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Meletius (Zaborosky) of Harbin and Manchuria

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His Eminence, Meletius (Zaborosky) of Harbin and Manchuria was a hierarch of the Church of Russia who was among those who migrated to Manchuria as a result of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. In Manchuria, he was named Metropolitan of the new diocese of Harbin and Manchuria of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.


Mikhail Zaborovsky was born on July 7, 1869 in Tomsk Province, in western Siberia, into a family of a priest. Mikhail attended Tomsk Seminary, graduating in 1889. After having married he became a member of the clergy and was ordained a priest on October 8, 1889. In 1891, his wife died. He had become a student at the Kazan Theological Academy in Kazan, Russia and was graduated in 1899 with a PhD in Theology. While attended the Kazan Academy, Fr. Mikhail entered the monastic life and was tonsured a monk with the name Meletius in 1898. Upon graduation from the academy Fr. Meletius was appointed deputy overseer of the Sarapulsk Theological School. The following year, 1900, he was promoted to the position of headmaster of the Biysk Missionary Catechetic School.

In 1904, Fr. Meletius was raised to the dignity of archimandrite. In 1906, he was appointed rector of Tomsk Theological Seminary. On November 21, 1908, Archimandrite Meletius was [[consecration of a bishop|consecrated Bishop of Barnaul, a vicar to the Diocesan Bishop of Tomsk. His consecration was held in the city of Tomsk and officiated by Abp. Macarius of Tomsk with the assistance of Bp. Euthymius of Yenisei and Bishop Innocent of Biysk. On February 23, 1912, Bp. Meletius was appointed Bishop of Yakutsk and Vilyuysk in the eastern part of Siberia. On January 26, 1916, he was appointed Bishop of Trans-Baikal and Nerchinsk in central Siberia.

With the defeat of the White Russian army in Siberia, Bp. Meletius migrated with other clergy, people, and remnants of the White army to Manchuria. In 1920, Bp. Meletius became Bishop of Harbin. In 1931, Bp. Meletius was elevated by the Synod of Bishops of ROCOR to the rank of Archbishop of Trans-Baikal and Nerchinsk with his residence in the city of Harbin. After the repose of Metr. Methodius in 1931, Abp. Meletius was installed as his successor in a new Diocese of Harbin. Abp. Meletius was raised to the rank of metropolitan in 1939 by the Synod of Bishop of ROCOR.

During World War II, the Japanese forces occupying Manchuria attempted to force members of the Russian community to bow before the Japanese goddess Amaterasu. In defense, Metr. Meletius and other members of the Orthodox clergy instituted programs to strengthen the faith of the people. The programs included conducting pastoral theological courses, forming a Theological Faculty of the St Vladimir Institute, a Theological Academy, and a Brotherhood of St John the Theologian that published liturgical books. The clergy also formed relief centers for the poor. Metr. Meletius’ efforts also included establishing four monasteries in Manchuria.

Metr. Meletius reposed on April 6, 1946 in Harbin and was buried at the missionary Church of the Holy Dormition.

Preceded by:
Bishop of Barnaul
vicar to the Bishop of Tomsk

Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Bishop of Yakutsk and Vilyuysk
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Archbishop of Trans-Baikal and Nerchinsk
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Methodius (Gerasimov)
Metropolitan of Harbin

Succeeded by:


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