Michael Protopopov

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The Very Reverend Doctor, Mitred Archpriest Michael Protopopov, is the Dean of Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia in the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, ROCOR.

Biographical timeline

  • 1944 Sep 20: Born in Serbia, on a train during the evacuation of the Russian Corps from Serbia, to Alexei (a colonel of the Don Cossacks) and Olga (a graduate of medicine from Belgrade University and serving in WWII in an army field hospital), a family of Russian nobility and military. Alexei was eventually forcibly repatriated to Siberia, but Olga and her two sons (Nicholas and Michael) were settled into Parsch Displaced Persons Camp near Salzburg.
  • 1949: Migrated to Australia with mother and brother. Briefly in Bonegilla before settling in Melbourne.
  • Educated at University High School, Burwood Teachers' College, Melbourne University, Victoria University. Received the Bachelor of Education, Graduate Diploma in Education Administration, Bachelor of Theology, and Master of Philosophy degrees.
  • 1964-77: Employed as a school teacher.
  • 1972 Apr 30: Ordained to the diaconate by Abp Theodosius (Putilin) of Sydney and appointed to the parish in Geelong. Previously, Fr Michael had been the secretary and subdeacon of Abp Theodosius while he was Bishop of Melbourne.
  • 1974 Sep: Abp Theodosius took Dcn Michael as his private secretary to the Third All-Diaspora Conference, held in Jordanville.
  • 1975: Ordained to the priesthood by Abp Theodosius (Putilin) of Sydney at the Archbishop's Chapel in Croydon, NSW. Appointed rector in Geelong, and also rector in Hobart (serving there once every second month).
  • 1977-89: Continued employment, now as principal, at a number of government schools.
  • 1982 Feb 1: Transferred to Dandenong, commissioned to complete building of new church.
  • 1975-85: Made responsible for parish in Canberra as co-rector, in addition to other duties.
  • 1981-93: Elected to membership of the Diocesan Council.
  • 1985 Sep 14: Elevated to Archpriest at the General Council.
  • 1988: Fr Michael was commissioned by Abp Paul to return the Kursk Root Icon to New York and represent the Australian Diocese at the millenium (of Russian Orthodoxy) celebrations in San Francisco, New York, Paris, Munich and Salzburg.
  • 1988: On his return, the Victorian Millenium Committee (which he chaired) commenced its program of events - including being received by the Victorian Governor on June 5.
  • 1988 Oct 23: Appointed Dean of Victoria, an appointment that would (by Oct 1994) later expand to include Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and (temporarily) the Australian Capital Territory and New Zealand. (Later, ACT was made part of the NSW deanery, while NZ was made its own deanery).
  • 1989: After suffering two heart attacks, he was forced to retire from Teaching.
  • 1991: Awarded the Order of Australia, "[f]or services to the Russian Community".
  • 1991-94: Between these years, the Australian & New Zealand Diocese sent 220 tonnes of food, clothing & material (among other things) to Russia, with Fr Michael or his matushka being present in Russia and personally supervising its distribution to hospitals, orphanages, monasteries and individuals.
  • 1991 June 12: Due to health reasons, Abp Paul appointed Fr Michael to be Administrator of Australia and New Zealand Diocese until 1992.
  • 1991 Sep 15: Awarded right to wear the jewelled pectoral cross.
  • 1993-2010: Founding Chairperson of the South Eastern Region Migrant Resource Centre (Melbourne).
  • 1997: Awarded The Order of Friendship by the Government of the Russian Federation, "For outstanding charitable work and initiatives in forming stronger ties of friendship, co-operation and cultural development, between the peoples of Russia and Australia."
  • 2001-present: Again made responsible for parish in Hobart, in addition to other duties.
  • 2001: Awarded the UN Volunteer Service Medal, "For Commitment to Humanitarian Causes".
  • 2003: Awarded the Victorian Government Award for Excellence in Multicultural Affairs.
  • 2005-present: Again elected to membership of the Diocesan Council.
  • 2005: Completed his Ph.D. in History from Australian Catholic University, having authored a comprehensive history of the Russian Orthodox Community in Australia, entitled The Russian Orthodox Presence in Australia: The History of a Church told from recently opened archives and previously unpublished sources.
  • 2006: Awarded the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Gold Medal.
  • 2008: With Abp Hilarion elected First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, Fr Michael was appointed Vicar-General of the Diocese.
  • 2009: Awarded the Russian Consular Service Medal, "For acting in an honorary consular capacity".
  • 2015: With the arrival of Bp George to Australia, Fr Michael was appointed Diocesan Chancellor.
  • Served as Deputy Present of the Melbourne Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies.
  • Lectures in History and Theology at Melbourne University.
  • Authored a number of historical monographs.
  • Community work also includes work as Chairman of the Russian Welfare Society, Deputy Chair of the Federation of Russian Welfare Organisations in Australia, Chairman of the Fraternity of the Holy Cross.
  • Membership also includes being a Justice of the Peace, Member of the Australian Institute of Management, the Australian College of Education, and the Royal Society; Patron of the Australia Day Council (Vic), and the Victorian Chapter of the Australian Monarchist League.