A few weeks ago, I did a podcast on the apparent murder of Fr. Paul Kedrolivansky, dean of the San Francisco Russian cathedral. At the time, I wasn’t aware of any surviving images of Kedrolivansky. Recently, however, I discovered the above photo, in the wonderful Alaska’s Digital Archives. It was taken in 1868, prior to Kedrolivansky’s appointment as dean of the San Francisco cathedral, and a decade before his death.
Kedrolivansky is on the left, with Bp Paul Popov in the center and a hieromonk named “Fr. Feopl” on the right. I don’t know anything about Fr. Feopl, aside from the fact that he’s listed as being a “missionary to Nusagak,” that is, Nushagak, in Alaska.
Bp Paul was the last vicar bishop of Novoarkangelsk (Sitka). He served under the bishop of Irkutsk, in Siberia. In 1870, the Russian Church reorganized its North American territory, creating a new diocese especially for Alaska. Bp Paul was recalled to Russia and replaced with Bp John Mitropolsky. And while Bp John technically held the title, “Bishop of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska,” he lived in San Francisco.
From another source, I also found some more biographical information about Fr. Paul Kedrolivansky. The 1990 book Russian America: A Biographical Dictionary, by Richard A. Pierce, includes the following entry:
Kedrolivanskii, Pavel I. (1834?-1878), priest, born about 1834, the son of a deacon. The family name is said to have originated when his father, a seafarer, saw the cedars of Lebanon and said “I henceforth change my name to Kedro-Livanskii [cedars of Lebanon]”. In 1856, he graduated with honors from Riazan seminary, and then taught school in Russia. In 1858 he was ordained as a priest and assigned to Iakutsk. In 1862 he was rewarded with epigonation, and in 1863 ordered to Sitka and raised to the rank of Dean of the American churches.
I never would have guessed that his surname was a reference to the cedars of Lebanon! What this biographical entry doesn’t tell us is the rest of the story — that Kedrolivansky moved to San Francisco with the new Bp John Mitropolsky in 1870, and that he died in 1878, at the age of about 44.