Sava (Raevsky) of Sydney

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The Right Reverend Sava (Rayevsky) was the second bishop of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand within the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. He reposed on April 17, 1976(os).

Biographical Timeline

Early life

  • 1892 Feb 10: Theodore Feodorovich Raevsky born in Efmenov, Russia, to Theodore Sr, public servant and property manager, and Alexandra, who came from a priestly family.
  • 1911: Graduated from Tula Theological Seminary. Then enrolled in history and philosophy section of the School of Jurisprudence at Warsaw University.
  • 1916: School was evacuated to Rostov-on-Don due to World War I.
  • After finishing his degree, Theodore assisted the war effort in a government department.
  • 1917: At the outbreak of civil war, Theodore was appointed secretary in the Ministry of Education in Novocherkassk.
  • 1920 Nov 10: Evacuated to Lemnos, then Constantinople. He taught at the Russian Gymnasium for a year.
  • 1921: Migrated to Serbia, taught in a private secondary school in Kralevo.
  • 1930: Married a daughter of a teacher in Kralevo, Perside Milanovna Arandjelovic.
  • 1931: Moved to Belgrade, accepted into the Faculty of Theology at Belgrade University. Taught catechism at the evacuated Kharkov Institute for Daughters of the Russian Nobility. With Metr. Anthony (Khrapovitsky)'s invitation, sang in the Russian Metropolitan's Choir with distinction for his voice as a tenor.
  • 1934: Wrote research thesis, Symbolic Books in the Anglican-Episcopalian Church, for which he received a Royal Grant of 1000 gold dinars. The thesis was serialised in Bogoslovie (Belgrade University publication) and later published as a book.
  • 1935-41: Theodore taught catechism at Fifth Women's Gymnasium, Belgrade, until the German occupation. He earned the reputation here as being a popular teacher, fluent in Russian, Serbian and Polish.

Clerical life

  • 1941 Oct 22: Applied to be ordained to the diaconate (as WW2 had a deep effect on his life priorities).
  • 1942 Mar 25: Ordained to the priesthood by Metr. Anastasy (Gribanovsky). Assigned to Holy Trinity Russian Church, Belgrade, and to assist at the Ecclesiastical Court (to use his legal knowledge).
  • 1944 Apr: Raevsky's moved to Salzburg, Austria, fleeing the advancing Soviet Army. Fr Theodore worked in a local factory, celebrating Liturgy in private houses to avoid detection by the Germans.
  • 1945 Mar: Metr. Seraphim (Lade) accepted Fr Theodore into his jurisdiction and appointed him priest in Salzburg. With the American occupation, services were permitted at St Michael's Roman Catholic Church in the centre of the old city.
  • 1945 Nov 13: Fr Theodore appointed administrator of the Diocese of Austria.
  • 1946 Jul 13: Metr. Anastasy elevated Fr Theodore to archpriest.
  • 1947 Jan 18: Bp Stephan (Sevbo) appointed Bishop of Vienna and Austria. Fr Theodore became Dean, continuing to be rector of St Michael's and working with 10,000s of Russian refugees.
  • 1948 Jun: Raevsky's moved to America. Fr Theodore appointed rector of St Vladimir's parish in Miami, Florida. Sponsored 100 families to migrate from Salzburg, all settling in Miami. He was invited to work on documents for ROCOR.
  • 1951: Synod of Bishops ratified the Normal Parish By-Laws, which Fr Theodore was invited to work on preparing.
  • 1952 Apr 8: Mat. Persida reposed. Fr Theodore was invited by Bp Nikon (Rklitsky) to accept the episcopacy, but he declined to complete the construction of his church in Miami. He was also declined an offer from Bp Averky (Taushev) to teach theology at Jordanville.
  • 1953 (late): Fr Theodore agreed to consecration as Bishop of Melbourne.
  • 1954 Jan 14: Tonsured, with the name of Sava (after St Sava of Serbia).
  • 1954 Jan 17: Elevated to Archimandrite.

Episcopal service

  • 1954 Jan 18: Consecrated bishop at Ascension Cathedral, New York, by Metr. Anastasy and seven other bishops.
  • 1954 Jul 22: Sailed to Australia aboard the Huon. Wrote articles on his six-week voyage, which were published in Russian language newspapers in America and were aired on Voice of America.
  • 1954 Sep 3: Arrived in Brisbane.
  • 1954 Sep 18: Arrived in Melbourne, accompanied by diocesan secretary Fr Theodore Michaluk.
  • 1955 Apr: Synod of Bishops ratified the Status of Church Sisterhoods, which then-Fr Theodore was invited to work on preparing.
  • 1955: Made Bishop of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand. Faced great difficulties with the parish council of his cathedral, and was allotted a single room for his private office, diocesan administration and bedroom (and having to pay for electricity and heating out of his stipend).
  • 1955 Sep 14: Diocesan commission appointed to draft a constitution for the Australian diocese, with the Normal Parish By-laws being a basis for registration, and the name of the ruling bishop being included on the title of any property purchased.
  • Bp Sava took great interest in community welfare projects, legal matters of diocese and parishes, diocesan parish schools, and a diocesan library and museum.
  • To assist parish schools make decisions on textbooks, teaching aids, etc, a Diocesan Education Committee was formed. To assist parish councils make decisions about icons and styles for church building, a Diocesan Arts Committee was formed to oversee all projects prior to building.
  • 1956 Jan 1: First edition released of 'Word of the Church', the diocesan periodical. Published at a loss for a number of editions.
  • 1956 Feb: Encouraged by Bp Sava, Anatoli Korobko established a youth choir. These rehearsals were attended by Bp Sava.
  • 1956 May: Choir became the nucleus for a church youth organisation, 'St Vladimir's Orthodox Youth Group'. He addressed the group on numerous occasions, but greater commitments led him to entrust the group to Fr Theodore Michaluk and Fr Rostislav Gan. Soon, over 100 members attended activities, and parallel groups appeared in Melbourne and Adelaide.
  • 1956 May 27: Ground for St Nicholas Church, Fairfield (Sydney), blessed by Bp Sava. Church was built by December.
  • 1956 Jun 10: Foundations for Protection Church, Cabramatta (Sydney), blessed by Bp Sava. Two nuns, recently-arrived to Australia, attended the service. Bp Sava invited Fr Rostislav Gan to build a small convent and guide the Sisters.
  • 1956 Jul 9: Bp Sava transferred his residence to St Vladimir's Church in Centennial Park, to be freer of anti-episcopal elements at the cathedral in Strathfield.
  • 1956 Jul: Pdcn Peter Grishaev donated a 21 acre property in Kentlyn to diocese for the establishment of a monastery. Bp Sava sent Fr Dimitry (Obuhoff) around the country to speak on monasticism and invite candidates to establish a monastery, returning with three candidates to form St John the Baptist Skete. Envisioned as a spiritual centre, a haven for elderly priests, and where families could relax in the summer months. The Russian Scouts were encouraged to have their summer camps on monastery land.
  • 1957 Mar: Elevated to Archbishop. Hospitalised with diverticulitis.
  • 1957-58: 6 priests and 2 deacons received into the diocese among the thousands of Russian migrants from communist China. Abp Sava was very active in sponsoring Russian migrants - both calling on individual sponsors from the community and the diocese sponsoring hundreds.
  • 1958: Second Diocesan Assembly. Abp Sava insisted on the establishment of Sunday Schools in all parishes.
  • 1960: Abp Sava moved to Croydon. Diocesan library was formed. (He already had over 1000 books by 1958, but lacked a place to store them). On moving in, he saw the building was too small, and asked for (and received) donations to expand the building so guests could be received, and the chapel renovated so worshippers could come to pray. The chapel was extended by 30%, and the house had a new section built on.
  • 1960 Aug 31: Abp Sava was invited to ceremonies of the exiled King Peter II of Yugoslavia. He was a popular figure among the Serbian Orthodox, and was often called upon to ordain priests for emerging Serbian parishes.
  • 1960 Sep 29: Abp Sava inspected the work of the builders. Unnailed floorboards gave way, giving Abp Sava a head wound and hospitalising him. He recovered from his injuries, but began to suffer bouts of epilepsy.
  • 1961 Feb-Mar: The role of the Diocesan Refugee Committee was to be expanded to include the revival of the faithful, helping those who need support, the pursuit of philanthropy, spirituality, morality and education, to support those in need under the auspices of ROCOR. To do this, Abp Sava established the Fraternity of the Holy Cross, with its first meeting on 18 April 1961.
  • 1963: At the last meeting of the Diocesan Council, Abp Sava announced his intent to organise theological courses - designed for priestly candidates, but suitable for training deacons, readers, choirmasters and matushkas.
  • 1964 Feb 2: Theological courses began.
  • 1964: Bp Philaret (Voznesensky) appointed Bishop of Brisbane.
  • 1964 May: General Council of Bishops met to elect a new Metropolitan. Two candidates were at a deadlock. Abp Sava, still in Sydney, was asked to cast his vote by mail. Bp Philaret of Brisbane was sent to communicate Abp Sava's vote, but the envelope offered the candidature of Bp Philaret, the youngest bishop of ROCOR. This was accepted, and Bp Philaret was elected.
  • 1968: Problems between Cathedral and Archbishop came to a head. Abp Sava had been demanding that the cathedral be registered in the name of the Church. Parish Council prepared a Memorandum and Articles of Association for the Archbishop, but he requested these translated into Russian so he could study them. The Parish Council had these registered, without episcopal approval, on 2 April 1968. At the 16 June 1968 AGM, no mention was made of the memorandum until 'Other Business', but these were not presented, nor that the property had already been handed over to the new body. The AGM minutes were not sent for ratification until 30 weeks later (after many demands by diocesan administration). On receipt, Abp Sava had them translated, and after examination declared them to be in contrast to Church norms and sent them to Synod for further action. There was now a formal break between Cathedral and Diocese, only to be repaired some 10 years later by Abp Theodosy.
  • 1969: Abp Athanasy (Martos) appointed to rule the diocese. Abp Sava given the title of 'Representative of the Synod of Bishops'. Abp Athanasy ratified the minutes, and he was removed from his post within 12 months. Abp Nikon of Washington, as First Deputy President of the Synod, went to Australia to invite Bp Theodosy (Putilin) of Melbourne to become diocesan bishop.
  • 1976 Apr 17: Abp Sava reposed, victim of a stroke, while giving an interview to a local Russian radio program. His passing was mourned by the Russian community in Australia and elsewhere, and the Serbian Church, the NSW State Parliament and the Prime Minister joined in honouring his life.

Succession box:
Sava (Raevsky) of Sydney
Preceded by:
Athanasy (Martos)
Bishop of Melbourne

Succeeded by:
Anthony (Medvedev)
Preceded by:
Theodore (Rafalsky)
Bishop of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand

Succeeded by:
Athanasy (Martos)
Preceded by:
Representative of the Synod of Bishops in Australia

Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Athanasy (Martos)
Temporary Administrator of the Diocese of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand

Succeeded by:
Theodosius (Putilin)
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