Seraphim (Voepel)

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Archimandrite Seraphim (secular name James Voepel[1]) is the Abbot of the Hermitage of the Holy Cross, an English-speaking male monastery in the Eastern American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.

Biographical sketch

Archimandrite Seraphim began his monastic life as a Roman Catholic Benedictine monk. After nine years there, he left to become Orthodox; in 1988, he was baptised at St John Chrysostom Orthodox Church, in House Springs, Missouri [2], by Hmk Kallistos (Pazalos) (founder of the Hermitage). He was a faithful member of the parish for two years.

In 1990, Fr Seraphim entered Orthodox monastic life at Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Boston, and remained there for three years as a novice. In 1993, though, he left to return to ROCOR, and entered the Hermitage of the Holy Cross, where one hierodeacon remained in the brotherhood.

In December 1994, he was tonsured a rasophore-monk of the Hermitage by Abp Alypy at Holy Protection Cathedral, Chicago, and in December 1997 he was tonsured into the small schema by then-Abp Laurus at the Hermitage. On the Feast of the Annunciation in 1998, he was ordained at Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, and was then ordained to the priesthood on Palm Sunday of that year.

Fr Seraphim was elected deputy rector of the Hermitage of the Holy Cross in 1998. After the monastery was relocated from the Midwest to the rural mountains of West Virginia, Fr Seraphim oversaw the construction of the monastery.[1].

By 2003, Fr Seraphim had already become the superior of the Hermitage. On October 14, 2008, Hieromonk Seraphim was awarded the Gold Cross and elevated to Hegumen by Metropolitan Hilarion

The Hermitage of the Holy Cross became an independent monastery in 2009. The spiritual father of the monastery, Bp George of Mayfield, who was already in residence at the monastery, was made abbot, while Hegumen Seraphim was made deputy abbot.

In 2011, Fr Seraphim diagnosed with kidney cancer; followed by a 2012 diagnosis with squamous cell cancer in his right tonsil. This subsided in 2012, but was to reappear in Oct 2013. On December 9, 2013, Fr. Seraphim completed his chemotherapy and radiation treatment. "Though he did have some painful side effects, they were not nearly as severe as was expected," explained monastery dean Hieromonk Alexander (Frizzell). "Every day, Fr. Seraphim read an akathist to the Holy Great Martyr & Healer Panteleimon, and we know that the heavenly intercessor of our monastery looked after Fr. Seraphim and eased his sufferings. The doctors were amazed at how well he did throughout the treatment process and state that he has a ninety-percent chance of full recovery."[2]. With the financial aid of the Fund For Assistance, Fr Seraphim underwent multiple aggressive rounds of chemotherapy in 2014, and returned to serving at Pascha 2014.

After it was announced that Bp George was being transferred be the Vicar Bishop of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, Fr Seraphim was elected Abbot of the Hermitage of the Holy Cross on January 12, 2015. On Bright Monday 2015, immediately prior to the departure of Bp George to Australia, Fr Seraphim was elevated to Archimandrite[3]. At the conclusion of the Liturgy, Bishop George officially installed Archimandrite Seraphim as Abbot of Holy Cross Monastery and handed over to him the Abbot’s staff[4].

References


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Succession box:
Seraphim (Voepel)
Preceded by:
unknown
Superior of the Hermitage of the Holy Cross
A dependency of Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville
????-2009
Succeeded by:
Bp George
as Abbot of an independent monastery
Preceded by:
Bp George
Abbot of the Hermitage of the Holy Cross
2015-present
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Archim. Alexander
Abbot of the Skete of St John the Theologian
A dependency of the Hermitage of the Holy Cross
2015-present
Succeeded by:
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