* 10 December 1927 + 16 December 2007
Dearly Beloved Brother Hierarchs, Clergy and All Orthodox Faithful:
It is with a profound depth of sadness that we hereby inform you of the repose, on the evening of 16 December 2007 in the 80th year of his earthly pilgrimage, of His Eminence Archbishop Vsevolod, Eparch of the Western Eparchy of our Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and Titular Hierarch of Skopelos of the Holy Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. His Eminence was stricken with a serious illness just a few months ago and was released only recently from rehabilitation to participate in the celebration of his 20th anniversary of episcopal consecration and his 80th birthday. This celebration took place at his Cathedral of St. Volodymyr in Chicago, IL with the presence of his brother Ukrainian Orthodox hierarchs, his family from the United States and Ukraine and his beloved spiritual children, the clergy and faithful of the Western Eparchy, of which he served a Eparch since 1997.
Vsevolod Kolomijcew-Majdanski, son of Protopresbyter Wasylij and Panimatka Maria Kolomijcew-Majdanski, was born in Kalisz, Poland on 10 December 1927. Along with his parents and his sister, Ilaria, Vsevolod lived in Kalisz until 1945, when the family fled the approaching Soviet army, which was very harsh toward Ukrainian clergymen and their families. Fortunately, the exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Western Europe at the time was Metropolitan Seraphim who provided letters of safe transit for the Orthodox clergy in Poland fleeing the Soviets. The Majdanski family was able to escape under such protection and departed Poland originally headed to Luxemburg on a journey which lasted from January – May 1945 eventually settling in Germany.
Young Vsevolod received his elementary and secondary education in Poland and began his studies in theology at the Warsaw Orthodox Theological Seminary and completing them at the Dillingen Theological University in Germany. In 1949 the Ukrainian Orthodox parishes in Australia were being organized and the faithful wrote to several priests located in Germany, Protopresbyter Wasylij being one of them. He agreed and the entire Majdanski family emigrated to Australia to serve the spiritual needs of the faithful in Sydney and other cities. Vsevolod continued his higher education at Sydney and Melbourne Universities in Australia.
The family’s ultimate dream was to move to the United States, where a large Ukrainian community had developed following the end of World War II. In 1952, Panimatka Maria fell asleep in the Lord never realizing this dream. In 1955, however, both Ilaria and Vsevolod received visas opportunities to emigrate to the United States. Ilaria received her visa and left for the USA, but Vsevolod remained in Australia to complete his undergraduate education. Having done so, he and Protopresbyter Wasylij also moved to the USA and took up residence in the center of the Ukrainian community in New York City. Vsevolod began his graduate studies at Yeshiva University in the City. He graduated in 1964 and was appointed to the Medical Faculty of Einstein College as a Psychotherapist specializing in family and youth therapy. He received his field practice working with families at the Jewish Family Service and also in group therapy, working with institutionalized youth at the Jewish Board of Guardians. He was then appointed as Principal Associate in Medicine at the Medical School of Yeshiva University.
Protopresbyter Wasyly fell asleep in the Lord in 1961, which brought Vsevolod more intimately into the life of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In 1985, the call of the Lord to “Follow Me!” became stronger in his life. He was called to service in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America – Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople – by Metropolitan Andrew (Kuschak), who headed the Church. He ordained Vsevolod to the Holy Priesthood in 1985. He served at the Metropolitan’s side for two years and was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite in 1987. Metropolitan Andrew fell asleep in the Lord that year and the Archimandrite was chosen to become his successor. He was consecrated Bishop – with the blessing of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Dimitrios I – on 27 September 1987 at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, New York City, by Archbishop Iakovos, Metropolitan Silas, Bishop Athenagoras and Bishop Phillip.
From 1987 through 1996, Bishop Vsevolod served as Prime Hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America. He developed a closer relationship with the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and was supportive of the invitation by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA to come under the omophorion of the Patriarchate. Following the acceptance of this invitation, Bishop Vsevolod and the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, having been strongly urged to do so by the Sobors of both jurisdictions, became resolute in there desire and efforts to reach the long dreamed of goal of finally uniting the two jurisdictions. This unification took place at the Metropolia Center of the UOC of the USA in South Bound Brook, NJ in November of 1996. In 1997, Bishop Vsevolod was appointed as the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the UOC of USA with his Episcopal See in Chicago, IL. He was elevated to the rank of Archbishop, first by the Sobor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and formally elected to the dytychs Holy Orthodoxy in 2000 by the Holy and Sacred Synod of Constaninople.
Since his episcopal consecration, Archbishop Vsevolod has been active in the ecumenical dialogue between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches and in other ecumenical dialogues. In 1999, We are All Brothers, a collection of his writings and speeches was published and a second volume was published in 2006. He helped initiate and organize the Orientale Lumen conferences in Washington, DC, which have met annually since 1997. He has been a plenary speaker and led many of the prayer services at these ecumenical meetings. He was a founder and was the Orthodox co-patron of the Society of St. John Chrysostom and co-founder of the Kievan Church Study Group.
Archbishop Vsevolod also served as a representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the on-going diaolgue with the Roman Catholic Church and has participated in numerous ecumenical conferences. He was chosen to represent the Ecumenical Patriarch at the Jerusalem Conference of Science and Religion, at the Milan Conference of Inter-Church Relations and was a member of the official Patriarchal delegation to Rome for the Feast Day of Sts. Peter and Paul in the Jubilee Year of 2000. He was received in several private audiences by the late Pope John II and Pope Benedict XVI. He represented the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA in continued discussions with the various factions of Ukrainian Orthodoxy in Ukraine throughout the last ten years of his life.
The Archbishop was fluent in several European languages. He was a member of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Social Workers, Diplomat in Clinical Psychotherapy. In March 2003, President Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine awarded Archbishop Vsevolod the “Order of Merit – 3rd Degree” for his efforts to achieve Orthodox Christian unity in Ukraine, for his contributions to inter-confessional relations and his charitable activity. As further proof of his much appreciated efforts, a second President of Ukraine, Viktor Yuschenko, recently awarded the Archbishop with the “Order of Merit – 2nd Degree” in honor of his 80th birthday.
Archbishop Vsevolod sponsored several theology students from Ukraine in pursuing graduate education in Theology in Greece and other countries. He was a member of the Council of Bishops and Metropolitan Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and particularly enjoyed spending time with the youth of the Church – especially during the St. Thomas Sunday-Provody Pilgrimage at South Bound Brook each year and at the Jr. Ukrainian Orthodox League of the USA annual conventions.
His Eminence fell seriously ill only a few months ago. He was well enough to leave the hospital to participate in his St. Volodymyr Cathedral, Chicago, IL celebration of his 80th birthday and the 20th anniversary of his episcopal consecration on 9 December. The strain of the difficult treatments for his illness, however, proved to be too much for his heart and he fell asleep peacefully in the Lord on the evening of 16 December 2007. He will be remembered always by those whose lives he touched.
He is survived by his sister, Ilaria of San Diego, CA, her children – Juliana Krejer, Los Angeles, CA, Deana Krejer-Mush, wife of Mark and their children Blade and Conall, and Christina Krejer, San Diego, CA – as well as several family members in Ukraine.
In lieu of flowers the Church and family request that donations be made in the Archbishop’s memory to any of the following charities, or to one of an individual’s choice:
THE UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA EDUCATION AND HISTORY COMPLEX
THE UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA ORPAHANAGE ADOPTION PROGRAM
THE SIMON PETLURA LIBRARY RENOVATION AND MEMORIAL, PARIS, FRANCE
CONDOLENCES MAY BE SENT TO:
Regular Mail: Consistory Administrative Offices
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
P. O. Box 495
South Bound Brook, NJ 08880
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
135 Davidson Avenue
Somerset, NJ 08873
Should there be a need, you may contact His Eminence Archbishop Antony at 732-356-0090.
All expressions of sympathy will be shared with our clergy and faithful and most especially with the members of Archbishop Vsevolod’s family.
O God of spirits and of all flesh, Who has trampled down death; You have overthrown the devil and have given Life to Your world: now give rest, Lord, to the soul of Your departed servant Archbishop Vsevolod, in a place of light, a place of refreshment and a place of repose, where there is no sickness, sighing nor sorrow. As You are a Good God, Who loves mankind, pardon every sin, which he has committed, whether by word or by deed or by thought, for there is no man who lives and has not sinned. You alone are sinless, Your Righteousness is Eternal and Your Word is Truth. For You are the Resurrection, the Life and the Repose of your newly presented servant, Archbishop Vsevolod, Christ our God and we give glory, together with Your Father, Who is Eternal and Your All-Holy, Good and Life-Creating Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen!
In our Lord’s abundant Love,
† Constantine, Metropolitan
† Antony, Archbishop