On Thursday 16 April at 5:45am AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time), His Grace Bishop George of Canberra arrived in Sydney to his new appointment as the Vicar of the Australian and New Zealand Diocese. Bishop George was greeted at the airport by Archpriest George Lapardin (dean of Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, Strathfield), Priest Gabriel Lapardin (rector of St Seraphim’s parish, Brisbane) and Protodeacon Alexander Kotlaroff.
Bishop George was then driven to the Diocese where he was warmly greeted by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, Archbishop of Australia and New Zealand and received the keys to his apartment. Breakfast was served.
The future bishop George, Paul Schaefer, was born on May 25, 1950, in Belleville, Illinois. He graduated from Catholic High School in 1968 and then attended Southern Illinois University from 1968 to 1972. In 1974 he was received into the Greek Orthodox Church in Modesto, CA, and given the name Makarios in honor of Saint Makarios the Great. He joined the Russian Church Abroad in San Francisco in May 1975 and entered Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, New York in September 1975.
On Christmas, January 7, 1976, Makarios was made a novice by Archbishop Averky (Taushev). As a novice his obediences in the monastery were working in the farm and cemetery. After a few years in the monastery he was made a riassophor monk on Friday of the First Week of Lent, 1979 and tonsured to the small schema on Friday of the First Week of Lent, 1980, and given the name Mitrophan in honor of Saint Mitrophan of Voronezh. He was ordained a subdeacon on Palm Sunday of the same year. In 1980, he graduated from Holy Trinity Seminary.
Fr. Mitrophan was sent to Mount Athos by Archbishop Laurus in June of 1981. He was tonsured to the great schema by Hieromonk Nektarios of Koutloumousiou Monastery, Mt. Athos, and given the name George in honor of Saint George the Great-Martyr.
In February, 1986, Fr. George returned to Holy Trinity Monastery and started working in the Printshop of Saint Job of Pochaev in 1986, where he worked until 1998. He assumed editorial duties on Orthodox Life in 1992.
Fr. George was ordained a hierodeacon on the feast of St. Michael, 1986, and a hieromonk on Palm Sunday, 1987. In September 1998 he was elevated to the rank of abbot and archimandrite on the Feast of St. Job of Pochaev, 2005.
In 1994, he was appointed as economos of Holy Trinity Monastery and made dean of Holy Trinity Monastery in 2007. He is the author of several articles and translations published in Orthodox Life. He translated the sayings of the Optina Elders published in the book “Living without Hypocrisy,” published by HTM Press in 2006. He served as confessor and spiritual father for Holy Trinity Monastery and for the Hermitage of the Holy Cross in Wayne, West Virginia, the largest English-language monastery of the ROCOR.
In May 2008, the Synod of Bishops of the ROCOR elected Archimandrite George as Bishop of Mayfield, Vicar of the Eastern American Diocese. The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church confirmed the election in June 2008. On December 7, 2008, Archimandrite George was consecrated to the episcopal office at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York, by Bishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada, Bishop Peter of Cleveland, and Bishop John of Caracas. Bishop George’s place of residence is at Holy Cross Monastery in Wayne, WV, of which he is now abbot.
On October 10, 2014, he was appointed by the Holy Synod to be ‘Bishop of Canberra’ and a vicar bishop within the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand. It was later announced that Bishop George would move to the Australian Diocesan Chancery after Pascha 2015, and would remain Bishop of Mayfield until his relocation.