July 15, 2013
Nanuet, NY: The 35th Anniversary of the Repose of Archbishop Andrei
(Rymarenko) of Rockland was prayerfully commemorated in Novo-Diveevo
Friday, July 12, on the feast of the Holy Leaders of the Apostles
Sts. Peter & Paul, marked the 35th anniversary of the repose of the
ever-memorable Archbishop Andrei (Rymarenko) of Rockland, vicar of
the Eastern American Diocese. As an archpriest, Fr. Adrian (in
monasticism Andrew) founded
Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY. Archbishop Nikon
recorded this history in his compilation, "My Work in the Vineyard
The idea to found of a Holy Dormition Convent – a "New Diveevo" ‒ in
the United States was first conceived in 1946, with the arrival in
America of new Russian émigrés after the Second World War, by
Bishops Seraphim (Ivanov) and Nikon (Rklitsky). Certain preparatory
measures were taken by the Diocesan Administration of the North
American & Canadian Diocese, but the founding of the convent itself
was realized in the summer of 1949, with the arrival from Europe of
Archpriest Adrian Rymarenko, now Archbishop of Rockland, with a
group of loyal collaborators. It was namely Archpriest Rymarenko who
was tasked by Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko) with founding this
convent under the supervision of his vicar, Bishop Nikon of Florida.
Adrian accomplished this undertaking with great success, approaching
his task with zeal and an experience and talent that came naturally
to him. He himself came from a lay background; his father was an
industrialist in Russia. Fr. Adrian received his education in a
Realschule (an advanced
secondary school – ed.), as well as at the St. Petersburg
Polytechnic Institute. He was received into the priesthood in
accordance with his own spiritual wishes, and during the first years
of the Bolshevik Revolution, at a time of brutal repression of the
Church by the Bolsheviks. While still a student in St. Petersburg,
Fr. Adrian occupied himself with religious issues and was a student
of the renowned theologian Fr. Ioann Yegorov; his spiritual
formation was further influenced by the Optina Elders, with whom he
corresponded. He had a close relationship with Elder Anatoly, a
disciple of Elder Ambrose, with Elder Nektary and with the last
Optina Elder – Monk Vikenty, who, after the destruction of the
Optina Hermitage by the Bolsheviks, lived with Fr. Adrian for some
time. It was these gracious acquaintances, as well as Fr. Adrian’s
natural gifts, that gave him an opportunity to be an experienced
spiritual leader and outstanding administrator and organizer. After
the repose of Fr. Adrian’s matushka, also a remarkable Russian
woman, Eugenia Grigorievna, on October 1/14, 1963, Fr. Adrian
accepted monastic tonsure with the name Andrew, and in 1968 was
consecrated Bishop of Rockland, vicar of the Diocese of Eastern
American & New York. On Bishop Andrei’s 80th birthday, March 15/28,
1973, for his outstanding accomplishments, he was elevated to the
rank of Archbishop of Rockland.
Under Fr. Adrian’s direction, the "Novo-Diveevo" convent underwent
many stages of growth and development… Among Fr. Adrian’s most
active assistants were his matushka, Eugenia Grigorievna, and his
longtime and loyal collaborators, who left Russia with him: Prince
D.V. Mishetsky, Dr. A.P. Timofievich, and choir conductor P.P.
Didenko. Later, here in America, Fr. Adrian would attract another
young man, who is now an Archpriest at the convent and his
irreplaceable assistant – Fr. Alexander Fedorowski…
"Novo-Diveevo" Convent is located approximately 25 miles from New
York, in the Spring Valley region, and is a large Russian spiritual
center. It comprises close to 40 nuns and novices, and 40 residents
in a home for the elderly. The convent has two wonderful churches –
a small one in the house first acquired by the convent, and another
of medium size, built by the monastics. Among the multitude of holy
items kept in its churches, the most remarkable are: an icon of the
Vladimir Mother of God, smuggled out of Optina Hermitage, and a
portrait of Venerable Seraphim of Sarov in the smaller church, which
was painted during the saint’s lifetime. The full cycle of divine
services is served daily at the convent, while on Sundays and feast
days many of the faithful gather there. The convent is also home to
a quickly growing Russian cemetery, now numbering over 2,000 graves.
The real estate acquired by the convent over the years is now valued
at several hundred thousand dollars.
One – no less remarkable – feat of Archbishop Andrei’s was the
construction at the convent in 1972 of a large building to handle
the needs of the convent and serve as a home for elderly women… Now
half of this spacious building accommodates the nuns, while in the
other reside these elderly women, who are grateful to God and
Archbishop Andrei for taking care of them in their old age, and all
financial obligations are cared for.
It bears noting that, for all of his great accomplishments,
Archbishop Andrei was not a well man – in recent years, he cannot
even perform the divine services.
So it was that the evaluation given of Archbishop Andrei, then
Archpriest Rymarenko, upon his arrival in America in 1949, that "his
health is poor, and he is in no condition to undertake active work,"
was brilliantly disproved, while the words of God were confirmed:
"for My strength is made perfect in weakness" (II Corinthians 12:9).
the very day of the 35th anniversary of Archbishop Andrei’s blessed
repose, the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, His
Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, came
to Novo-Diveevo. The First Hierarch celebrated the Divine Liturgy,
followed by a panihida at the grave of Archbishop Andrei. His
Eminence was co-served by convent cleric Archpriest Alexander
Fedorowski, diocesan secretary Archpriest Serge Lukianov, convent
Protodeacon Sergei Arlievsky, and Hierodeacon Tikhon (Gayfudinov;
accompanying His Eminence). Also serving at the panihida was the
dean of New England, Archpriest George Larin. The convent
sisterhood, led by Abbess Irene, prayed at the divine services.
In his sermon after the Liturgy, Metropolitan Hilarion recalled the
spiritual labors of Archbishop Andrei:
"Today we honor the memory of the ever-memorable Archbishop Andrei.
It has already been 35 years since his blessed repose. He was the
founder of this holy convent, and did much in his life for the
salvation of others: gathering them together, nourishing them,
preserving them from every adversity. Here he established a life in
the Church, and was a spiritual father to many, having a connection
with such spiritual luminaries as once existed in Russia – namely
the Optina Elders."
Upon completion of the panihida, a festal luncheon was held in the
parish hall. Memory Eternal to Archbishop Andrei!
Click here to see historic photos of Archbishop
Andrei from the Novo-Diveevo monastery archives.
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