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Bishops of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia
Archbishop Theodore (Rafalsky) +1955

Alexander Rafalsky, the future Archbishop Theodore, was born in Lutsk, Ukraine, on 21 October 1895.  His father was Archpriest Porphiry Rafalsky and his mother Evdokia was the daughter of a priest.  Having married, on 12 May 1920 Alexander was ordained deacon and then, on 20 May 1920, ordained priest.  In conditions of war and revolution the part of Ukraine in which he and his matushka lived was claimed by Poland.  Sadly, his young wife was caught up in the social and religious upheaval of the time and, leaving her husband, fled abroad.  Father Alexander studied at the Theological Faculty of the Warsaw University from 1924-1928, graduating with the degree of Master of Theology.  His service to the church in priestly rank was distinguished and he was given many awards, including the mitre.  In 1942 the Synod of Bishops of the Autonomous Orthodox Church of the Ukraine chose him to be Bishop of Taganrog, vicar of the Ekaterinoslav Diocese.  Tonsured a monk in the Pochaev Lavra and given the name Theodore, on 25 July 1942 he was consecrated bishop.  Finding himself amongst the great many refugees in Germany, in 1946 he was received into the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia together with a number of other Ukrainian and Belorussian hierarchs and appointed to the newly created Diocese of Australia.  He arrived in Australia on 8 November 1948.  During the years that followed Vladyka Theodore organised many parishes and communities of believers across Australia and in New Zealand, received clergy into the Diocese, laid the groundwork for a proper Diocesan administration, and oversaw the building and consecration of Saints Peter and Paul Diocesan Cathedral in Strathfield, NSW.  He was known for his humility, his warmth, and his simplicity.  He was elevated to the rank of Archbishop on 3 November 1949.  He reposed on 5 May 1955 following a brief illness, aged only 59, and was laid to rest beside the Strathfield Cathedral. 

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