Constantine (Essensky) of Richmond

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His Grace, the Right Reverend Constantine (Essensky) of Richmond was a bishop in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.


Bishop Constantine was born Emmanuel Essensky in 1907 in St. Petersburg, Russia. His family moved to Riga, Latvia during the first year of the Bolshevik revolution. His father, who had worked in the Imperial Chancery, was arrested by the Bolsheviks and executed. His mother died of grief following her husband's death, leaving their son, Emmanuel, an orphan. Emmanuel finished school while also studying iconography under the Old Rite iconographer Pimen Sofronov.

In 1928, Emmanuel entered the seminary in Riga with the blessing of Archbishop John of Riga. After graduating in 1930, Emmanuel moved to Paris, France where he continued his theological education at St Sergius Theological Institute, graduating with a doctorate degree. Entering the Holy Orders, Emmanuel was ordained to the priesthood by Metropolitan Eulogius of Paris and was assigned to the Church of Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Vladimir in Berlin, Germany. After serving for two years as the second priest, Fr. Emmanuel was assigned as rector of the Church of St. Alexis, Metropolitan of Moscow Church in Leipzig, Germany, serving also at parishes in Kassel, Dresden, and Einbeck.

In 1938, Fr. Emmanuel moved to the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. During World War II, he studied medicine at Berlin University, finishing four semesters, before moving in 1945 to Bad-Hartzburg, in the American Sector, due to ill health. In 1949, Fr. Emmanuel moved to the United States, where after temporary assignments in Washington, D. C. and Trenton, New Jersey, he was assigned as rector of the Church of the Ascension in Glen Cove, New York, which he transformed with his talent for iconography.

In October 1967, Fr. Emmanuel was tonsured a monk with the name Constantine by Abp. Averky at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York. Two months later Hiermonk Constantine was consecrated bishop and assigned as vicar Bishop of Brisbane within ROCOR's Diocese of Australia and New Zealand where he served from 1967 to 1976. Between 1976 and 1978, Bp. Constantine was in retirement. He returned to the United States in 1978 where he served as vicar Bishop of Boston and Eastern America and New York from 1978 to 1981. He was then assigned as Bishop of Richmond and Great Britain from 1981 until his retirement due to poor health in 1985.

In 1991, Bp. Constantine moved to the Christ of the Hills Monastery in Blanco, Texas, a place that proved a better climate for his health. Bp. Constantine reposed on May 31, 1996 after a brief struggle with pneumonia and was buried at Christ of the Hills Monastery.

Given the dissolution of Christ of the Hills Monastery, after 18 years, Bishop Constantine's remains were removed and re-interred at the Jordanville Monastery Cemetery, on December 1, 2014 by Metr Hilarion. During this process, Bp. Constantine's relics were found to be in-corrupt. Glory to God for His saints!


Succession box:
Constantine (Essensky) of Richmond
Preceded by:
Philaret (Voznesensky)
Bishop of Brisbane

Succeeded by:
Gabriel (Chemodakov)
Preceded by:
Bishop of Boston

Succeeded by:
Mitrophan (Znosko-Borovsky)
Preceded by:
Nikodim (Nagaev)
Bishop of Richmond

Succeeded by:
Mark (Arndt)
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