Remains of Archbishop Theophan of Poltava, confessor of Royal Martyrs, return to Russia for reburial

Lemaire, Loire Valley Region, France, July 25, 2022     

Since his repose in 1940, the remains of His Eminence Archbishop Theophan of Poltava, known as the New Recluse, have lain in the municipal cemetery of the small settlement of Lemaire in the French Loire Vally Region.

But on Thursday, July 21, the process of the reburial of his remains in Russia, his homeland, where he once served as confessor of the Royal Martyrs, began. The hierarch’s remains were exhumed that morning, and His Eminence Archbishop Nestor of Madrid and Lisbon served a panikhida, reports the Korsun Diocese.

The exhumation and service were attended by the local mayor and clerics and faithful who specially arrived in France for the occasion.

The same day, the Archbishop’s remains were sent to St. Petersburg, where they will be interred at the Volkovo Cemetery.     


The future Archbishop Theophan was born into a priest family in the St. Petersburg Governorate in 1874.

He studied at the theological school at the St. Alexander Nevsky Lavra, then the St. Petersburg Theological Seminary and Academy. He was tonsured as a monk with the name of Theophan in 1898. He was ordained a hierodeacon and hieromonk later that same year.

In 1901, Fr. Theophan was elevated to the rank of archimandrite and appointed as the Academy’s acting inspector. He received his master’s in theology in 1905. He also had the opportunity to meet Tsar Nicholas that year, after which he was appointed the Royal Family’s spiritual father.

In February 1909, he became rector of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy, and later that month, he was consecrated as a bishop at the St. Alexander Nevsky Lavra. The next year, he was appointed to the Diocese of Taurida, though he was moved to the Astrakhan Diocese in 1912, where he was remembered for his rare asceticism, simplicity and accessibility, and complete disregard for his material well-being. His house became a haven for the poor, who received all necessary assistance. However, he also contracted malaria there, and his pre-existing tuberculosis worsened.

In 1913, he was transferred to Poltava, where he remained until after the terrible 1917 revolution. In 1918, he was elevated to the rank of archbishop. In November 1920, together with other southern bishops, he accepted the sorrowful lot of exile.

He went to Constantinople, then Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and finally France, where he retired to seclusion, living a hermit’s life in caves, where he could devote himself entirely to prayer. He reposed in the Lord in 1940.

Read more about Abp. Theophan in the article, “A Crowned Wrestler.”

Follow OrthoChristian on Twitter, Vkontakte, Telegram, WhatsApp, MeWe, and Gab!


Midwest9/25/2023 4:42 am
Thanks to Elena Kruglova (of the "Lestvitsa" organization) for writing this moving article below. This article provides an update on the battle currently being waged in Russia. The main topic is where the remains of His Eminence Archbishop Theophan (Bystrov) of Poltava of blessed memory should finally be laid to rest after a year-long hidden procession across Russia. May the Memory of His Eminence Archbishop Theophan of Poltava be Eternal! St. Theophan the New Recluse, pray unto God for Us! -------- The return of the confessor of the Royal Family and the future of Russia Open appeal to the Orthodox community on the fate of the remains of Archbishop Theophanes (Bystrov) By Elena Kruglova September 1, 2023
Midwest7/28/2022 7:07 pm
The relics of His Eminence Archbishop Theophan of Poltava arrived in Russia! Thank to Fr. C. who shared the link of this video with the orthodoxologie francophone blogspot site. "It was once predicted by Simeon, a Bulgarian hermit monk with whom Vladyka was acquainted, that Vladyka would return to Russia after his death and that great miracles would take place there. THIS TIME HAS COME!!!!!". May the memory of His Eminence Archbishop Theophan of Poltava (Bystrov) and Confessor of Royal Martyrs, be Eternal!
Midwest7/27/2022 8:31 pm
The exact name of the small town in the French Loire Valley Region is Limeray (population 1,279 in 2019, about 136 miles southwest of Paris). Thanks to the local municipal authorities of Limeray, the tombstone that adorned His Eminence Archbishop Theophan's vault since 1940, in the cemetery of Limeray, the only one with an Orthodox cross, was maintained until today. May the memory of His Eminence Archbishop Theophan of Poltava (Bystrov) and Confessor of Royal Martyrs, be eternal!
Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 4000 characters. All comments will be read by the editors of OrthoChristian.Com.
Enter through FaceBook
Your name:
Your e-mail:
Enter the digits, seen on picture:

Characters remaining: 4000

to our mailing list

* indicates required