In 1907 he was raised to the rank of protopriest, and in 1909 was tonsured into the mantia and raised to the rank of archimandrite.

A fiery preacher, Fr. Ephraim was beloved by the people, and was consecrated Bishop of Selenginsk on November 20 / December 3, 1916 in the Alexander Nevsky cathedral in Chita by Bishop Meletius (Zaborsky) of Trans-Baikal and other bishops. At the beginning of the revolution he was arrested, but then he was released and took part in the Local Council of the Russian Church. He became the deputy of Bishop Meletius of Trans-Baikal. At the end of 1917 he was arrested and then released. On May 30 / June 12, 1918 he was arrested in Moscow in the flat of Fr. John Vostorgov and cast into the Butyrki prison. On August 23 / September 5, 1918 (according to another source, September 4), he was shot in Khodynka field, Moscow, together with Fr. John Vostorgov and other prisoners. He was buried in the Bratskoye cemetery in Moscow, which was destroyed at the end of the 1920s.

(Sources: M.E. Gubonin, Akty Svyatejshego Tikhona, Patriarkha Moskovskogo i Vseya Rossii, Moscow: St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1994, p. 972; "The New Martyr Archpriest John Vostorgov", Orthodox Life, vol. 30, no. 5, September-October, 1980; Protopresbyter Michael Polsky, Noviye Mucheniki Rossijskiye, Jordanville, 1949, part 1, p. 178; Russkiye Pravoslavnye Ierarkhi, Paris: YMCA Press, 1986, p. 34; Bishop of Yeisk, Za Khrista Postradavshiye, Moscow: St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1997, pp. 425-426)





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