Nikolai (Sayama), (born 1914), Archbishop of Ramenskoe, Vicar of Moscow Diocese (retired), superior
of St Sofia Monastery in Chiba.
In the world: Sayama Peter Dairoku (佐山ぺトル大麓)
He was born on November 22, 1914, in the city of Taihoku (now Taipei)
on the island of Taiwan where his father, a sociologist by specialty, was sent
from Japan for work together with all of his family. Shortly after the birth of
her son, his mother bringing the newborn child with herself returned to Japan
and settled in the town of Miyazu near Kyoto where in an Orthodox church the
future hierarch was baptized receiving the name of Peter.
Afterwards, the whole family moved to Tokyo where Peter attended high school and
even then had a firm intention of becoming an Orthodox priest. After finishing
school, he continued to the University at the Faculty of Theology.
In 1941, he finished Tokyo Spiritual Seminary under the supervision of
Metropolitan Sergius (Tihomirov) and intended to continue his theological
education but the ensuing war interrupted these plans.
After the end of World War II, the majority of Orthodox parishes in Japan found
themselves under the jurisdiction of the American Metropolia, so in 1954 Peter
Sayama was sent to St Vladimir Seminary in New York.
In October of 1956, he was elevated to the rank of deacon and in November the same
year - to the rank of presbyter and was appointed an assistant to the chief
priest of the Seminary’s church.
In 1959, Fr Peter graduated from the Seminary and soon after wishing more
thoroughly to get acquainted with the fundamentals of Orthodox Faith he ventured
to Greece where he lived half a year in Athens visiting during that time many
churches in Greece and Mount Athos.
In 1961, Fr Peter returned to Japan and in August the same year during a stay in
Japan of a delegation headed by Archbishop Sergius (Larin) he came under the
jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate.
In 1962, he went to Russia and was tonsured a monk under the name of Nikolai on
September 1st in the Holy Trinity Sergius Lavra.
On August 28, 1966, in the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Leningrad he
was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite by Metropolitan Nikodim (Rotin) of
Leningrad and Ladoga and subsequently got appointed a caretaker of the
Patriarchate’s parishes in Japan.
On December 10, 1967, in the Holy Trinity Cathedral of St Alexander
Nevsky Lavra in Leningrad he was elevated to the rank of Bishop of Tokyo and
In 1968, by a decision of the Holy Synod Bishop Nikolai was included in the
delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church to the Fourth Assembly of the World
Council of Churches in Uppsala. In the same year he took part on the behalf of
the Russian Orthodox Church in the Third All-Christian Peace Congress in Prague.
In 1969 he became part of the Synodal Commission dedicated to the issues of
As from 19th of April 1970 when the parishes then being under the
jurisdiction of the American Metropolia came under the jurisdiction of the
Moscow Patriarchate and thus constituted the Autonomous Orthodox Church of
Japan, Vladika Nikolai became Bishop of Mozhaysk and was appointed rector of
the Legation of the Russian Orthodox Church in Japan.
As a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church he took part in the World
Conference “Religion and Peace” in Kyoto (October 16 - 22, 1970).
From September 16, 1971, he became a member of the delegation of the
Russian Orthodox Church to the Fourth All-Christian Peace Congress in Prague
(September 30 - October 3, 1971).
On April 17, 1975, he was appointed member of the delegation of the
Russian Orthodox Church to the Fifth Assembly of the World Council of Churches
On July 16th, he was elevated to the rank of Archbishop.
On December 25, 1986, he was relieved from the duty of rector of the
Patriarchate’s Legation in Tokyo.
As from May 16, 1996, he is Archbishop of Ramenskoe, Vicar of Moscow Diocese.
Now he is superior of St Sofia Monastery in the town of Sanmu, Chiba prefecture,
When on November 23, 2004, in St Sofia Monastery the 90th
jubilee of His Eminence Archbishop Nikolai was solemnly celebrated, he was the
oldest hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.