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Florus (Vaňko)

Archimandrite Florus (secular name Vasily Vaňko, Russian: Василий Ванько; December 9, 1926 - September 4, 2012) was archimandrite of Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, inhabitant (насельник) of Holy Trinity Monastery (Jordanville).


Vasiľ Vaňko was born in rusyn family near the village of Šemetkovce the Carpathian Mountains in Czechoslovakia, in what is today Eastern Slovakia.

At a young age, he became a novice at the Orthodox Monastery of Job in Ladomirová, and in 1944 moved along with the brethren to Jordanville when the Red Army descended on the Monastery.

In the first week of Great Lent 1948 Vasiľ Vaňko and Vasiľ Škurla were tonsured monk in the same small schema by Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko). Along with him was tonsured into mantle a ryassofor monk Alypy (Gamanovich), the future Archbishop of Chicago.

September 11, 1950 Father Flor was ordained to the diaconate, and June 28, 1954 in - the priesthood. Both ordinations were carried ruler Vitaly (Maximenko).

In 1967, he was elevated to the rank of hegumen.

For many years, he was sent to London to conduct services and Holy and Bright Week in the Annunciation Monastery. In the fifth week of Great Lent, he was always busy with the liver cakes for the table of brotherhood, and for the Orthodox inhabitants living neighborhood. He tried to quietly leave the cake at the door and disappear. With his severity, it was the successor tradition of serving others.

In 1996 he was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite.

It was difficult to him to accept the reunification with Moscow Patriarchate: he feared of some "pitfall". But time has shown that the fears are unfounded, and his attitude softened.

He wrote no great theological essays, neither was he renown for brilliant sermons, or for a magnificent serving voice. His hands were rough and calloused from decades of working on farm machinery and cattle. His podriasnik was much patched and ragged on the bottom from catching on machinery in the barn. His boots bore the unmistakable odor of 90 weight gear oil, which inevitably spilled on him while repairing one of the monastery's tractors.

When visitors came to the Cathedral on Sundays and Holidays, he would quietly sneak out through the monastery kitchen or through the back door. When not serving Liturgy, during services he could be found sitting up in the empty choir loft, huddled over his chotki, lost in prayer.

He rarely spoke, unless spoken to, and even then usually only to answer a question. In the years I knew him, I never heard him raise his voice or even to engage anyone in conversation. The only time I really heard him talk was with his friend, Archmandrite Job, and then it would be about the best way to plow a field or should they plant soybeans or corn in a particular field.

Archimandrite Florus attended every Sunday and holiday services, and many everyday vespers and matins. When he lost his ability to walk and listened to worship in his cell at a specially held speakerphone.

Despite his seeming simplicity, Archimandrite Florus had internal breadth outlook. Until last days, he was concerned that the Jordanville monastery is not doing enough for the local American environment. One of his ideas was the "return of Christ in Christmas", put an ad in the local newspaper, telling about the kind of event is celebrated on December 25.

On Tuesday morning, September 4, archimandrite Florus quietly reposed in the Lord. He was the last monk of monastery of St. Job in Ladomirová.

His funeral service on September 5 was led by Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) of New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia along with a host of clergy.