I had the privilege to know – and be ordained – by the late Archbishop Vsevolod of Scopelos of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. I met him for the first time in New Jersey at the UOC-USA headquarters when I was studying at St Tikhon’s. A fellow student had been ordained by him and thought that in view of my interests (I was writing His Broken Body at the time) I should meet someone like Vsevolod who was involved in Orthodox-Catholic theological dialogue. It was an interesting meeting, and his first questions, rather unusually, was “Where do you meet your wife?” I answered: “At Mount Thabor monastery in California!” His eyes lit up, and he perceived my answer to be providential for he has great affection for Fr Boniface who was the founder of the monastery. This was the beginning of my relationship with this endearing bishop, who eventually ordained me to the deaconate and presbyterate in August 2004.
Because of the ‘events in Ukraine’ (which are now so divisive and have brought about a major schism in the Orthodox communion), I realize that Archbishop Vsevolod was a Ukrainian at heart but in my experience first and foremost a pastor and laborer of Christian unity. He would undoubtedly grieve of the current situation which has major his beloved Ukrainian the center and tragic symbol of Orthodox disintegration.
When requested a release to the Orthodox Church in America to be able to relocate to Eureka where there was a parish had a vacancy. He wisely accepted and carefully guided my ‘administrative transfer.’ A few months later, I called him to discuss the release of my New Testament translation (dedicated to him) and learned that he had passed away.
May his memory be eternal and his intercession unto peace and healing!
Archbishop Vsevolod (Maidanski) of Skopelos (1927-2007)
Majdanski may also be spelt Maidanski, Majdansky, Maidansky.
Vsevolod Kolomijcew-Majdanski, son of Protopresbyter Wasylij and Panimatka Maria Kolomijcew-Majdanski, was born in Kalisz, Poland on 10 December, 1927. Vsevolod received his elementary and secondary education in Poland, including the “gymnasium” level.
In 1945, the family fled westwards from the approaching Soviet army. The Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Western Europe at the time did not have authority in Germany, so it was Metropolitan Seraphim (Lade) of the ROCOR who looked after the interests of Constantinople there, and it was he who provided letters of safe transit for the Orthodox clergy in Poland fleeing the Soviets. The Majdanski family took 5 months in 1945 to arrive in Luxembourg, and they were able eventually to settle in Germany for a time.
In Germany, Vsevolod continued and completed his theological studies at the Dillingen Theological University.
In 1949, the Ukrainian Orthodox parishes in Australia were being organised, and the faithful wrote to several priests located in Germany (Protopresbyter Wasylij Majdanski being one of them), and asked that they consider moving to Australia.
Emigration to Australia, 1949
Father Wasylij 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 the Sydney and Melbourne Universities in Australia.
The family hoped in time to be able to move to the USA, where a large Ukrainian community had developed following the end of World War II. His mother reposed in 1952 in Australia.
Emigration to the USA, 1955
In 1955, Vsevolod and his sister received visa-opportunities to emigrate to the USA. His sister emigrated first, but Vsevolod remained in Australia to complete his undergraduate education. Afterwards, he and Protopresbyter Wasylij also moved to the USA, and took up residence in the centre of the Ukrainian community in New York City.
Vsevolod began his graduate studies at Yeshiva University in New York City. He graduated in 1964, and he was appointed to the Medical Faculty of Einstein College as a psychotherapist specialising 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 institutionalised youth at the Jewish Board of Guardians. He was then appointed as Principal Associate in Medicine at the Medical School of Yeshiva University.
Protopresbyter Wasylij Maidanski reposed in 1961. This brought Vsevolod more intimately into the life of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA. In 1985, he more strongly felt the call of the Lord to serve Him. Metropolitan Andrei (Kuschak), who led the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople) is the one who personally called him.
In 1985, it was Metropolitan Andrei (Kuschak) who ordained Vsevolod to the Holy Diaconate and then to the Holy Priesthood.
The Priest Vsevolod served at the metropolitan’s side for 2 years.
Monastic tonsure, 1987
In 1987, the priest Vsevolod Maidanski was tonsured to be a monk and given the name Vsevolod.
He was also elevated to the dignity of archimandrite.
Metropolitan Andrew reposed in that same year. Archimandrite Vsevolod was nominated by the diocesan assembly to become his successor, and the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Patriarchate of Constantinople elected him to become a bishop, and the successor to Metropolitan Andrei.
Episcopal ordination, 1987
Archimandrite Vsevolod (Maidanski) was ordained to the Holy Episcopate (with the blessing of the Patriarch of Constantinople, Demetrios I (Papadopoulos)) on 27 September 1987, at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, New York City, by Archbishop Iakovos (Coucouzis), Metropolitan Silas (Koskinas), Bishop Athenagoras (Aneste) and Bishop Philip (Koutoufas).
Bishop Vsevolod was assigned to be the Titular Bishop of Skopelos.
From 1987 through 1996, Bishop Vsevolod served as the Prime Hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America (Ecumenical Patriarchate). He developed a closer relationship with the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, and he was supportive of the invitation by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA to come under the omophor 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 their desire and efforts to reach the long dreamed of goal of finally uniting the two jurisdictions.
Unification of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America (Ecumenical Patriarchate) and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, 1996
At the same time as he was chosen and enthroned, he was also elevated to the dignity of archbishop by the Sobor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.
In 2000, Bishop Vsevolod (Maidanski) was formally elevated to the dignity of archbishop by the Holy Synod of Constantinople.
During this time, it happened that most of the parishes in Canada which had previously belonged to his responsibility were transferred to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. One of them was transferred to the American Carpatho-Rusyn Orthodox Diocese.
From the time of his episcopal ordination, Archbishop Vsevolod had been active in the ecumenical dialogue between the Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church, and in numerous other ecumenical dialogues. The book, “We are All Brothers”, a collection of his writings and speeches, was published in 1999, and a second volume was published in 2006.
He helped to initiate and organise the Orientale Lumen conferences in Washington, DC, which have met annually since 1997. He was a plenary-session speaker, and he led many of the prayer services at these ecumenical meetings.
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 he was a member of the official Patriarchal delegation to Rome for the Feast Day of Saints Peter and Paul in the Jubilee Year of 2000. He was received in several private audiences by the late Pope John Paul II and by 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 10 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, Diploma 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.
Then Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko awarded him with the “Order of Merit – 2nd Degree” in honour of his 80th birthday.
Archbishop Vsevolod (Maidanski) 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. He particularly enjoyed spending time with the youth of the Church – especially during the Saint Thomas Sunday-Provody Pilgrimage at South Bound Brook each year, and at the annual convention of the Junior Ukrainian Orthodox League of the USA.
In 2007, Archbishop Vsevolod fell seriously ill, although he managed to attend the celebration of his 80th birthday and the 20th anniversary of his episcopal ordination on 9 December. Nevertheless, the strain of the difficult treatments for his illness proved to be too much for his heart.
Archbishop Vsevolod (Maidanski) reposed in the Lord on 16 December, 2007 in Chicago. The Service for the Burial of a Hierarch was served at Saint Volodymyr’s Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, after which his body was transported to the Saint Andrew Memorial Church in South Bound Brook, New Jersey (headquarters of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church), where the Divine Liturgy was served before the interment there.
— Bishop of Skopelos 1987-2000.
— Archbishop of Skopelos 2000-2007. Preceded by : ___. Succeeded by : Bishop Pangratios (Dubas).
— Prime Hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America (EP) 1987-1996. Preceded by : ___. Succeeded by : Union with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America within the Ecumenical Patriarchate.