Anthony (Grabbe) of New York

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His Grace, the Most Reverend Anthony (Grabbe) of New York was a retired bishop of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church during the latter part of the twentieth century, having earlier served with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and a Greek Old Calendarist jurisdiction.


Count Alexei Georgievich Grabbe was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia on June 22, 1926, the son of Count George Pavlovich Grabbe, the future Bishop Gregory of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. The Grabbe family was in Yugoslavia as refuges following the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. Alexei attended a Russian cadet school in Serbian town of Bela Crkva until it was closed by the invading Germans early in World War II. He then attended a Russian grammar school in Belgrade, Yugoslavia until he was conscripted into the pro-Nazi, anti-bolshevik force of the former Soviet General Andrei Vlasov.

Sent to a prisoner-of-war camp at the end of World War II awaiting reparation to the Soviet Union, Alexei was rescued by his brother Dmitri before his deportation. Reaching Munich, Germany, which was under American control, the two brothers joined their father George Grabbe who had move the headquarters of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia to Munich from Yugoslavia to escape the communist takeover of Yugoslavia.

In Munich, Alexei joined the Monastery of St. Job of Pochaev in Munich that descended from the monastics who were originally from Pochaev Lavra and had taken refuge in Czechoslovakia after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. On December 30, 1948, Alexei was tonsured a monk with name Anthony at the church belonging to the monastery of St. Job of Pochaev in Munich, Germany. Then with other monks from the monastery, he moved to the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York. From 1949 to 1954, he studied at the seminary resident at the monastery after which he entered the Holy Orders and was ordained a priest.

Over the years, Fr. Anthony was secretary to the monastery abbot Archbishop Vitaly Maximenko and priest of the diocesan cathedral in New York City. There, he founded the St. Sergius High School, which he headed for nearly three decades. In 1962, he was awarded a Jeweled Cross.

In 1968, Archimandrite Anthony was appointed head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem and the Orthodox Society of Palestine. For the next 15 years he was in charge of the key properties in the Holy Land in the care of the mission that was founded during the late nineteenth century. Fr. Anthony faced serious challenges trying to maintain control of property in the face of encroachments by the Israeli and Soviet governments. He won a court case against the Israeli government that had illegally transferred ownership of St. Mary Magdalene convent on the Mount of Olives and other property to the Moscow Patriarchate, forcing the State of Israeli to pay compensation of $7,000,000. In 1962, Fr. Anthony was raised to the dignity of archimandrite.

After his return to the United States in the 1980s, Fr. Anthony was forced to resign his position as church secretary due to rumors associated with a financial scandal. After a disagreement with the ROCOR hierarchy and failed attempts to regain links with the Serbian Orthodox Church, Fr. Anthony joined a Old Calendarists jurisdiction in 1985. In 1996, he was consecrated a bishop in New York. However, he was scarcely active as a bishop and soon retired.

In 2001, he joined non-canonical Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church, that was led from the city of Suzdal in Russia by Bishop Valentine (Rusantsov). This group had broken away from ROCOR in mid 1990s. The Valentine group recognized the validity of Anthony's consecration as bishop and at his death he was its oldest bishop.

Bp. Anthony died in New York on September 12, 2005. He was buried at Novo-Diveyevo Convent in Spring Valley, New York.