Bishop Ambrose of Geneva and Western Europe (1947-2009)

Bishop Ambrose (Cantacuzène) was Vicar Bishop of Vevey from 1993-2000, and Ruling Bishop of Geneva and Western Europe from 2000-2006.

The future Bishop Ambrose was born Pierre Cantacuzène on on 3rd / 16th September 1947 in Vevey, Switzerland, to which city he would be attached in one manner or another throughout the whole of his life. His parents were Prince Peter Georgievich Cantacuzène and Olga Alekseevna, née Orlova, descendants of Byzantine royal lineage. Having studied classics in his earlier years, he went on to read Law at the University of Lausanne. From 1968-1975 he taught French and basic jurisprudence at a regional secondary school.

Pierre was tonsured a Reader in 1972 at the Parish of the Great-Martyr Barbara in Vevey, and in 1974 participated in the Third All-Diaspora Council. He served as sacristan at the Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Cross in Geneva from 1975-1978, where he was taken under the wing of the Ruling Hierarch, Archbishop Anthony of Geneva and Western Europe, who became his spiritual father. It was Archbishop Anthony who ordained Pierre a Deacon in the spring of 1976, and on 13th / 26th September of the same year a Priest, both ordinations taking place in Geneva. His initial priestly service took place in the Geneva Cathedral, and in 1978 he was appointed Rector of the Vevey Parish in the town of his birth. From there he also was sent to serve in various other parishes of the Diocese, including those in Lyon, Bari, Rome, and Montpellier. For his faithful and tireless service, he was elevated to the rank of Archpriest on 4th / 17th December 1991.

His monastic life began two years later when, on 24th August / 6th September 1993, he was tonsured a monk and given the name Ambrose. He was consecrated to the episcopacy later that month in Geneva, at the hands of the First Hierarch, Metropolitan Vitaly, Archbishop Anthony of Geneva and Western Europe, Archbishop Mark of Berlin, Germany and Great Britain, and Bishop Seraphim of Lesna. It was to be the final consecration performed by Archbishop Anthony, who reposed in the Lord only six days later. Bishop Ambrose was made Bishop of Vevey, Vicar of the Western European Diocese, serving in this role under Bishop Seraphim, who became Ruling Bishop after the death of Archbishop Anthony. In this role he was especially responsible for the oversight of parishes in Switzerland and Italy. When then-Archbishop Seraphim retired in 2000, the Council of Bishops on 4th / 17th October of that year appointed Bishop Ambrose as Bishop of Geneva and Western Europe and Ruling Bishop of the Diocese.

During his service as Ruling Hierarch, Bishop Ambrose participated in the Committee Committee for Dialogue with the Moscow Patriarchate. In May 2006 he was a member of the Fourth All-Diaspora Council that took place in San Francisco, California.

In 2006, his health failing, Bishop Ambrose petitioned the Council of Bishops to be retired, and on 6th / 19th May of that year his request was granted. He was succeed in the office of Ruling Hierarch by Bishop Michael (Donskoff), and retired to his hometown of Vevey, where he was granted the right to serve as the Rector of the Parish of St Barbara. He continued in that role until 2009, where on 9th / 22nd July he reposed in the Lord.