ROCOR elects new First Hierarch

New York, September 13, 2022     

The hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia elected their new First Hierarch today.

The previous First Hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral), reposed in the Lord on May 16.

Today's gathering of the ROCOR Council of Bishops elected His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan as the new First Hierarch of ROCOR, reports the Church’s press service.

The Act of Election will be sent to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow “to bless the electee to assume the duties of the First Hierarch entrusted to him by his brethren archpastors, and for confirmation of the election by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.”

The rite of enthronement will take place this coming Sunday at the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign” in New York City.

Today’s session of the Council of Bishops began with the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral celebrated by His Eminence Metropolitan Mark of Berlin, who served as Locum Tenens after Met. Hilarion’s repose, with the other ROCOR hierarchs.

The wonderworking Kursk Root Icon was present for the service. After the service, a moleben for the opening of the Council of Bishops was served.


Bishop Nicholas (Olhovsky) was born on December 17, 1974, in Trenton, NJ. He graduated from St. Alexander Nevsky Russian Parish School in Lakewood, NJ in May 1991, and in 1993, graduated from Hamilton West High School. In 1998, he graduated from Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY, where he received a Bachelor of Theology Degree. During his studies in seminary, he executed his obediences in the book-binding shop, icon studio, and typographical workshop (working in the latter until 2002). On the feast day of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos in 1994, he was ordained a reader by Bishop Hilarion of Manhattan, vicar of the Eastern American Diocese (today First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad), in Trenton’s Dormition Church. In 2000, he graduated from the State University of New York Technology School, receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Information & Communications. From March 1999 to March 2008, he served as cell attendant to Archbishop Laurus (Skurla; from October 2001 to March 2008, Metropolitan).

In May 2004, he accompanied the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad on his first official visit to Russia. In May 2006, he served as a delegate to the 4th All-Diasporan Church Council; on June 12 of that year, he was ordained to the diaconate by Metropolitan Laurus and assigned to Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville. In May 2007, he participated in the celebration of the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion in Moscow, accompanying Metropolitan Laurus on the subsequent pilgrimage to the Kursk Diocese and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. In September 2008, he was assigned to the staff of the Synod of Bishops. In 2009 and 2010, he served as a member of the delegation accompanying the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God to Russia and Ukraine. In December 2010, after the sudden and unexpected death of his Matushka Elisabeth, he was appointed guardian of the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God. In January 2011, he was appointed a clergyman of the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City. In 2011, he accompanied the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God to the Kursk Diocese and the Metropolia of Kazakhstan; in November 2011, to Australia. On August 1, 2012, he was ordained to the priesthood in St. Seraphim Memorial Church in Sea Cliff, NY. In 2012, he accompanied the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora to the Samara, Kursk, and Perm Dioceses, to Seattle and the Hawaiian Islands. In 2013, he accompanied the Kursk Root Icon to the Canadian Diocese, to Japan and the Primorsk Metropolia of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Fr. Nicholas Olhovsky’s monastic tonsure was performed on April 4, 2014 in Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY. In tonsure, Fr. Nicholas was given the name "Nicholas"—in honor of the Holy Hierarch Nicholas of Japan. At Divine Liturgy on April 27, the second Sunday of Holy Pascha, in the presence of the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God and in accordance with the resolution of the Synod of Bishops, Archbishop Mark of Berlin & Germany elevated Hieromonk Nicholas to the rank of archimandrite in Holy New Martyrs & Confessors of Russia Cathedral in Munich.

The Rite of Nomination and episcopal Consecration were performed in Joy of All Who Sorrow Cathedral in San Francisco, CA, on Sunday, June 28-29, 2014, during the celebrations in honor of the 20th anniversary of the glorification by the Russian Church Abroad of the Holy Hierarch John of Shanghai & San Francisco. The Consecration was led by the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York.

On May 17, 2022, following the repose of Metropolitan Hilarion, Bishop Nicholas was appointed acting ruling bishop of the Eastern American Diocese by decree of the Synod of Bishops.

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Priest Dmitry Wieber9/14/2022 2:24 pm
With the choice of Vladyka Nicholas and with His exaltation, I congratulate His Eminence.???? But, not without with tears and regrets. May God grant him an increase in patience, wisdom and love.☦ (We're kumavya with him). "Εις πολλά έτη Δέσποτα!"
Afanassy9/14/2022 7:43 am
May Our Lord grant him faith, wisdom, and courage during these difficult times: the War in Ukraine. ==============
Gerrit Kallistos Blydorp9/14/2022 12:42 am
Axios! May Our Lord bless and protect our newly elected Metropolitan Nicholas with great faith, courage and strength. God is good!
Jeremiah Burke 9/13/2022 9:54 pm
May God richly bless Metropolitan Nicholas in his new ministry ????
Fr William Bauer PhD9/13/2022 9:10 pm
This is good.
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