Germogen (Maximov)

Metropolitan of Zagreb and whole Croatia

Patriarch Germogen shaking hand with Poglavnik Ante Pavelić (behind is Andrija Artuković) in Zagreb in 1942
Church Croatian Orthodox Church
See Zagreb
Installed 6 June 1942
Term ended 30 June 1945
Predecessor Church formed
Successor Church abolished
Personal details
Birth name Georgy Ivanovich Maximov
Born (1861-01-10)10 January 1861
Stanitsa Nogavskaya, Don Host Oblast, Russian Empire
Died 30 June 1945(1945-06-30) (aged 84)
Zagreb, SR Croatia, Yugoslavia

Metropolitan Germogen (Russian: Митрополит Гермоген, secular name Georgy Ivanovich Maximov, Russian: Георгий Иванович Максимов; 10 January 1861 – 30 June 1945) was bishop of Aksay (9 May 1910 - 1919), Vicar of the Don Diocese, 23rd Bishop of Yekaterinoslav and Novomoskovsk (1919 - November 1920), Governor of the Russian Orthodox municipalities on Crete and North Africa with a seat in Athens (1922), Archbishop of Yekaterinoslav and Novomoskovsk (ROCOR, titular) (1922–1942), member of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (1924–1942), the head (Patriarch or Metropolitan) of the Croatian Orthodox Church (1942–1945).

Early life

Georgy Ivanovich Maximov was born in 1861 in Stanitsa Nogavskaya (the Cossacks were called Tatars Nogais- hence the "Nogavskaya") in the Don Host Oblast of the Russian Empire to a Cossack family. His father was a church reader (Russian: псаломщик). He finished elementary and parochial school in Nogavskaya and high school in Ust-Medvedicka. He studied from 1879–82, in the Don Theological Seminary in Novocherkassk, and then attended the Spiritual Academy in Kiev.

After graduating from the Kiev Theological Academy in 1886, he served as a priest in Novocherkassk, where he remained for years.[1] Soon he became principal of the church gymnasium in Ust-Medvedicka in 1894. Georgy left Don Episcopacy in 1902 on call to the Bishop Vladimir (Sinkovsky) of Vladikavkaz, where he became rector of the Cathedral in Vladikavkaz, there he taught during the 1905 Russian Revolution. During that time, his wife died and he was left with six children, the youngest was one year old and the eldest sixteen. By decision of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, he became the Rector of the seminary in Saratov in 1906.[1] There Maximov became a monk in 1909[2] and took the name Germogen in gratitude to St. Seraphim. He had been consecrated in Saint Petersburg as Bishop of Aksay (May 9, 1910 – 1919), Vicar of the Don Diocese, and on 18 May, he arrived at the Don Diocese in Novocherkassk for his duties. In 1919 he became 23rd Bishop of the Yekaterinoslav and Novomoskovsk (1919 - November 1920)[1]

Meanwhile, the October Revolution broke out in 1917 and reached the Don area. Germogen condemned Bolshevik crimes against Cossacks, and consequently received death threats. Because of the new political system in Russia, he fled his homeland on 22. December 1919 and joined the Don Cossack Army which retreated with Cossack refugees towards Kuban. During this time, Germogen became a military bishop, a Cossack archpastor in Grand Don Army. Bishop Germogen became a member of the Russian Orthodox Southern Church Council which took place in Stavropol, from May 18 to May 24, 1919, at which the Higher Church Administration was formed in Southern Russia. According to the Archpriest George Shavelsky, archpastors of Don diocese - Metropolitan Mitrofan (Simashkevich) and Bishop Germogen - were determined that the Council "prevent the organization of the highest ecclesiastical authority, in their understanding, it was not necessary."

They resisted and the Pre-Council meeting, raising questions about canonicity and the need for the organization of the Provisional Supreme Church Authority for the area occupied by the troops of Ivan Denikin's White Army. When he arrived in the South Russian city of Novorossiysk in the Spring of 1920, he continued his escape with other refuges by ship to Yalta (from whence the final evacuation of the White Army took place in November 1920), but instead he arrived in Istanbul and from there went to the city of Thessaloniki. The wounded and sick were taken to the Greek island of Lemnos, where Germogen also settled to take care of them.

From Lemnos he went to Mount Athos to the Russian Orthodox Monastery of Saint Pantaleon, where he spent two years (1920–1922). During that time, the 1924 Greek coup led to Greece becoming a republic. . Afterward he traveled to Yugoslavia, first to Belgrade and later to Ravanica Monastery. After this, he went to Rakovac, Fruška Gora. Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow abolished the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church over emigration in 1922 and at the same time, members of the Russian Orthodox Church in emigration founded the Holy Synod which performed the same duties as the previous Authority. In Belgrade, he was proclaimed Governor of the Russian Orthodox municipalities on Crete and North Africa with a seat in Athena.

Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR)

Based on an ukase (decree) issued by Patriarch Tikhon the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was established; by bishops who had left Russia in the wake of the Russian Civil War and one of them was also Bishop Germogen. They first met in Constantinople in 2. December, 1920, and then by the invitation of Serbian Patriarch Varnava moved to Sremski Karlovci, Yugoslavia. After World War II, they moved their headquarters to New York City, where it remains.

After his emigration in 1920, Bishop Germogen, joined a Russian Orthodox Church and taught in the Russian Orthodox community in Greece, being the manager of Russian Orthodox communities formed in Greece, Africa and Cyprus. In 1922 was ordained Archbishop of Yekaterinoslav and Novomoskovsk (titular). At the same time he was sent to America in the rank of first Archbishop of Western America and San Francisco, but not manage to go on that position because of his bad health condition. Later in the rank of Archbishop resided in Yugoslavia in retirement in the Hopovo Monastery on Fruška Gora, where he moved Lesna Convent, originally from Lesna, a settlement in Byelorussia, from Kuveždin, Yugoslavia.

After two years in Petersburg, four years in Romania and couple of months in Kuveždin monastery, convent settle down in Hopovo monastery, where it remained for over 20 years until the German occupation. This convent is now in Provemont in France. The Lesna Convent move from Romania to Yugoslavia due to appeal of Mothers Catherine and Nina of Lesna Convent to the Alexander I of Yugoslavia, "a true friend and protector of Russians", for help. King Alexander advised them to move their Convent to Yugoslavia and continue their worthy labors on Yugoslavian soil. From Hopovo monastery, Archbishop Germogen was later (in 1942) proclaimed Patriarch of the "Croatian Orthodox Church".

From 1924-42 he was a member of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. In the dignity of Archbishop Germogen, member of the General Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, on 15–29 September 1936 in Sremski Karlovci, Yugoslavia, was elected Metropolitan Anastasius (Gribanovsky) as the new Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. At the Council members reorganized Synod of Bishops of the Church, to which Archbishop Germogen went as a representative of the Dioceses of the Far East. He is one of the founders of the Brotherhood of Russian Truth.

Collaboration and the non-canonical Croatian Orthodox Church

The non-canonical Croatian Orthodox Church was established on 3 April 1942 by the Ustashe regime of Ante Pavelić, with an aim to assimilate those Serbs who survived the genocide into Croats. On 5 June, it was decided that its head must be a patriarch.

As his promotion to patriarch needed approval, which Germogen didn't have, he was named metropolitan of Zagreb and the whole of Croatia, and it was decided that he would be named patriarch when the situation became more favorable. The final structure of this organisation was established in June 1942, and Germogen was named head of the church on 2 June and enthroned on 7 June 1942 in the Serbian Orthodox Church of the Holy Transfiguration in Zagreb in presence of top officials of the Independent State of Croatia. During that day, he chose a new name, Germogen, as metropolitan of Zagreb and Croatia. He took the ecclesiastical oath a day later.[3] He was immediately condemned by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and expelled from its Synod.

In August 1944, Metropolitan Visarion was sent to Zagreb by Patriarch Nikodim of Romania (Munteanu, 1864–1948) to meet with Germogen. He was sent to represent the Romanian Church and to act as co-consecrator at the consecration of the first Croatian Bishop for the Croatian Orthodox Church, a creation of the Ustashi government of Croatia in its war against the Serbian Orthodox Church. The Romanian Orthodox Church sent a delegation to this consecration as it was the sole Orthodox church to recognize the "Croatian Orthodox Church". The reason for this recognition was that at the time, Romania was ruled by the Fascist regime of Ion Antonescu, which was an ally of Nazi Germany and Ustashi Croatia. The foundation of the Croatian Orthodox Church was a major turnover in Croatian policy, especially in its relationship with Serbs. Germogen was, along with other leaders of his organisation, decorated by Pavelić with the Order for Merits.[4]


After Yugoslav Partisans entered Zagreb, a new communist regime took power on 9 May 1945, the Croatian Orthodox Church was abolished, and Germogen was arrested in the same month. The main trial, which was a show trial, was held on 29 June 1945 where Germogen was found guilty for agreeing to serve as Patriarch of the Croatian Orthodox Church. Germogen was shot on 30 June 1945 at age 84.[5]

Christian Orthodox martyr

On 23 September 2010 the Synod of Bishops of the non-canonical Russian True Orthodox Church (RIPC) (which split from the Russian Orthodox Church in 2001), held the in Church of Saint John of Kronstadt in Odessa (Ukraine), declared him a Christian Orthodox martyr.[6][7]

The RIPC is not in communion with any of the historical and canonical Orthodox Christian Churches. The Serbian Orthodox Church expressed outrage over this act.[8]

On 15 December 2010, the Synod of Bishops of the Russian True Orthodox Church issued an official document of the suspension of that Act: "Synod regret the hasty decision, ask for forgiveness from the clergy and laity of the brotherly Serbian True Orthodox Church (SIPC) and suspend the Act".[9]


  1. 1 2 3 Dizdar et al. 1997, p. 129.
  2. Geiger 2000, p. 570.
  3. Gegier 2000, pp. 571-72.
  4. Gegier 2000, p. 572.
  5. Gegier 2000, pp. 573-74.
  6. Germogen declared a Christian Orthodox martyr,; accessed 4 July 2015. (Russian)
  7. Na 66.obljetnicu smrti hrvatskih pravoslavnih svećenika svi umoreni proglašeni su mučenicima-svecima,; accessed 4 July 2015. (Croatian)
  8. RIPC declares Germogen, Kupčevski and Borisov as Christian Orthodox martyrs,; accessed 4 July 2015. (Serbian)
  9. RIPC veneration suspended,; accessed 4 July 2015. (Russian)

External links

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