Metropolitan Theophilus (Pashkovsky)
Metropolitan Theophilus was born Theodore Nicolaevich Pashkovsky on February 6, 1874 into a priestly family in the province of Kiev. He received his theological education at the Kiev Theological Seminary Preparatory School. While still a student at the school the young Pashkovsky developed a serious bone infection which doctors believed was incurable. Father John of Kronstadt (later Saint John of Kronstadt) while visiting the school once prayed over him and he was miraculously cured.
The young Pashkovsky in gratitude and appreciation of his cure promised to become a novice in the Kiev-Pechersk Laora- accomplishing this in 1894. While there his life changed. Bishop Nicholas of North America visited the Laura (Monastery) in search of workers for the young American Mission.
The young Pashkovsky was there upon invite to America and assigned upon his arrival as Secretary of the Mission Administration in San Francisco in 1894.
Soon after he married a young lady of Serbian extraction from the large Serbian community in California and was subsequently ordained to the Holy Priesthood on December 4, 1897.
In 1906 he returned to Russia to work with Archbishop Tikhon (later St. Tikhon of Moscow) while the latter was Archbishop of the Warsaw-Vilna Diocese. During WWI he served as a military chaplain and later along with Dr. Basil M. Bensen a renowned Professor of Church History, he worked in the YMCA Famirte Relief Program on the Volga River.
After the Revolution on advice from St. Patriarch Tikhon, he returned to America where he was tonsured a monk and consecrated Bishop of Chicago on December 3, 1922. His wife had died in Russia during the war.
Bishop Theophilus remained Bishop of Chicago until he was transferred as Bishop of San Francisco in 1931.
Following the death of Metropolitan Platon (of Rozhdestrensky), Bishop Theophilus was elected by the 5th All-American Council (SOBOR) in Cleveland in 1934 as the Metropolitan of All American and Canada. Under his guidance St. Vladimir’s Seminary as well as St. Tikhon’s Seminary were founded and chartered. Under his guidance a network of Sunday Schools with a prescribed program of religious education was established in our parishes. Understanding his death was near, Metropolitan Theophilus summoned Archbishop Leonty (Turkevish) to his bedside in San Francisco on June 27, 1950 to give final instructions for the future of the American Church.