中文 | Русский | ortho-rus.ru
Flavian (Gorodetsky)
English Translation by Katherine Ilachinski

Chinese seal, 1884

Surname, name, patronymic: Gorodetsky, Nikolai

Rank: Metropolitan

Church affiliation: Russian Orthodox Church


July, 1882
photo courtesy of
Bp Seraphim (Tsujinaga) of Sendai

Flavian (Gorodetsky, Nikolai), Metropolitan of Kiev and Galich.
Born on July 26, 1840 in the family of a nobleman in the city of Oryol. In the fourth year after his birth, he lost his father, and at age 10, his mother. His early education was provided at home by his aunt. Secondary education received at the Oryol gymnasium, which he entered directly at grade four in 1853. Upon completing the gymnasium, he entered Moscow University's law faculty, where he began studying jurisprudence with great zeal. The deep religious feeling instilled in him from a tender age, induced him to abandon worldly pursuits and, in the fourth year, to decide to devote himself to the Church as a monk. Withdrawing from this course, he walked 90 versts on foot to the St. Nicholas-Speshinsky monastery, which accepted him as a novice and appointed him to manual obedience in the kitchen and refectory.
On December 10, 1863 he entered Moscow's St. Simeon Stavropighial Monastery as a novice.

On December 23, he was blessed to wear an altar server's robe (stikhar).
In the beginning he fulfilled the manual labors with deep Christian humility and then was appointed to higher obedience in a temple, where, as a sacristan he was obliged to keep the temple and its utensils clean, wipe the dust and sweep away rubbish.
In 1866 he became the private secretary to Archimandrite Gury, who was appointed the priest-in-charge of Russian ambassadorial Church in Rome.
The same year on February 17th he was taken monastic vows, and on February 18th he was ordained to the rank of hierodeacon.

Owing to a break in the relations of Russian government with a papal court Archimandrite Gury and Hierodeacon Flavian have left Rome and went to Naples, and from there to the city of Kazan where Archimandrite Gury has been appointed to faculty of bishop of Cheboksary, vicar of the Kazan diocese, with the assignment to administer Christ Transfiguration monastery.

Here in 1867 Hierodeacon Flavian became a part of the named monastery and on April 9th was elevated to the rank of hieromonk.
On February 15, 1868 he was transferred at his own will to Simferopol and became a brother in the brotherhood of Tavricheskogo archpriest house, where he carried out numerous duties assigned to him by the spiritual leaders.
In 1871 he performed duties of the inspector of classes and teacher of God's Law in Tavricheskoj eparchial female school, where he gratuitously taught geography and was the confessor in the archpriest house.

On April 16, 1873 he became the abbot of Bakhchsarai Dormition monastery.
On June 6th of the same year he was appointed a member of the Beijing mission. With apostolic zeal in the course of ten years he was carrying out here his missionary service. First of all he studied with eagerness the Chinese language, both colloquial, and written. Then, by request of the chief of mission, he has taken the trouble of translating into the Chinese language prayer books and books of the religious-moral contents, making at the same time original compositions useful to the affairs of mission. He has worked a lot in putting in order left to him by Archimandrite Palladius materials for the Chinese-Russian dictionary, subsequently published. Besides these works, having familiarized himself with Chinese customs and beliefs, he conducted conversations with Chinese pagans.

On January 2, 1879, he has been appointed the chief of the Beijing spiritual mission and he was elevated to the rank of archimandrite.
Owing to his untiring works and diligence, the divine service began to be made in the Chinese language. The Orthodox flock in China began to increase every year.
In 1882, Archimandrite Flavian was in Japan with Bishop Nikolai for ordination of one Chinese to the priesthood. The ten years' missionary service being full of difficulties and deprivations, has tired, however the self-denying worker, and he asked the Most Holy Synod for necessary rest.

In 1884 after returning to Russia he had enlisted as a member of the brotherhood of Alexander-Nevski Lavra.
On February 2, 1885 he was elevated to the rank of bishop of Aksajsk, vicar of the Don diocese. (In BES t. I, p. 768, the year of stay on this faculty-1880 is wrongly specified) From June 29, 1885 - he was bishop of Lyublinsky, vicar of the Kholmski-Warsaw diocese.
From December 14, 1891 - he was bishop Kholmsky and Warsaw. Here he combated militant Catholicism, highly holding the banner of Orthodoxy.
On May 15, 1892 he was elevated to the rank of archbishop of Kholmsky and Warsaw.
From 1892 to 1894 he was present in the Holy Synod.
On May 14, 1896 he was presented with the ornamental panagia.
From February 21, 1898 - he was archbishop of Kartalinsky and Kakhetinsky - Ekzarkh of Georgia. In the same year was presented with a diamond cross for wearing the klobuk/head gear and confirmed to become a permanent member of the Holy Synod.
1898-1899 - he was honorary member of the Spiritual Academies of Kazan and St. Petersburg.
From November 10, 1901 - he was archbishop of Kharkov and Akhtyrsk. On this faculty he has stayed only fourteen months, but in this short time did quite a lot. He reformed the eparchial orphanage. Religious-educational activity of clergy was amplified. Many preaching groups have arisen; in many parts of the city priestly lectures have started; the religious-educational brotherhood was founded. He attached special significance to canons, grandeur and thoughtfulness in fulfillment of all church services and prayers. Applying cares to development of church-school affairs in the diocese, Vladyka was benevolently concerned about secular school, showing affectionate care and care about it, about teachers and students. He paid attention also to Kharkov University, participating in its celebrations and serving divine services at the university chapel. As far as spiritually-educational institutions are concerned they had his special attention and goodwill. Vladyka promoted the improvement of education and educational affairs in them, cared about improvement of their maintenance, cut down excessive expenses for them, helping churches and clergy, implemented controls and strictness in the reporting of expenses. Often and assiduously he was serving in their churches, he was present during lessons, examinations and solemn assemblies. Under his tutelage, the sisterhood in the name of the Great Martyr Barbara has been opened, with the goal to render material aid to poor students of eparchial female school.

From December 8, 1902 - honorary member of the Kiev Spiritual Academy.
On February 1, 1903 he was elevated to the rank of metropolitan and presented a diamond cross for wearing the mitre (head gear).
From February 1, 1903 - metropolitan of Kiev and Galitsky also holy archimandrite of Kievo-Pecherskoj Dormition Monastery.
On August 29, 1911 presented with the right of precarrying of a cross during divine service. He died on November 4, 1915 from asthma in Kiev Monastery.
He was a great hierarch of Russian Church. He was extremely kind. He helped everybody; literally, he could not refuse anybody in providing material aid.
In Kiev they have appointed certain days for reception of deprived: from morning to evening people came to him, distribution of allowances was generous.
In Petrograd there were no days appointed for reception of poor, that is why, when a day during a week was free from sessions of Holy Synod, the Kiev farmstead (on Vasilevsky island) where metropolitan lived, was besieged by the poor. For his righteous life before his death it has been announced in vision to him the future of destiny of the Russian Orthodox Church; about which at the time has been printed in the Synod newspaper "the All-Russia Church-Public Bulletin" in November 1915 issues. He esteemed very much Metropolitan Paul (Konyuskevich) of Tobolsk, concerning the glorification of which he raised the petition before the Holy Synod in 1914-1915 years. It is very significant that Metropolitan Flavian has died in the same day in which Metropolitan Paul passed away.


Speech at his meeting in the Kievo-Sofia cathedral, on February 25, 1903. "TKDA" 1903, March, pg. 1.
Speech in Kievo-Pechersky Monastery on February 25, 1907 "TKDA" 1903, March, pg. 5.
"The message to pastors of the Kiev diocese"."TKDA" 1905, October, pg. 133.
"Speeches during entrances of tsars into Kievo-Sofia cathedral on August 29, 1911." Attachment to "Church News" 1911, № 38, pg. 1557.
"A word to clergy of the Kiev diocese"."Attachment to "Church News" 1914, № 33, pg. 1447.
"The speech told at delivery of a staff to newly consecrated bishop of Kanevsk Vasily, first vicar of the Kiev diocese on August 6, 1914"."Attachment to "Church News" 1914, № 34, pg. 1499. "TKDA" 1914, September-October, pg. 1.
Translations into the Chinese language:
"Instructions of the way to the Kingdom of Heaven" by Right Reverend Innokenty.
"A summary of Christian belief", authored by Fr N.Volubovym.

The literature:

"Church News" 1891, pg. 403, 1892, № 20, pg. 176, 1896, № 19-20, pg. 160, 1898, № 9, pg. 43, 1901, № 46, pg. 375, 1903, № 6, pg. 37, 1910, № 22, pg. 240, 1911, № 39, pg. 307, 1913, № 18-19, pg. 179.
"Attachment to "Church News." 1910, № 6, pg. 242-250, 1914, № 34, pg. 1499.
Bulgakov, pp. 1395, 1399, 1400, 1403, 1416.
BES volume I, column 686, 768, volume. II, column 1330, 1331, 2253, 2272, 2289.
BEL volume IV, stb. 731, 732, volume X, stb. 612-618.
"Russian. Palomnik(one who goes to venerate holy places)" 1889, № 44, pp. 521-522, 1910, № 9, pp. 141, 142, 1910, № 26, pg. 422, 1911, № 11, pp. 162, 1911, № 39, pg. 621, 1915, № 52, pg. 831, 832.
"Russian Inok" 1911, March, issue V, pg. 35, 1911, October, issue 44, pg. 76, 1915, № 21, pp. 1265-1273, 1915, № 22, pg. 1317, 1915, № 23, pp. 1386-1389, 1915, № 24, pp. 1438-1443.
"All Russia Church Public Bulletin" 1915, November.
"Church Bulletin" 1891, № 40, pg. 636, 1891, № 51-52, pg. 816, 1908, № 27, pg. 841, 1908, № 30, pg. 936, 1908, № 38, pg. 1191.
"Orthodox Conversation" 1899, November, pg. 180, 1900, July-August, pg. 16, 1905, July-August, pg. 8, 1914, November, pg. 4.
J.M. Cunningham, A vanquished Hope passim
"Orthodox calendar" 1918, pg. 22
"Missionary calendar" 1907, pg. 139
"Spiritual Bulletin Georgian Ekzarkhat" 1901, № 23-24
Iliodor, pp. 104, 107
Polivanov A.A. "From a diary and memoirs 1907-1916", M.,1929, vol. I, pp. 1-240
Denisov, pg. 783
Bagretsov "Member of Holy Synod Right Reverend Flavian, archbishop of Kharkov and Akhtyrsky and his elevation to faculty of the Kharkov diocese". With attachment of his portrait. Kharkov, 1901
"Structure of Saint Orthodox all of Russia Synod and Russian Church Hierarchies for 1910", pp. 3, 24-25
"Lists of bishops of all of Russia Hierarchy" SPB, 1896, № 486, pp. 72-73
"Sunday", 1900, № 31, pg. 369
"Rest of Christians." August-September, 1908, pg. 59
"Field" 1892, № 47,pg. 1040
"Red Archive" 1936, vol. 4 (77), pg. 201
"News of Kazaks Diocese" 1885, № 5-6, pg. 89, 1885, № 14, pg. 355, 1907, № 40, pg. 1239, 1911, № 9, pg. 271, 1912, № 41, pg. 1242, 1913, № 1, pg. 22, 1913, № 39, pg. 1174
Teodorovich T.P. "To the fortieth anniversary of priesthood", part I, pg. 107
N. Rklickij, Life IV, 35
A. Levitin - V. Savrov, Historical studies I, 68
P, Hauptmann, Die Katechismen der russisch-orthodoxen Kirche, 96
F. Heyer, Die orthodoxe Kirche 19, 25, 28
ZMP 1950, 1, 60 : 1911 weihte er die Nikolaj-Kirche im Pokrovskij-Frauenkloster
M Evlogij, “Road of my life" 91, 108, 195, 205f, 214, 235, 242, 272

Posts and places of service

Russian spiritual mission in China

6.Jun.1873 19th Century - 1879 19th Century

The chief
Russian spiritual mission in China

2.Jan.1879 19th Century - 1884 19th Century


02/14.Feb.1885 19th Century - 24.Jun/06.Jul.1885 19th Century


14/26.Dec.1891 19th Century - 21.Feb/05.Mar.1898 19th Century

Member of the Holy Synod
The Most Holy Administrative Synod

1898 19th Century - 4.Nov.1915 20th Century


01/14.Feb.1903 20th Century - 04/17.Nov.1915 20th Century