+NICHOLAS, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad


Bish­op Nicholas receives the Pochaev Icon of the Moth­er of God and bless­es pil­grims with the Holy Image dur­ing the tra­di­tion­al Labor Day pil­grim­age (Sep­tem­ber 5, 2015)

On Aug. 31 / Sep. 13, 2022, the Holy Coun­cil of Bish­ops of the Russ­ian Ortho­dox Church Out­side of Rus­sia elect­ed Bish­op Nicholas of Man­hat­tan as First Hier­ar­ch and Met­ro­pol­i­tan of East­ern Amer­i­ca & New York.

Nicholas Olhovsky was born in 1974 in Tren­ton, NJ, one of three sons to WWII immi­grants from Belarus. His ear­ly spir­i­tu­al for­ma­tion took place at Holy Dor­mi­tion Church in Tren­ton, and in the church school of St. Alexan­der Nevsky Church in How­ell, NJ. He attend­ed Holy Trin­i­ty Sem­i­nary, Jor­danville, NY, grad­u­at­ing in 1998. He also earned a Bach­e­lor’s degree in Com­mu­ni­ca­tions in 2000 from SUNY Albany.

Pro­todea­con Nicholas Olhovsky serves at the Divine Litur­gy cel­e­brat­ing the 25th anniver­sary of the found­ing of St Eliz­a­beth Skete (Mohawk, NY).

From 1998–2008, he served as Arch­bish­op Lau­rus’s cell atten­dant, accom­pa­ny­ing Vla­dy­ka on all of his trav­els. This obe­di­ence took on a new impor­tance and rig­or when Arch­bish­op Lau­rus was elect­ed First Hier­ar­ch in ear­ly 2000. Nicholas mar­ried Elis­a­beth Shohov, a grand­daugh­ter of Bish­op Mitro­phan (Znosko), in 2004. Met­ro­pol­i­tan Lau­rus ordained him to the dia­conate in 2006. In Sep­tem­ber of 2010, Elis­a­beth unex­pect­ed­ly reposed; in Decem­ber of the same year, the Holy Syn­od appoint­ed Fr. Nicholas guardian of the mirac­u­lous “Kursk-Root” Icon of the Theotokos.

Besides trav­el­ing with the icon to all of the dio­ce­ses of Russ­ian Ortho­dox Church Out­side of Rus­sia world­wide, he also accom­pa­nied the icon to Rus­sia mul­ti­ple times, as well as to Ukraine, Kaza­khstan, and oth­er neigh­bor­ing countries.

Hieromonk Nicholas dur­ing the rite of ton­sure into the Less­er Schema

Fr. Nicholas was ordained a priest in 2012. In Decem­ber of 2013, the Syn­od of Bish­ops of Russ­ian Ortho­dox Church Out­side of Rus­sia resolved to elect him as Bish­op of Man­hat­tan, which elec­tion was duly con­firmed by the Holy Syn­od of the Russ­ian Ortho­dox Church. He was accord­ing­ly ton­sured a monk on the eve of the Lau­da­tion of the Most Theotokos at Holy Trin­i­ty Monastery in Jor­danville, NY, and giv­en the name Nicholas in hon­or of St. Nicholas of Japan. He was ele­vat­ed to the rank of Archi­man­drite by Arch­bish­op Mark in Munich, on the first Sun­day after Pascha.

On June 16/29, 2014, dur­ing the annu­al cel­e­bra­tion before the relics of the great arch­pas­tor of the Russ­ian Dias­po­ra, St. John of Shang­hai and San Fran­cis­co, Archi­man­drite Nicholas was con­se­crat­ed to the epis­co­pa­cy by the hands of Met­ro­pol­i­tan +Hilar­i­on of blessed mem­o­ry and numer­ous con­cel­e­brat­ing hierarchs.

Bish­op Nicholas leads the Great Con­se­cra­tion of the Church of the Pro­tec­tion of the Moth­er of God in Rochester, NY (Sep. 6, 2021)

As Bish­op of Man­hat­tan, His Grace con­tin­ued to be the pri­ma­ry care­tak­er of the Kursk-Root Icon, in addi­tion to his new epis­co­pal duties as vic­ar bish­op of the Dio­cese of East­ern Amer­i­ca & New York, and as a mem­ber of the Holy Syn­od, to which he was appoint­ed imme­di­ate­ly as Deputy Sec­re­tary.

As the health of our First Hier­ar­ch slow­ly declined over the fol­low­ing years, Bish­op Nicholas took upon his shoul­ders more and more respon­si­bil­i­ty for the care of the dio­cese, becom­ing sec­re­tary of the dio­cese in 2018 and under­tak­ing an increas­ing­ly ardu­ous sched­ule of parish vis­i­ta­tions. Through­out this time, he earned the love and admi­ra­tion of the flock as a kind, gen­tle pas­tor, but also as a wise shep­herd with firm resolve.

Fol­low­ing the repose of His Emi­nence, Met­ro­pol­i­tan Hilar­i­on, the Syn­od of Bish­ops appoint­ed Bish­op Nicholas as tem­po­rary admin­is­tra­tor of the East­ern Amer­i­can Dio­cese. Now with his elec­tion, he becomes the dio­ce­se’s per­ma­nent Rul­ing Hier­ar­ch and the guid­ing light of the entire Russ­ian Church Abroad.

Axios! Axios! Axios!

This arti­cle was pre­pared uti­liz­ing an ear­li­er bio­graph­i­cal sketch writ­ten by Pro­todea­con Paul Droz­dows­ki, with the author’s permission.