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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 as [[St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute (Paris, France)|St Sergius Theological Institute, graduating with a doctorate degree. Entering the [[Holy Orders]], Emmanuel was [[ordination|ordained]] to the [[priest]]hood by [[Metropolitan]] [[Eulogius (Georgievsky) of Paris|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 [[parish]]es 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.