Bishop Constantine of Richmond and Great Britain (1907-1996)

Bishop Constantine (Jesensky) was Bishop of Richmond and Great Britain from 1981 to 1986.

Manuel Jesensky was born in St Petersburg on 17th / 30th May, 1907. When his father was shot by the Bolsheviks, his mother died of grief and shock. Manuel’s nanny took him to Riga where he completed his secondary education, going on to be a pharmacist while also learning iconography. With the blessing of the future New Martyr Archbishop John (Pommers) of Riga, Manuel Jesensky entered Riga seminary, graduating in 1930. From there he went to the Saint Serge Orthodox Theological Institute, Paris, where he graduated with a doctorate. In 1932, Manuel Essensky was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by Metropolitan Evlogy (Georgievsky) of Paris & Western Europe, who at that time was a hierarch of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and assigned to the Church of Saint Vladimir in Berlin. Subsequently, Fr Manuel served as a priest in Leipzig. In 1938, along with his parishioners, Fr Manuel departed from the schism of Evlogy and was received into the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. He was a delegate at the 1938 Second ROCOR All-Emigration Sobor in Belgrade.

After the Second World War, Fr Manuel served as a priest in the Displaced Persons camps in West Germany. In 1949, he emigrated to the United States of America and served in various parishes. In 1967, Fr Manuel, taking the name Constantine, was tonsured as a monk at Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, New York, by Archbishop Averky (Taushev), and subsequently consecrated to become Bishop of Brisbane, Vicar of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand.

In 1978, Bishop Constantine returned from Brisbane to the United States in order to retire. However, in 1981, Bishop Constantine came out of retirement and moved to London, having been appointed as Bishop of Richmond and Great Britain, where he is remembered as the founder of the monastery of St Edward the Martyr at Brookwood. He also led the first Russian Orthodox pilgrimage to St Alban’s. However, due to poor health, he retired again in 1985.

Bishop Constantine spent his final years at a monastery in Texas, where he reposed peacefully on 18th / 31st May 1996. In 2014, his incorrupt remains were re-interred at Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, New York.