Ozmitel Ekaterina

Archbishop-novice for Turkestan diocese: the issue of metropolitan Nikandr’s (Fenomenov) appointment to Tashkent see in 1927

Ozmitel Ekaterina (2020) "Archbishop-novice for Turkestan diocese: the issue of metropolitan Nikandr’s (Fenomenov) appointment to Tashkent see in 1927 ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia II : Istoriia. Istoriia Russkoy Pravoslavnoy Tserkvi, 2020, vol. 97, pp. 137-156 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturII202097.137-156


The article reconstructs the history of the Оrthodox Turkestan diocese in 1925–1929 in order to answer the following questions: why Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) decided to replace its ruling Bishop Luka (Voino-Yasenetsky), why Metropolitan Nikandr (Fenomenov) became the new Turkestan Bishop, and what gave this appointment to the faithful of Central Asia. Serious problems that arose in the management of the Turkestan diocese in 1925-1927 are comprehended in the article based on archival documents from the Fund of Metropolitan Nikandr (Fenomenov), stored in the Central State archive of the Republic of Uzbekistan, as well as on the basis of narrative sources (memoirs and letters). The crisis of legitimacy and legality of Church administration was common to the entire Russian Orthodox Church at that time, was caused by repressive policies and gross interference by soviet authorities in internal Church aff airs. This crisis was aggravated in Central Asia by many specifi c factors. Serious confl icts caused the interim administration of the Turkestan diocese in 1925 by Bishop Sergius (Lavrov), who sometimes evaded the schism, then returned to Patriarch Tikhon, and also the activities of Bishop Andrew (Ukhtomsky), who created a secret autocephalous hierarchy not only for his Ufa believers, but also for the Turkestan ones. Bishop Luke, returning from exile in early 1926, tried to restore Church unity by reconciling the warring parties, but did not succeed. In addition, there was a fierce confrontation between Bishop Luka and Archpriest Mikhail Andreev. Quarrels among the clergy, inappropriate actions and complaints of parishioners gave the Renovationists reasons to discredit the clergy of «Tikhon’s Church». Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) tried to correct the situation at the end of 1926 and beyond, but neither the ruling Bishop nor the Tashkent congregation recognized his appointments. Bishop Luke, continuing to be called Tashkent and Turkestan until the autumn of 1927, was in an uncertain state in relation to the highest Church leadership and the administration of his diocese. Then he resigned, remaining to live in Tashkent. After the Declaration of 1927 Bishop Luke was inclined to stop communicating with Metropolitan Sergius; рossibly it was the infl uence of Metropolitan Arseny (Stadnitsky). Therefore, in September 1927, Metropolitan Sergius once again decided to replace its ruling Bishop, in order not to lose the Turkestan diocese. Metropolitan Nikandr (Fenomenov) agreed to become one — being in Ashgabat after his second exile, he did not have the opportunity to follow the appointment to the Odessa Chair. After entering the administration of the Turkestan diocese, Metropolitan Nikandr served in the only orthodox St. Sergius church in Tashkent at that time. He faced the hostility of its parishioners, who continue to consider Bishop Luka the ruling Bishop. Gradually, Metropolitan Nikandr managed to reconcile the warring parties, restore the correct attitude of the clergy and parishioners to the local and higher Church authorities. He promote the registration of parishes, the number of which increased by a third under him.


The Russian Orthodox Church in Central Asia, the Declaration of 1927, the persecution of The Church in the Soviet Union, exiled clergy in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, Metropolitan Arseny (Stadnitsky), Metropolitan Nikandr (Fenomenov), Аrchbishop Luke (Voino-Yasenetsky), Аrchbishop Dionysius (Prozorovsky)


  1. Beglov A. (2007) “Eparhii i episkopy Rossij skoj Cerkvi v 1927 godu, ili pochemu mitropolit Sergij (Stragorodskij ) stal peremeshchat’ eparhial’nyh preosvyashchennyh?” [Dioceses and bishops of the Russian Church in 1927, or why Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) began to move bishops?]. Al’fa i Omega, 2 (49), p. 169–189 (in Russian).
  2. Fioletova N. (1992) “Istoriya odnoj zhizni” [History of one life]. Minuvshee, 9, p. 7–105 (in Russian).
  3. Khodakovskaya O. (2016) «Kak melko, glupo to, chego ya domogalsya…» Vzlety i padeniya episkopa Sergiya (Lavrova) [“How small, stupid is what I was trying to achieve...” The ups and downs of Bishop Sergius (Lavrov)]. Vostok svyshe, 1–2 (XL), p. 13–24 (in Russian).
  4. Mazyrin A., Kosik O. (eds) (2011) Alchushchie pravdy: materialy cerkovnoj polemiki 1927 goda [Hungry for truth: materials of the church polemics of 1927]. Moscow (in Russian).
  5. Odintsov M. (2002) “Arsenij (Stadnickij ), mitropolit Tashkentskij i Turkestanskij (1862–1936 gg.). Biograficheskij ocherk” [Arseny (Stadnitsky), Metropolitan of Tashkent and Turkestan (1862–1936). Biographical sketch]. Cerkovno-istoricheskij vestnik, 9, pp. 109–145 (in Russian).
  6. Shik E. (ed.) (2016) “Nepridumannye sud’by na fone ushedshego veka. Pis’ma M.V. Shika (svyashch. Mihaila) i N.D. Shahovskoj-Shik” [Non-fi ctional fates against the background of the past century. Letters of M. V. Shik (priest Mikhail) and N. D. Shakhovskaya-Shik]. Vol. 2. Moscow (in Russian).
  7. Zimina N. (2004) “Vikarii Ufi mskoj eparhii 1920-h godov: svyashchennomuchenik Veniamin (Troickij ; 1901–1937)” [Vicars of the Ufa diocese of the 1920s: Hieromartyr Veniamin (Troitsky; 1901–1937)], in Ezhegodnaya bogoslovskaya konferenciya PSTBI [Annual theological conference of PSTBI: materials of 2004]. P. 323–349 Moscow (in Russian).
  8. Zimina N. (2006) “Neparadnyi portret: Arkhiep. Dionisii (Prozorovskii) v dukhovnoi istorii Rossii KhKh v.” [Casual portrait: Archbishop Dionysius (Prozorovsky) in the spiritual history of Russia in the twentieth century]. Ural’skie Biriukovskie chteniia, 4, 2, p. 356–362 (in Russian).

Information about the author

Ozmitel Ekaterina

Academic Degree: Doctor of Sciences* in History;
Place of work: St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University for Humanities; 6/1 Likhov per., Moscow, 127051, Russian Federation;
Post: Senior Researcher in Research Centre for Modern History of Russian Orthodox Church;
ORCID: 0000-0002-3671-9493;
Email: k_ozmitel@rambler.ru.

*According to ISCED 2011, a post-doctoral degree called Doctor of Sciences (D.Sc.) is given to reflect second advanced research qualifications or higher doctorates.