Feast of St. Alexander Hotovitzky (December 4)   2 comments

Above:  Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Moscow, Russia, Prior to Its Demolition in 1931

Image in the Public Domain



Russian Orthodox Priest and Martyr, 1937

Orthodox Church in America feast day = December 4

Russian Orthodox Church feast day = August 7

St. Alexander Hotovitzky served God, followed Jesus, and received the crown of martyrdom.  He, born in Kremenetz, Russian Empire (now Ukraine), on February 11, 1872, was a son of archpriest Alexander Hotovitzky, Rector of the Volhynia Theological Seminary.  Our saint studied at that institution then at St. Petersburg Theological Seminary, earning his M.A. degree in 1895.

Then Hotovitzky’s time as a missionary in the United States began.  After time in Alaska, our saint became reader at the new St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, New York, New York.  He married Maria Scherbuhina, became a deacon, then finally joined the ranks of priests at February 25, 1896.  Bishop Nicholas ordained him at the diocesan cathedral in San Francisco, California.  As pastor of the St. Nicolas Orthodox Church, New York City, our saint ministered to immigrants and started congregations in various towns and cities, from Yonkers, New York, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He also helped to build the new St. Nicholas Cathedral (dedicated in 1902) in New York City.

Hotovitzky returned to the Russian Empire in 1914.  He served first in mainly Lutheran Helsinki, Finland, in 1914-1917.  In August 1917 our saint became assistant pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Moscow.  He worked closely with St. Tikhon of Moscow (1865-1925), who had been the Bishop of the Aleutians and Alaska (1898-1905) then the Archbishop of the Aleutians and North America (1905-1907), prior to returning to Russia. St. Tikhon became the Patriarch of Moscow in late 1917.  Hotovitzky played an active role in administering the Diocese of Moscow.

Hotovitzky kept the faith under Bolshevik rule.  He helped to found the Christ the Saviour Cathedral, to maintain the church.  He also became a prisoner twice (in 1920 and 1921) for conducting religious education in 1922, when the state, on the pretense of helping the poor, confiscated icons and sacred vessels.  The cathedral and the Russian Orthodox Church, in fact, had been doing much to help the poor and continued to do so.  As the state executed many Russian Orthodox clergymen, our saint faced charges in 1922; he allegedly sought to regain church lands and property the state had confiscated, and had supposedly tried to overthrow the government.  Hotovitzky, sentenced to a decade of incarceration on December 13, 1922, served a term that ended in October 1923.

The persecution continued.  Hotovitzky, arrested on September 24, 1924, spent three years in exile in the Turuhan region.  After returning from exile, Hotovitzky assisted the future Patriarch Sergius I.  During the 1930s our saint served at the Church of the Deposition of the Robe, Moscow, until his final arrest, in 1937.

Hotovitzky has been an official saint since December 4, 1994.





Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr, Saint Alexander Hotovitzky,

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant to us, who now remember him in thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with him the crown of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Eccelesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2020), 714


2 responses to “Feast of St. Alexander Hotovitzky (December 4)

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  1. We have no idea how hard it was for the Russian Christians. Thank you for spotlighting this saint!

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