About Fr. Lazarus Moore

Fr. Lazarus is widely regarded as one of the great missionaries and scholars of the 20th century.

An Orthodox missionary priest serving Palestine, Transjordan, India, Greece, Australia, California and Alaska, he translated the Psalter, the Four Gospels, the Ladder of Divine Ascent, the Arena, the Old Jordanville Prayer Book, the Life of St Seraphim of Sarov, and countless other manuscripts and services before his repose in +1992+.

Fr. Lazarus was born Edgar Moore in Swindon, England, on October 18, 1902. At eighteen he moved to Alberta, Canada and worked as a shepherd, longshoreman, farm laborer and on the railroad. It was here, in Canada, Fr. Lazarus experienced a profound spiritual awakening and heard “a call from God” to become a missionary.

With God’s calling in his heart, Fr. Lazarus returned to England to study at St Augustine’s, an Anglican missionary college in Canterbury, England, for five years. He was ordained deacon in the Church of England in 1930 and in 1931 ordained Anglican priest.

Fr. Lazarus became interested in travel, and his ongoing conversion took him to India in 1933 where he joined the Christa Seva Sangha, an Anglo-Indian brotherhood with an ashram at Poona. Studies in church history and tradition brought him to the Holy Land and Mount Athos where his desire to embrace Orthodox Christianity flowered.

Fr. Lazarus communicated with Russian hierarchs and visited Serbia, received by Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) into the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), which at that time was centered in Sremsky Karlovsky, near Belgrade.

At Milkovo Monastery, before being ordained by Archbishop Feofan in January of 1936(?) to the priesthood, Fr. Lazarus became a monk. His heart and mind deepened in the Orthodox Church and he was assigned to the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission which is in Jerusalem, at the Convent of St. Mary Magdalene on Gethsemane.

Two martyred saints, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna of Russia and her fellow nun Varvara Yakovleva are buried in the church. Fr. Lazarus worked closely with the Abbess, Mother Mary (Robinson) and Mother Mary (Sprott), also converts from Anglicanism. He taught at the school at Bethany (in Palestine) which was maintained by the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission. Here he completed a first draft for The Life of St. Seraphim.

But then war broke out.

Battle and the ensuing social chaos forced Fr. Lazarus and his small community of St Mary’s to flee, on foot, through the desert to Transjordan.

Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the newly-founded state of Israel handed the property of the convent to the militant-atheist government of the Soviet Union, essentially dissolving the mission and convent.

Fr. Lazarus then lived in the Transjordan area for one year and in 1952 returned to India, helping a group of non-Chalcedonian Syrian Orthodox in Malabar, South India, who had approached the Russian Synod seeking admission into Chalcedonian Orthodoxy.

Fr. Lazarus stayed in India for the next 20 years.

He helped in missionary work, translating lives of the saints, Church services, writing and serving God with all his heart, mind and soul amid poverty, disease and political and social tumult.

He broadcast radio sermons, laboring under extreme conditions of heat, bouts of malaria, and incredible isolation. Much of his translation work from Slavonic and Greek into English was completed and published during this time, often in the magazine Orthodox Life put out by the Jordanville monastery in New York.

Here Fr. Lazarus translated the Old Jordanville Prayer Book, the Arena, the Ladder of Divine Ascent and numerous other manuscripts. He labored with an old, manual ribbon-style typewriter transferring precious spiritual words page by page. He often had to curtail his labors because the electricity would go out.

Because black cassocks were culturally offensive to local residents, Fr. Lazarus wore a white cassock during this time. And it was during this period, in India, he met Ghandi and Mother Gavrilia, the ascetic of love.

In 1972, Fr. Lazarus was summoned to Greece, where he labored and contemplated settling for good but in 1974, he was called to serve Australia. Here, his efforts over an 8 year period blossomed into what is today the thriving, beautiful Orthodox Mission of Holy Cross.

During his time in Australia, Fr. Lazarus sought canonical release from the Russian diocese and was accepted into the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Antioch.

In 1983, Fr. Lazarus received an invitation from Fr. Peter Gillquist to come and live among the Evangelical Orthodox Church in America to help them transition from Protestantism into canonical Orthodoxy.

Fr. Lazarus accepted, and by 1987, several thousand individuals were received into the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese. Fr Lazarus lived in Santa Barbara for five years, a beloved elder and teacher for the thriving St. Athansius church where he touched many lives.

But by 1989, his health began declining and he moved to the community of St John’s Cathedral in Eagle River, Alaska. Here, Fr. Lazarus shared the last years his life helping the community of St John’s transition to Orthodoxy.

On November 27, 1992, Fr. Lazarus fell asleep in the Lord. On the fourth day after his repose, he was buried in St John’s Cathedral cemetery. A clear sign of the Resurrection, the snowy, Alaskan landscape was miraculously thawed to reveal brightly-springing green turf.

Three bald eagles flew overhead.

Fr. Lazarus left us “traveling with angels.” Through his labors as monk, priest, translator, teacher, friend and author, countless souls were and still are today nurtured in love for and by God.

Glory to God!

20th Anniversary of Repose

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the repose of Archimandrite Lazarus Moore who, serving the Orthodox Church almost 60 years, contributed to the spread of Orthodoxy throughout the world.

With joy and sobriety, enduring hardship and performing the work of an evangelist, Fr. Lazarus translated and spread what St. Paul refers to as the “Scripture (which) is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16). 

Father Lazarus served in the Orthodox Church throughout the world, including Palestine, Kenya, Greece, Australia, India, Serbia, California and Alaska. Reflecting on his life and ministry, it is clear Fr. Lazarus transmitted the life of the Church tirelessly, uniquely, and in a wholly Orthodox manner as attested to by St. Nikoli Velimirović, who vouched for him when he came into the church, as one who is truly carrying the torch of the Orthodox faith.

Fr. Lazarus, knowing many languages, translated The Ladder of Divine Ascent, the Menaion, the Psalter, The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, The Arena and hundreds of other titles still in use around the world in seminaries, parishes and monasteries today. Two books for which he is particularly well known, are the original 1960 Jordanville Prayer Book and the life of St. Seraphim, entitled An Extraordinary Peace: St. Seraphim, Flame of Sarov.

St. John Maximovitch writes of Fr. Lazarus in October 1957, “None of the clergy that is currently serving in England can successfully nurture the Orthodox…there is a need to have a cultured and theologically educated Orthodox priest who would have enough reputation among Englishmen…so there is definitely a gap in the Orthodox Church activities in England, and this gap could be filled if Fr. Lazarus returned.”

Fr. Lazarus witnessed to Christ, to the Gospel and to the Orthodox Faith with Mother Gavrilia throughout India, visiting Gandhi while serving sick and impoverished families and children. He followed in the footsteps of Thomas the Apostle to India, who is traditionally believed to have sailed to there in 52AD. St. Ephraim the Syrian, in his hymns about St. Thomas, writes:“It was to a land of dark people he was sent, to clothe them by Baptism in white robes. His grateful dawn dispelled India’s painful darkness. It was his mission to espouse India to the One-Begotten. The merchant is blessed for having so great a treasure.”

These words ring true of Fr. Lazarus’ ministry.

During the years of his labors throughout India as translator, priest, monk and lecturer, Father Lazarus achieved respect and recognition throughout the Orthodox and secular world. His translation of The Ladder of Divine Ascent by St. John Climacus got the attention of the English poet T.S. Eliot, who became interested in the manuscript, arranging
for it’s publication in England by Faber and Faber.

Fr. Lazarus articulated and bore witness to the Orthodox vision of unity among God’s diverse Creation, bringing dozens of cultures and tongues into the blessed liturgical cycle of the Orthodox Church. For decades, Fr. Lazarus studied, served Liturgy, taught, prayed, fasted and translated for thousands of people. In 1982, while living in Australia, Fr. Lazarus was invited to America on a speaking tour of Greek Orthodox churches. During this tour, he met some Evangelical Orthodox clergy and received an invitation from Fr. Peter Gillquist to come and live among the people in the Evangelical Orthodox Church in America to help them transition from Protestantism into canonical Orthodoxy.

By 1987, several thousand individuals were received into the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese.

Those who knew him continue experiencing the fruit of his prayers. In 1986, Fr. L was invited to come to Alaska to speak to the Orthodox faithful in Eagle River.  He returned in 1988 and eventually moved there December of 1989 after being asked to make one last move before his journey across the line from this world to our eternal home.

From the cool rains of England to the oppressive Indian heat, and from Jerusalem to the far north of Alaska, he was a man after God’s own heart, looking for His lost sheep. Fr. Lazarus placed his hope in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, through voluntary service and suffering. This life with God, the greatest adventure,  is relevant in our turbulent world, where we need to fearlessly go forward , no matter what the conditions, be they secular or pagan for God is with us.

As he approached the hour of death on his final pilgrimage, he heard these words from the second epistle of Timothy:

“I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure  has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

“At  my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me, in order that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all Gentiles might hear; and I was delivered out of the lion’s mouth.  The Lord will deliver me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

2 Timothy 4:5-8;16-1

Fr. Lazarus, pray to God for us.