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Archbishop John (Pommer)

Archbishop John (Pommer)

John (Jānis) Pommer (1876 – 1934) – archbishop, head of Latvian Orthodox Church from 1921 to 1934. In 2001 was attributed to the holy priests-martyrs status.

John Pommer (Jānis Pommers) was born in the Prauliena district in a peasant family of Orthodox Latvians. In 1897 he graduated from the Riga Theological College and in 1904 the Kiev Theological Academy. He became a monk in 1903. In 1907 John Pommer was appointed rector of the Lithuanian Theological College and Senior Priest of the Monastery of Holy Trinity (Vilnius). In 1911 he became the youngest bishop in Russia. In 1912 Pommer was charged with the authority of the Minsk eparchy (diocese) and in 1915 that of Taganrog.

After the Revolution of 1917 when Bolsheviks came to power the persecution of the churches began. John Pommer was posted to Penza, where he was arrested by communist authorities and was imprisoned for over half a year. On his release from prison in 1921 and receiving Patriarch Tikhon blessing, John Pommer left for Riga. There he became the head of the Latvian Orthodox Church. It was a difficult time for the Orthodox community of the new-born independent state. Some of the Latvian politicians saw in Orthodoxy no more than support for the earlier Tsarist regime. The Orthodox Church lost part of its property. The building of the Orthodox Theological College was given over to the University of Latvia, the St. Alexey Church went to the Catholics, the St. Peter and Paul Church came under the jurisdiction of the Estonian Lutheran Community, etc. The fate of the main Orthodox church of Latvia, the Cathedral of the Birth of Christ, was undecided. The Cathedral stood in ruins, and there were proposals to turn it into a secular establishment.

Arriving in Riga Archbishop John set up his home in the Cathedral’s vaults, as the house of the higher clergy had also been taken away from the Orthodox Church. With effort and time no object, the Archbishop defended the legal interests of the Orthodox Church and his congregation. He was elected three times MP to the Saeima (Parliament of Latvia). Thanks to the efforts of Johann Pommer the Orthodox Church held a firm position in Latvian society. In independent Latvia ten new Orthodox churches were built and consecrated. On the 12th October 1934 Archbishop John died a martyr’s death at the hands of murderers unknown to this day. On the 24th September 2001 the Assembly of the Latvian Orthodox Church was held, in which Archbishop John (Pommer) was canonized. A unique event had taken place; for the first time in its history Latvia had given the Christian world a holy martyr.

Прославление. Слово Высокопреосвященнейшего Александра, Митрополита Рижского и вся Латвии. - Покровское кладбище. Слава и забвение. - Рига, 2004

Светлана Видякина. Закладка часовни в память архиепископа Рижского и Латвийского Иоанна (Поммера). - Покровское кладбище. Слава и забвение. - Рига, 2004

Ин.Ефросиния. Возвращение. - Покровское кладбище. Слава и забвение. - Рига, 2004

Димитрий Левицкий. Загадка следственного дела об убийстве архиепископа Иоанно (Поммера)

Юрий Сидяков. Святой священномученик Иоанн, архиепископ Рижский (1876-1934). - Покровское кладбище. Слава и забвение. - Рига, 2004

Юрий Сидяков. Иоанн (Поммер) глазами биографов, историков и публицистов

Надежда Дёмина. Рижская церковь во имя св.пророка  Иоанна Предтечи

Пензенская паства епископа Иоанна

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