Joasaph (McLellan)

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Archimandrite Joasaph (secular name Francis Ronald McLellan Jr.;[1][2] January 24, 1962 – December 18, 2009) was American scholar and Orthodox priest. Since February 2009 until death he served as Chief of the Russian Orthodox Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.


He was born in Boston on January 24, 1962 to Francis James McLellan, Sr. and Polina B. McLellan[3] (nee Rooney).[2]

He attended the Boston public schools and Roxbury Latin, and graduated from Commonwealth School. In 1985 he earned his Bachelor of Theology from Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, New York,[2] where he graduated at the top of his class and was given the honor of delivering in English the parting address to professors and seminarians.[3] In 1996 he received his Master of Arts and Ph.D degrees from Brown University in Slavic Language and Literature.[2] His dissertation title was: "The Hilandar Gospel and its Place in the Textual History of the Church Slavonic Tetraevangelion".[3] He was a founding faculty member of the Summer School of Liturgical Music at Holy Trinity Seminary.[2]

In 2000 to 2004 he taught Russian at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. He instituted there a pre-Lenten meal of bliny for the students at his "tiny, little apartment". After University of Missouri he taught at Princeton University.[4]

At the request of the Metropolitan Laurus (Škurla) he left his teaching position at Princeton and entered to Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York.[2][3]

October 10, 2008 in at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York, he was tonsured to the small schema by Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral), and received the name of the Bishop Joasaph of Belgorod. On the following day Fr Joasaph was ordained to the deaconate.[5] December 7, 2008 newly consecrated Bishop George (Schaefer) ordained hierodeacon Joasaph to the priesthood. Fr. Joasaph prepared to serve the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem.[6]

Synod of Bishops of ROCOR appointed him chief of the ROCOR Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, and on February 8, 2009 at the Cathedral of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in Munich, Archbishop Mark (Arndt) of Berlin was elevated him to the rank of archimandrite, and then left with him to Jerusalem.[7]

As the head of the mission, Fr. Joasaph served at Ascension Convent on the Mount of Olives and Gethsemane Convent.[3] In the Holy Land he had to deal with property issues. Archimandrite Joasaph also worried about the lack of clergy. He was the first chief of the ROCOR Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem since 1948, who served in the new Cathedral of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission of the Moscow Patriarchate. At Archimandrite Joasaph tenure the ROCOR restored the fullness of ecclesial communion with the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem:[8] May 5, 2009 this fact was solidified by a concelebration at the Life-bearing Tomb of the Lord by Metropolitan Aristarchos (Peristeris), Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Jerusalem Patriarchate and His Grace Bishop Agapit (Goratchek) of Stuttgart, Vicar of the German Diocese.[9]

On August 11, 2009, Archimandrite Joasaph (MacLellan) in the presence of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, performed a pannikhida at the grave of Serge Semenenko in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA who donated a building to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in Manhattan. This fulfilled the wishes of the late Metropolitan Laurus who had wished to locate his gravesite and perform a memorial service for him.[10]

Since August 2009, Fr. Joasaph has been undergoing treatment by Dr. Jeffrey Clark at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he died December 18, 2009 from cholangiocarcinoma, aged 47.[11][4]

He leaves behind his stepmother Jolinda (Pelagia) McLellan of Roslindale, MA, and five siblings: Ann Lardas of Stratford CT and her husband the Protopriest George Lardas and their children Xenia, Nicholas, James and John; Daniel McLellan of Londonderry, NH, and his wife Amy (Elizabeth) and their children Ian, Daniel, and Madeleine; Genevieve McLellan of New York and her fiance Kevin Utter; Andrew McLellan of Roslindale, MA, and his wife Angeli (Olga) McLellan and their son David and Suzannah McLellan; as well as numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and ten godchildren. The family wishes to thank the staff of Massachusetts General Hospital and Fr Victor Boldewskul and the parishioners and council of Holy Epiphany Russian Orthodox Church in Roslindale, MA, for their compassionate care during these difficult months.[11]

His pannychida was held at Holy Epiphany parish in Boston on Sunday evening 20 December.[12] December 21, the funeral of Archimandrite Joasaph was held at Holy Trinity Monastery presided by Bishop Gabriel (Chemodakov) of Montreal and Canada, Bishop Peter (Loukianoff) of Cleveland and Bishop George (Schaefer) of Mayfield. Numerous clergy and laity paid their last respects to Archimandrite Joasaph and prayed for his repose.[13] He is buried in the monastic cemetery near the main church.[12]


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