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John (Garklavs) of Chicago

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His Eminence the Most Reverend '''John (Garklavs) Archbishop of Chicago''', was the émigré Bishop of Riga and All Latvia who after being forced to leave Latvia during World War II was accepted as a member of the American [[Metropolia]]. He was elected [[bishop]] of Chicago in 1957 and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1978. He is remembered for safe guarding safeguarding the [[Theotokos of Tikhvin|Tikhvin]] [[Icon]] of the Mother of Our God after World War II.
The future Archbishop John was born in Umurga, Latvia on [[August 25]], 1898. His father died when he was two years old, leaving his widowed mother to care for him and his two younger brothers. His mother, who was gifted singer, did not remarry. Abp. John grew up in the fatherless family in a small provincial village of Limbashi, located about eighty miles from Riga. He attended school in the village and took active part in the Latvian Orthodox Church as an [[altar]] boy and then as a psalomchik. He attended the Theological [[Seminary]] in Riga, Latvia, from which he graduated with honors.
John was [[ordination|ordained]] [[deacon]] and then a [[priest]] in 1936. After Bishop Alexander of Latvia died in 1942, Fr. John was elected Bishop of Riga and All Latvia. He was [[consecration of a bishop|consecrated]] in 1943 after spending a period of time in preparation at the Holy Spirit Monastery in Velensk, Latvia. The new [[bishop]] found himself caught in the turmoil of World War II attempting to care for the many people displaced by the war. As the Soviet forces came into Latvia in 1944, Bp. John, together with his mother and an adopted son, Sergei, was forced to leave Latvia with a small group of Latvian priests[[priest]]s. The group took refuge in southern Czechoslovakia and eventually arrived in West Germany with the help of American soldiers. In West Germany, Bp. John encouraged the Orthodox Christians to organize [[parish]]es and “Displaced Person” camps.
Bp. John arrived in the United States on [[July 22]], 1949, after having petitioned [[Metropolitan]] [[Theophilus (Pashkovsky) of San Francisco|Theophilus]] to accept him into the Metropolia. In October 1949, he was appointed Bishop of Detroit and Cleveland, and in 1955, he was appointed administrator of the Chicago-Minneapolis diocese. In 1957, he was confirmed as the ruling bishop of the [[diocese]] and raised to the rank of [[archbishop]]. During his tenure as Archbishop of Chicago, Abp. John served as senior bishop in the [[Holy Synod]] and as chairman of the Department of Music of the Metropolia and Orthodox Church in America. He remained Bishop of Chicago until his retirement in September 1978. He reposed on [[April 11]], 1982.
==Tikhvin icon==
[[Image:Tikhvin Theotokos.jpg|right|thumb|150px|Tikhvin Theotokos]]
During his travels leaving Latvia during World War II, Bp. John came into possession of the Tikhvin icon that Germany German forces took from Tikhvin, Russia to Riga. Bp. John and his adopted son Sergei took the icon under their care, intending that it be returned to Tikhvin when the atheist communist regime fell. For many years the icon remained in the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Chicago under the care of Abp. John and, after his repose, by his son Sergei. In 2004, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Abp.John’s son, now Fr. Sergei Garklavs, fulfilled Abp. John’s promise as the icon traveled back to Russia and to the [[Novo-Tikhvin Monastery|monastery]] in Tikhvin, Russia.
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