NEW YORK: July 24, 2023
The First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia honors the memory of St Gabriel, Abbot of Mt Athos’ St Elias Skete and Wonderworker of Odessa in Brooklyn

On Saturday, July 22, 2023, the feast day of St Gabriel, Abbot of Mt Athos’ St Elias Skete and Wonderworker of Odessa, His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Church of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church in Brooklyn. His Eminence was assisted by parish clergy and guests in holy orders.

To mark the occasion, an icon of St Gabriel containing his relics was brought from Odessa, in front of which a prayer service was performed at the end of Liturgy.

The First Hierarch, the clergy and the assembled worshippers continued their gathering at a festive meal, during which those present congratulated Archimandrite Gabriel, who is temporarily serving here, on his namesday. A brief outline of the life of his patron saint follows:

The future Saint Gabriel was born into a poor family in a province of Kiev in 1849 on the feast day of the St George Hosevit and was baptized in his name. Orphaned early, he nevertheless received what we today call a secondary education, showing special diligence in studying the Law of God and spending his free time reading spiritual books.

In his youth, George fell seriously ill and made a vow to God that if he recovered, he would make a pilgrimage to the holy places of Kiev. Young George, relieved of his ailment, fulfilled his vow, and during his visit to the Dormition Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, he was so shaken by the opportunity to touch the relics of those great saints about whom he had read and heard that a desire arose in his soul to follow their example, also to renounce the world and its vanity and devote himself entirely to the service of God.

Returning home, George again returned to Kiev and entered the novitiate in St Theophan Hermitage. After some time, the young novice was given the opportunity to visit the Holy Land and Holy Mount Athos. After venerating the shrines of Jerusalem, George arrived on Mount Athos.

Here again a deep spiritual experience awaited him: the silence of the monks, their faces turned to the ground, the caves of the desert dwellers who prayed for the entire human race, the magnificent monasteries, the strict way of monastic life and the very nature of the Holy Mountain.

Illuminated by a spark of Divine love, the novice George decided to stay on Mount Athos in the Russian Ilyinsky (St Elias) Monastery, where he was accepted after examination. Here, a few years later, the future venerable father took monastic vows with the name Gabriel. Later he was elected abbot of this holy monastery.

This holy father, likely by the will of God, came to the Holy Mountain in order to draw it closer to the Russian people. Monk Gabriel had a special obedience – before his appointment as abbot of the St Elias Skete, he was a housekeeper on a sailing ship belonging to the Skete, departing annually for Russia to collect donated necessities of life in Ilyinsky Skete.

The monastic brig "Holy Prophet Elijah" made voyages between Mt Athos, Constantinople, Odessa and Mariupol, where it was loaded with grain, flour, Volga fish and other products. The captain of the ship was a hieromonk, the crew consisted of monks and novices - natives of Kherson, Kursk and other provinces, and the masts were crowned with golden crosses.

The watch on the ship alternated with the customary religious services in the deck church.

On the same vessel to Odessa, the monk also brought cornerstones from the Holy Mountain, on which in record time - in just three years - the famous Odessa Athos metochions were erected: Andreevskoye, Pateleimonovskoye and, of course, Ilyinskoye.

Odessa began to be called the gateway to the Holy Mountain and the Holy Land. Here, pilgrims arriving from all over Russia received shelter and food, they were helped to draw up the necessary documents and, finally, sent by sea to the Holy Land or to Mount Athos. However, funds for the maintenance of the Athos-Ilyinsky monastery were still insufficient.

By now elevated to Prior, Archimandrite Gabriel received Royal permission to collect donations throughout the Russian Empire. To do this, he brought the greatest shrines from the Holy Mountain: a particle of the Life-Giving Cross of the Lord, the miraculous icon of the Most Holy Theotokos the "Milk-Feeder" with particles of the robe of Christ and the tunic of the Most Holy Theotokos, as well as the left foot of the relics of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called.

Funds were finally raised, but they were still not enough to build a new cathedral. In 1901, despite his illness, Fr Gabriel again set sail to the Russian shores. Having visited the metochia in Constantinople, Odessa and Taganrog, Archimandrite Gabriel arrived in Novonikolaevsk. On October 14, after Divine Liturgy, he felt unwell. The next day, his health deteriorated.

On October 18 he communed of the Holy Mysteries of Christ, and on October 19 the monk departed to the Lord in His eternal abodes, where his soul had longed so long throughout his earthly life. In 1994, the his holy relics were opened, which rest in St Elias Monastery in Odessa.


Highslide JS Highslide JS Highslide JS
Highslide JS
Highslide JS Highslide JS Highslide JS
Highslide JS Highslide JS Highslide JS
Highslide JS Highslide JS Highslide JS
Highslide JS Highslide JS Highslide JS


Official website of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
Copyright © 2019
Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
Republication or retransmission of materials must include the reference:
"The Official Website of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia."
75 East 93rd Street
New York NY 10128 U.S.A.
Tel: (212) 534-1601
E-mail for content information: englishinfo@synod.com
E-mail for technical information: webmaster@synod.com