Archbishop Seraphim of Brussels and Western Europe (1923-2003)

Archbishop Seraphim (Dulgov) was Ruling Bishop of the Diocese of Western Europe from 1993-2000.

The future Archbishop Seraphim was born Igor Dulgov in Russia in 1923, and in 1928, at the age of five, his family emigrated. He studied engineering after concluding his primary education, and went on to study theology at the St Sergius Institute in Paris from 1946-1950. In the years that followed (1954-1961) he worked in Paris and Versailles.

In 1961 he was ordained to the Holy Diaconate and Priesthood in Geneva by the Vicar Bishop of the Western European Diocese, Bishop Anthony of Geneva (who would become the Ruling Hierarch as Archbishop Anthony of Geneva and Western Europe), and was appointed to serve the Parish of the Archangel Michael in Cannes. In 1963 he was appointed Rector of that parish, and in 1971 was elevated to the dignity of Archpriest and made Dean for the parishes in the south of France — during this period he is known to have trained for future priestly service some ten priests who would serve in the European Diocese.

After serving the Cannes Parish for two-and-a-half decades, Fr Igor was appointed Rector of the parish in Lyons in 1986. In 1993 he was tonsured a monk and received the name Seraphim, and on 6th / 19th September of the same year was consecrated to the episcopate, having been nominated by the Ruling Hierarch, Archbishop Anthony, as his potential successor — Archbishop Anthony at that stage already suffering from terminal illness. He was given the title Bishop of Lesna, Vicar Bishop of the Diocese of Geneva and Western Europe. The consecration took place in the Cathedral of the Elevation of the Cross in Geneva, and the consecrating hierarchs included Metropolitan Vitaly (Uspensky), the First Hierarch, with Archbishop Antony of Geneva and Western Europe, Archbishop Mark of Berlin, Germany and Great Britain, and the then-Bishop Barnabas (Prokofieff, who later departed from the episcopacy).

When Archbishop Antony reposed in October of 1993, and Bishop Seraphim was appointed to succeed him, with the title of Brussels and Western Europe, with his residence in the Lesna Convent. He was elevated to the dignity of Archbishop in 1995.

Archbishop Seraphim petitioned the Council of Bishops in October of 2000 that he be allowed to retire, due to his own declining health. His petition was granted, and the office of Ruling Hierarch of the Western European Diocese passed to Bishop Ambrose of Vevey. The Holy Council granted Archbishop Seraphim the right to reside at the Lesna Convent in his retirement, where his name would be commemorated at the Divine Services after that of the Ruling Hierarch; and he was also granted the right to continue to participate in the Council of Bishops.

Living out the remainder of his life in the convent, Archbishop Seraphim reposed in the Lord on 11th / 24th November 2003.