Metropolitan Seraphim of Paris & Western Europe (1879-1959)

Metropolitan Seraphim (Lukyanov) was the Ruling Bishop of Western Europe, including the parishes in the United Kingdom, from 1927 to 1946.

Alexander Lukyanov, the future Metropolitan Seraphim, was born in 1879 in Saratov, Russia. There he attended parochial school, then the Saratov seminary from 1897 to 1900, followed by studies at the Kazan Theological Academy from 1900 to 1904. Alexander was tonsured as a monk, receiving the name Seraphim, in 1902; and in 1903 he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood. After graduating from the Kazan Academy, Fr Seraphim was an assistant professor of the seminary in Ufa. In 1907 he was elevated to the dignity of Archimandrite and became the Rector of the seminary in Taurida. In 1911 he became Rector of the seminary in Saratov.

From 1914 to 1917, Archimandrite Seraphim, having been consecrated to the episcopacy, was Bishop of Sortavala in Karelia; and in 1917 he participated in the Pan-Russian Council. In 1918, he became Bishop of Finland and in 1920 was elevated to the rank of Archbishop.

When the Orthodox community in Finland joined the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Archbishop Seraphim protested and refused to recognise Bishop Germanus (Ava), whom Constantinople had appointed into a territory traditionally governed by the Russian Orthodox Church. Archbishop Seraphim finally had to leave Finland under pressure from the authorities, and was appointed Rector of the parish in London, becoming Vicar Bishop to Metropolitan Evlogy in Paris. After the break between Metropolitan Evlogy and the Holy Synod in 1926, Archbishop Seraphim remained faithful to the Hierarchy of the ROCOR, which, in turn, entrusted him with the leadership of the Diocese of Western Europe, with his see in Paris.

It is thanks to the authority of Archbishop Seraphim that the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was able to build up numerous parishes in subsequent years in France, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland and Italy. For his services in consolidating parish life in the Diocese of Western Europe, he was elevated to Metropolitan in 1938 during the Second All-Diaspora Council in Sremski-Karlovci, Yugoslavia.

In August 1945, Metropolitan Seraphim joined the Moscow Patriarchate, together with a number of his parishes. Upon the death of Metropolitan Evlogy, who had likewise joined the Moscow Patriarchate, he became Exarch of Western Europe. As such, he bore the title of Metropolitan of Brussels & Belgium, Exarch for Western Europe. In 1949 he was retired. In 1954 Metropolitan Seraphim moved to the Soviet Union, where in 1959 he died at the Gerbovetsky Monastery, now in Moldova.