Hieromartyr Gurias, Archbishop Of Irkutsk

Archbishop Gurias, in the world Alexis Ivanovich Stepanov, was born on October 3, 1880 in Cheboksary, in the family of a peasant. In 1902 he finished his studies at the Kazan theological seminary. On April 16, 1905 he was tonsured. In 1906 he graduated from Kazan Theological Academy. In March, 1906 he was ordained to the priesthood. In 1909 he received the degree of master of theology. From 1910 to 1912 he was a professor in the Kazan Academy. He was the author of works on Buddhism, and was a lecturer on this subject in the Kazan Academy. From 1915 he was doctor of church history ("Sketches on the History of Christianity amidst the Mongol Tribes"). From May 26, 1912 (1917, according to another source) to 1919 he was inspector of the Academy with the rank of archimandrite. In 1917-18 he participated in the Local Council of the Russian Church. He took part in the enthronement of Patriarch Tikhon, greeting him in the name of the Kazan Academy. From 1918 (1919 or 1920, according to other sources) he was rector of the Moscow Pokrov monastery. In 1919 he became administrator of the monastery of the Meeting of the Lord in Moscow. On October 2, 1919 he was arrested in Moscow, but was then released.

On January 26, 1920 (according to another source, 1918), he was consecrated Bishop of Alatyr, a vicariate of the Simbirsk diocese. On June 27, 1920 he was arrested in the Danilov monastery (he was a close friend of the rector, Bishop Theodore), and on July 16 he was sentenced "to imprisonment in a concentration camp until the end of the Civil War". In accordance with the November amnesty his sentence was commuted to five years in prison in Butyrki prison. Four months later, according to one source, or on March 24, 1922, according to another, he was released. From 1922 to 1923 he was in Danilov monastery without the right to leave. In July, 1923 he was placed in temporary charge of the Petrograd diocese, but under pressure from the renovationists he left Petrograd for the Pskov Caves monastery, and in 1923 he was arrested "for being in a border zone", but was released.

In February, 1924 he became archbishop of Irkutsk. In the same year he was arrested and imprisoned in the Moscow Butryki prison. He was released, but on November 19, 1925, he was arrested again. On May 21, 1926, he was exiled to Yakutsk for three years, from where he was not released at the end of his term. According to another source, however, from 1926 to 1927 he was on Solovki.

Vladyka Gurias rejected Metropolitan Sergius' declaration, and in 1928, according to one (dubious) source, signed the decisions of the so-called "Nomadic Council" of the Catacomb Church through Monk Agathon. On July 28, 1930 he was released. On June 25 / July 8 (June 25, according to another source), 1930, he was appointed archbishop of Kostroma, but he refused to rule the diocese. On August 2 (or 13), 1930, he was appointed archbishop of Suzdal, but it is presumed that he again refused this sergianist appointment. In May, 1931 he finally renounced above-ground church life and occupied himself with literary activity, publishing under a pseudonym in the journal "Zhizn' Vostoka". In the same year was arrested in connection with a branch of the True Orthodox Church. In 1932 he was sentenced to three years in the camps. From 1932 to 1938 (1937, according to another source) he was imprisoned in a Novosibirsk hard labour camp. In 1938 he was arrested in camp, was condemned and shot near Novosibirsk.

(Sources: M.E. Gubonin, Akty Svyatejshego Patriarkha Tikhona, Moscow: St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1994, pp. 855-56; Protopresbyter Michael Polsky, Novye Mucheniki Rossijskiye, 1957, vol. II, pp. 129, 319; Pravoslavnaya Rus', N 1 (1574), January 1/14, 1997, p. 5; Lev Regelson, Tragediya Russkoj Tserkvi, 1917-1945, Paris: YMCA Press, 1977, pp. 527, 535, 537; Ikh Stradaniyami Ochistitsa Rus', Moscow, 1996, p. 65; Pravoslavnaya Rus', N 14 (1587), July 15/28, 1997, p. 6; Bishop Ambrose (von Sievers), "Katakombnaya Tserkov': Kochuyushchij Sobor 1928 g.", Russkoye Pravoslaviye, N 3 (7), 1997, p. 20; "Episkopat Istinno-Pravoslavnoj Katakombnoj Tserkvi 1922-1997g.", Russkoye Pravoslaviye, N 4(8), 1997, p. 6; I.I. Osipova, "Skvoz' Ogtn' Muchenij i vody Slyoz", Moscow: Serebryanniye Niti, 1998, pp. 276-277; Sergius Golubtsov, Moskovskoe dukhovenstvo v predverii i nachale gonenij, 1917-1922gg., Moscow, 1999, p. 84)





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