Peter (L'Huillier) of New York
The Most Reverend Peter, Former Archbishop of New York and New Jersey
Archbishop PETER was born as Paul L’Huillier on December 3, 1926 in Paris, France. He embraced the Orthodox faith in 1945 while enrolled at the St. Denys Institute in Paris. His Eminence also did graduate work at the University of Paris and received a Licentiate of Theology from the Moscow Theological Academy in 1962 and a Doctorate of Canon Law degree in 1985.
The Archbishop began his ecclesiastical life on August 30, 1954 when he was tonsured Monk PETER. On September 4 and 5, 1954, he was ordained hierodeacon and hieromonk by Archbishop BORIS, Exarch of the Russian Patriarchate in Europe. His priestly work took place at two Orthodox Churches in Paris, Three Hierarchs and the Church of our Lady the Joy of Those who Sorrow. In 1960, Archbishop PETER was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite. On September 12, 1968, the Feast of St. Alexander Nevsky at the former St. Alexander Nevsky Monastery (Lavra) in St. Petersburg (then called Leningrad), Archbishop PETER was consecrated Bishop of Chersonese. Participating at that consecration were the Metropolitan of Leningrad, NIKODIM (Rotov) and Metropolitan ANTHONY (Bloom) of Sourozh.
As bishop, he was a member of the mother Church which granted autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in America. In 1979, he was invited to come to the young autocephalous church by His Beatitude Metropolitan THEODOSIUS. He was designated as the Bishop of Brooklyn until 1981, when he was installed as the Bishop of New York and New Jersey. In 1990, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America bestowed on him the title of Archbishop of New York and New Jersey.
Archbishop PETER’s linguistic fluency (in four languages), his academic and collegial contacts, his extensive background in the Orthodox canonical traditions, his knowledge about the varieties of ethnic and national Orthodox customs, all of these have made him one of the most qualified and astute Orthodox hierarchs worldwide. He chaired the External Affairs Department for many years. His dealings within the international Orthodox community often brought him face to face with other notable hierarchs and Church leaders, many of who he has known personally. This has helped establish beneficial relations between the Orthodox Church in America and other Orthodox Churches. His Eminence has also been Canonical Advisor for the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America (SCOBA). He was active in promoting Orthodox unity and Orthodox presence in North America since coming to this country.
No less important has been Archbishop PETER’s academic career. He lectured at the Institute of St. Denys, Paris, France, from 1949 to 1950. From 1952 to 1962, he taught at the Three Hierarchs Seminary in Villemoisson, France. He was a Professor at the Catholic University in Paris from 1966 to 1978. He has been Adjunct Professor of Canon Law at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, Crestwood, New York, since 1979. As a specialist in Orthodox Canon Law, Archbishop PETER occupied a prominent position. He was often sought as an expert in this field by other Orthodox jurisdictions and is invited to represent the Orthodox Church at various conferences, meetings, and ecumenical dialogues.
His thirty plus years of episcopal service have coincided with many important events in the history of the Orthodox Church in this century. During these years, His Eminence has been a constant and dedicated leader and guide. In March of 2005, the members of the Holy Synod of the OCA accepted Archbishop Peter’s request for retirement. He was on a leave of absence since the spring 2004 session of the Holy Synod. His retirement became effective April 30, 2005.
In light of Archbishop Peter’s retirement, the members of the Holy Synod decided to establish the new Diocese of Washington and New York, comprised of the former Diocese of New York and New Jersey and the Diocese of Washington, effective April 30, 2005. The move was a return to the diocesan boundaries and structure that had existed until 1981, when the Diocese of Washington was created as the seat of the OCA Primate. Metropolitan Herman serves as ruling bishop of the Diocese of Washington and New York and bears the title of Archbishop of Washington and New York, Metropolitan of All America and Canada.
His doctoral dissertation has recently been published and received critical accolades (The Church of the Ancient Councils -- The Disciplinary Work of the First Four Ecumenical Councils, St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1996).