Herman (Swaiko)

Metropolitan Herman (born Joseph Swaiko, 1 February 1932) is the former primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). As the head of the OCA, he was the former [1] Archbishop of Washington and New York, and Metropolitan of All America and Canada. He was elected Metropolitan on 22 July 2002, replacing Metropolitan Theodosius (Lazor), who retired due to health problems related to a series of strokes.[2]

Herman (Swaiko)
Archbishop of Washington and New York
Герман (Свайко).jpg
Rabbis from the Tbilisi Synagogue greeting Metropolitan Herman
Installed2002-09-08 (2002-09-08)
Term ended2008-09-04 (2008-10)
PredecessorMetropolitan Theodosius (Lazor)
SuccessorMetropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen)
Other post(s)Deputy Abbot of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk Orthodox Monastery
OrdinationApril 1964
Personal details
Joseph Swaiko

1932-02-01 (1932-02-01) (age 90)
DenominationEastern Orthodox
Alma materSaint Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary
Ordination history of
Herman (Swaiko)
Diaconal ordination
DateMarch 1964
Priestly ordination
DateApril 1964
Episcopal consecration
Consecrated byIreney (Bekish)
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Herman (Swaiko) as principal consecrator
Irineu (Duvlea)2002-11-02
Tikhon (Mollard)2004-02-14
Benjamin (Peterson)2004-05-01
Alejo (Pacheco-Vera)2005-05-28


Joseph Swaiko was born 1 February 1932 in Baidford, Pennsylvania, to Wasil and Helen Heridish Swaiko. He had nine siblings, Charles Swaiko, Mary (Swaiko) Kokoruda, Helen (Swaiko) Shurina, Richard Swaiko, Alexi Swaiko, Geroge Swaiko, Michael Swaiko, John Swaiko, and Irene (Swaiko) Weischedel, all born between 1919 and 1933.[3]

He completed his primary and secondary education in the West Deer Township school system, and enrolled in Robert Morris College. He graduated from Robert Morris with an associate degree in secretarial science. Upon graduation, he served as a company clerk in the United States Army Adjutant General's Corps, and was stationed in Labrador.[1]

After his honorable discharge from the army in 1959, he enrolled at Saint Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary.[1] There, in 1961, he was appointed personal secretary to bishop Kiprian (Borisevich).[4]

In March 1964, he was ordained as a deacon and, on 7 April 1964, was ordained a priest. Subsequently, he served on the seminary's administrative staff and was an instructor of Church Slavonic. He also served as Rector of St. John the Baptist Church in Dundaff and Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Union Dale, Pennsylvania.[1]

He was tonsured as a monk on 4 December 1970, and received the name Herman in recognition of St. Herman of Alaska. On 17 October 1971, Herman was elevated to the rank of Igumen and was named Deputy Abbot of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk Orthodox Monastery. In October 1972, Herman was raised to the rank of Archimandrite.[1]

On 10 February 1973, he was consecrated Bishop of Wilkes-Barre in his Cathedral Church of the Holy Resurrection and assigned as auxiliary bishop of the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Archdiocese.[4]

After the death of Archbishop Kiprian (Borisevich), Herman was elected Bishop of Philadelphia on 17 March 1981, and Rector of Saint Tikhon's Seminary in May 1982. In 1994, he was elevated to the rank of Archbishop. From May to September 2001, Archbishop Herman served as the temporary administrator of the OCA, while Metropolitan Theodosius was on a medical leave of absence.[1]

Election to MetropolitanEdit

On 2 April 2002, Metropolitan Theodosius (who had suffered a series of strokes) submitted a petition to the Holy Synod of the OCA requesting his retirement. The Holy Synod granted his request and announced an election for his replacement to be held on July 22, at the OCA's Thirteenth All-American Council in Orlando.[5]

No candidate received the required two-thirds majority during the first round of voting, which necessitated a second round. During the second round, Bishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada received the majority of votes, but again not the required two-thirds. Subsequently, the Holy Synod decided to elect Archbishop Herman (Metropolitan Theodosius was selected in a similar manner in 1977, having not received a two-thirds majority of votes).

Archbishop Herman was enthroned on 8 September 2002, at a ceremony in St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

After numerous complaints of financial improprieties were lodged with the Holy Synod of the OCA, a Special Investigating Committee was established in October 2007 under the chairmanship of Bishop Benjamin of the West. (see Financial scandal in the Orthodox Church in America). The final report was issued in November 2008. It detailed numerous dubious transactions and poor accounting practices. It recommended the replacement of Metropolitan Herman. Aware of this coming recommendation, Metropolitan Herman retired in September 2008.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Past Primates: His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman (Swaiko)". Orthodox Church in America. Archived from the original on 2020-10-22. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  2. ^ "Archbishop Herman of Philadelphia Elected Primate of the Orthodox Church in America". Holy Trinity Romanian Orthodox Church. Archived from the original on 2021-09-09. Retrieved 2006-11-02.
  3. ^ "New Russian Orthodox Bishop Consecrated in Wilkes-Barre". Hazelton Standard-Speaker. Vol. 108, no. 30023. 1973-02-12. p. 19 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ a b Tarasar, Constance J.; Erickson, John H., eds. (1975). Orthodox America 1794–1976. Syosset, New York: The Orthodox Church in America Department of History and Archives. LCCN 76368792. OCLC 1245636329. OL 4941373M. Retrieved 2022-04-19 – via Internet Archive.
  5. ^ Liberovsky, Alexis. "Primatial Elections in the OCA". Orthodox Church in America. Archived from the original on 2022-04-17. Retrieved 2022-04-21.
  6. ^ Peterson, Benjamin; Tkachuk, John; Reese, Philip; Skordinski, Faith; Solodow, Dmitri Robert (2008-11-08). "Report of the Special Investigating Committee" (PDF). Orthodox Church in America. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-02-25. Retrieved 2008-11-12.

External linksEdit

Preceded by Primate of the Orthodox Church in America
22 July 2002 – 4 September 2008
Succeeded by