By HAROLD M. LEICH
The Library has received the diaries and papers of Metropolitan Leonty (1876-1965; secular name Leonid Ieronimovich Turkevich), head from 1950 until 1964 of the Russian Orthodox Metropolia of North America.
This gift to the Library came from Metropolitan Leonty's granddaughter, Tamara Turkevich Skvir, of Princeton, N.J., and consists of 50 bound volumes of diaries covering the period 1906-1964. The collection also includes approximately 2,000 poems as well as other miscellaneous memoranda and historical documents. The papers will be housed in the Manuscript Division.
In a ceremony in the Librarian's Office on July 29, Dr. Billington formally accepted the gift to the Library from Mrs. Skvir and noted that "the papers of Metropolitan Leonty represent a significant addition to the Library's strong Russian collections and to its extensive holdings of original manuscripts relating to the history of the Orthodox Church in North America."
Shortly after his ordination as priest in 1905, Leonty was sent to the Orthodox theological seminary in Minneapolis and spent the early years of his ministry in the United States. He was one of the American delegates to the All-Russian Church Council in the Moscow Kremlin in late 1917 and early 1918 that restored the office of the Patriarch of Moscow as the Bolshevik Revolution was taking place.
Returning to the United States in the early 1920s, Leonty was consecrated bishop in 1933. He is responsible for establishing in 1938 two of the principal Orthodox seminaries in America, St. Vladimir's (New York) and St. Tikhon's (South Canaan, Penn.).
Because of the work of Leonty, from 1950 to 1964, when he was head of the Russian Orthodox Metropolia (the predecessor organization to today's Orthodox Church in America), inter-Orthodox cooperation in the United States increased greatly as did ecumenical contacts with other religious bodies.
Mr. Leich is an area specialist in the European Division.