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.
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.
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.
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.