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Alypy (Gamanovich) of Chicago

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Nikolai Mikhailovich Gamanovich was born on [[December 19]], 1926 in the village of Novaya Maiyachka of Kherson Province of the U.S.S.R. the site of which is now within the nation Ukraine. His father, Mikhail, was a blacksmith. His mother’s name was Lumilla. The family included five younger siblings: three younger brothers and two younger sisters. While his parents had him baptized, he was not able to attend many church services because the Soviets had closed most of the churches near them. In the face of the Soviet programs of collectivization and expropriation of property from prosperous owners, Nikolai’s family left their village to wander until they settled in the village of Fedorovka. Here Nikolai attended a four year school before going on to an eight year school in the village of Kucheryvo-Volodimirov.
As an aftermath of the invasion of the Soviet Union by Nazi forces in 1941, Nicolai became a victim of the Nazi practice of taking young men to work as forced laborers in Germany. At fifteen years of age, Nicolai was one of fifteen young men from his village sent to Germany as an ‘’ostarbeiter’’ (east-worker). In Germany, he initially worked in Berlin in a truck factory where he was under constant guard. Later, he worked on a farm and then at a cemetery. When he was assigned to working at the cemetery, he was transferred to a ‘’Ostavsky’’ labor camp that was free of guards and where the workers were required to use public transportation to work assignments. During this time Nicolai was able to attend church services from time to time. In 1944, during a visit to church, Nicolai met Hieromonk Kyprian (Pizhov) of the St. Job of Pochaev Brotherhood.
Fr. Kyprian was in Berlin as the Pochaev Brotherhood had fled Slovakia before the advancing Soviet Red army. Having read some books of the Lives of the Saints that belonged to his grandfather, Nicolai expressed the desire to join the brotherhood. On [[February 3]], 1945, Nicolai left the labor camp, illegally, and was accepted [[Archimandrite]] Seraphim to begin the spiritual labors of [[monasticism|monastic]] life, Five days later Nicolai and his monastic companions fled Berlin for southern Germany, going to an area that was taken by the American army. From southern Germany he and his monastic companions proceeded to Switzerland in August 1945.

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