October 10, 2013

Short diary entry today. I’m driving up to Saint Tikhon’s Seminary in the morning to be there in time for the 75th anniversary celebrations early this afternoon and into the evening. Father Eric Tosi (Secretary) and Melanie Ringa (Treasurer) are driving in too. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon is already there.

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Natalia Sukhanova
Natalia Sukhanova and Archivist Alexis Liberovsky
Abo Benjamin
Archbishop Benjamin with Council of the Japanese Orthodox Church (c. 1952)

Over the past few days Archivist Alexis Liberovsky has been helping a visiting scholar researching a unique section of the OCA archives.  Natalia Sukhanova is from Russia, where she studied at the Moscow State University and defended her Master’s thesis at the Institute of World History of the Russian Academy of Sciences. She went on to live in Japan and learn Japanese and is now a doctoral student at Tokyo’s Waseda University. She is writing her PhD dissertation (in Japanese) on the history of the Orthodox Church in Japan. Her trip to OCA’s archives is to research the ties between the Japanese Orthodox Church and the American Metropolia, which after the Second World War (1946-1970) oversaw the Church’s life. The Metropolia sent bishops to Japan, beginning with Archbishop Benjamin (Basalyga), the first American born Orthodox bishop, who served there 1946-52. He was succeeded by Archbishop Ireney (Bekish) who later went on to become Metropolitan after Metropolitan Leonty’s repose. Retired Bishop Seraphim (Sigrist) served in Japan as Bishop of Sendai (1971-87). A number of the Japanese clergy (and laity) also studied in the US at OCA seminaries. In 1970, as part of the agreement on autocephaly, the Japanese Orthodox Church became autonomous under the Moscow Patriarchate.