Suzdal Diocesan Bulletin: Repose of Bishop Antony (Grabbe)

(Suzdal Diocesan Bulletin #28, September 13, 2005)

On September 12th, at about 6:00 PM New York local time, the oldest bishop of the ROAC, His Grace Bishop Anthony Grabbe reposed in the Lord. Vladyka was 79 years of age.

Bishop Anthony (in the world: Count Alexei Georgievich Grabbe) was born on June 22, 1926, in Belgrade. He was the son of Count Yuri Pavlovich Grabbe, well-known in ROCOR circles and the future Bishop Gregory, who for many years, served as Chancellor of the Synod, and was the right hand man of the first three First Hierarchs of the ROCOR. Vladyka Anthony decided early in his childhood to devote himself to God, and at the age of sixteen was tonsured reader. In 1942, the young Alexei entered the monastery as a novice, and was ordained to the diaconate. On December 17/30, 1948, in the metochion church belonging to the monastery of St. Job of Pochaev in Munich, the President of the Synod of Bishops of the ROCOR, Metropolitan Anastassy, tonsured him into the mantiya, changing his name to Anthony in honor of St. Anthony the Great. The young newly-tonsured hierodeacon was then all of twenty-two years of age. From 1949 to 1954 the future bishop studied at Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology, and was ordained to the priesthood. During the years that Fr. Anthony served the Church of Christ in the priestly rank, he bore several obediences in the ROCOR: he was Secretary to Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko), ran the monastery’s Chancery Office, and served as a clergyman of the ROCOR Synod’s Cathedral in New York. In New York, the future Bishop Anthony founded St. Sergius High School, well-known throughout America, which he headed for almost thirty years.

In 1962, Igumen Anthony was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite, and in 1974, for his many labors in service to the ROCOR, he was awarded by the Synod of Bishops with a Grammata of Appreciation, signed by fourteen of its bishops.

In 1968, Archimandrite Anthony was appointed Chief of the Russian Spiritual Mission in Jerusalem, and fulfilled this duty for more than fifteen years. Concurrently with this, he was elected as head of the Orthodox Palestine Society. At that time, he initiated the difficult task of defending the Russian holy places in the Holy Land, promoted the authority of ROCOR, and was partially successful in winning a court case against the government of Israel, which had illegally transferred ownership of several Russian properties in the Holy Land to the Soviet Moscow Patriarchate (Gornensky Monastery, churches, and pieces of land). As compensation for its pain and suffering, Israel paid the ROCOR seven million dollars in damages. After that, the young and energetic Chief of the Mission was preparing to sue the Soviet Union, however, thanks to the efforts of the KGB, which had already slipped its agents into positions of influence in the Church Abroad, Archimandrite Anthony was removed from his position as Chief of the Mission, slandered, and as a result of the various intrigues surrounding the new First Hierarch of the ROCOR, Metropolitan Vitaly (Ustinov), who replaced the recently reposed St. Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky), was forced out of the ROCOR in 1986, and went to the Greek Old Calendar Church in America, where he was consecrated bishop on October 13, 1996, in the Cathedral of St. Irene (New York).

In 2001, Bishop Anthony, already seriously ill, was received into the Russian Orthodox (Autonomous) Church, and lived in retirement in New York, attending services and receiving the Sacraments at St. Nicholas Church in Elmwood Park, NJ.