Hieromartyr Bishop Lazarus (Lyubimov) And Those With Him

Bishop Lazarus, in the Michael Ivanovich Lyubimov, was born in 1887 in the village of Litvinovo, Narofominsk, Moscow province, in the family of a priest. He finished his studies at the Moscow theological seminary. In 1928 he was serving in the church of St. Nikola the Big Cross in Moscow, and from May, 1931 was superior of that church. He was secretly consecrated to the episcopate in 1930. From autumn, 1931 he was the leader of the Moscow Josephites. After the closure of the church that autumn, a part of the community moved to the Nikolsky church on Solyanka, which continued until 1933, and another part - to the last Josephite church in Moscow province, the Annunciation church near Michurinets station on the railway line towards Kiev. But most began to go to secret services, which were conducted by Bishop Lazarus after his release from the camps in the middle of the 1930s.

He and the doctor V.P. Proshkov (sentenced on July 7, 1932 to three years in the camps) often went to Leningrad, maintaining close links with the influential local Josephite, Protopriest Philotheus (Polyakov) and G.B. Petkevich. They found out that after the arrest of all the True Orthodox Leningrad hierarchs, the leader of the True Orthodox was Bishop Gabriel (Krasnovsky) of Klin, who had been living in exile in the Crimea since the spring of 1927. The Muscovite Josephites had a meeting at which it was decided to send Bishop Lazarus to the Crimea to receive instructions. In December, 1931 Bishop Lazarus stayed with Bishop Gabriel in Bakhchisarai and received his agreement to lead the Muscovite organization of the True Orthodox Church. Bishop Gabriel also suggested that the Muscovites establish contact with Bishop Seraphim (Zvezdinsky) of Dmitrov, who was living in Melenki, Ivanovo province. They had been close since their student days in the Moscow Theological Academy and regularly corresponded. The Muscovites established contact both with Bishop Seraphim and with Metropolitan Joseph, who was in exile in Kazakhstan.

On April 15, 1932 he was arrested, and on July 7 was sentenced to three years in the camps. In the middle of the 1930s he was released and returned to Moscow. He worked as an accountant. He was again arrested on December 15, 1937 and December 20 was sentenced to be shot. The sentence was carried out on December 22. He was buried in Butovo.

(Sources: M.V. Shkarovsky, Iosiflyanstvo: techeniye v Russkoj Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi, Saint Petersburg: Memorial, 1999, pp. 289, 74, 76)

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