Archbishop Theodore Irtel

Aliases:
  • George Irtel
  • George Irtell
  • Serge Irtel
  • Serge Irtell
  • Sergei Irtel
  • Sergei Irtell
  • Sergie Irtel
  • Sergie Irtell
  • Sergius Irtel
  • Sergius Irtell
  • Theodore Irtell

Archbishop Theodore Irtel was a bishop in the Archdiocese of Vasiloupolis.

While in this position, Irtel reportedly was responsible for the conversion of Fathers Benedict Greene and Vasili Hughes to Orthodoxy. Greene succeeded Irtel as hierarch when the archbishop retired.

Before Irtel joined Vasiloupolis, he was a priest in the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of North America (the Metropolia). As Igumen Sergius Irtell, “Father Serge” worked at Saint Nicholas Church in Hoonah, Alaska, in 1955. Copies of the relevant pages from the Metropolia’s 1955 Yearbook are linked above.

The Metropolia became the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) in 1970.¬† According to an email from the OCA’s archivist, it was announced in the January, 1958, issue of The Russian American Orthodox Messenger (Messenger) that Irtel was “excluded” from the Diocese of Alaska by¬†Bishop Amvrossy Merejko for leaving his parish without permission and relocating outside of the diocese.

Also according to the archivist, in May of the same year, the Great Council of Bishops decided to “exclude” Irtel, who had left the Diocese of Alaska, from the ranks of Metropolia clergy. An announcement of this decision was published in the June, 1958, issue of the Messenger. Copies of the documentation on Irtel’s exclusion, which are all in Russian, are linked above.

The archivist explained that when a clergyman was “excluded” it meant that the hierarchs no longer recognized him as being part of the Metropolia and that his name was removed from the official list of Metropolia clergy.

In the spring of 1959 Irtel was a “retired” Russian priest in Las Vegas, Nevada. “Sergie Irtel” worked at the newly formed community that became Saint John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church. This is documented on page 17 of the February 5, 1999, issue of the Orthodox Observer (Observer). A copy of the page from the Observer is linked above.

Irtel worked at Saint John Chrysostom Russian Orthodox Church as a supply priest using the name Sergei Irtel in December of 1960 and also in 1964. The parish belongs to the Moscow Patriarchate. A copy of a screen shot of the page containing this information is linked above.

According to a couple biographies of the archbishop, he was given the name George by his parents.

Irtel died in 1996, spending the last seven months of his life at the Abbey of the Holy Name in West Milford, New Jersey. The abbey belongs to the Orthodox jurisdiction commonly known as the Synod of Milan.