Born on April 14, 1915 in Kazan in the family of Military engineer Mikhail Ivanovich Benigsen. He was the youngest of four children. The family leads its roots from Count Leonty Leontievich Background Bennigsen (before the transition to Orthodoxy - Levin August Gottlieb Theophile background Bennigsen), commander of the Russian cavalry, who distinguished himself during the Patriotic War of 1812. Brought up in the traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church. During the revolution and civil war, the family of Benigsen was planted in the country through the masses of tests (hunger, riots, red terror, etc.). In 1921, the family moved to Smolensk.¹
After 3 years, Benigsen moved to Latvia to their relatives. The family settled in the city of Daugavpils (former Dvinsk). It was there who passed childhood and adolescence George Mikhailovich: he graduated from high school in Daugavpils, but his faith was shaken at that moment. In 1933, the elder brother Georgy Mikhailovich died and this event affected his worldview. He began a passion for religion. Plans to become an artist, a lawyer or architect went to the background. In Daugavpils, he had friends among the pedagogical composition of the school, in which Benigsen studied. Teachers Rostislav Vladimirovich Polchanins and Konstantin Iosifovich Kravchenok became in the future by its faithful associates during the work of the Pskov Orthodox Mission. The historian Konstantin Obozny noticed that the father of George, Shelfnins and Kravchenok were members of the NTS.²
Being a very young young man, Benigsen began to take an active part in the work of the Russian Student Christian Movement (RSHD) in the Baltic States, which was created there in 1928. Initially, he joined the organization "Vityazi". Often went to Pechora at the meeting of the Union. Probably, it was there that he met the future protopsychoter Alexander Kiselev (in the future they will be engaged in educational and missionary activities in Germany).³
At one of the congresses of the RSHD, Georgii Mikhailovich found his spouse - Elena Ivanovna Kubaubner. She was born in 1918 in Estonia. In 1937 their wedding took place. In the same year, Benigsen entered the Bogoslovsky Faculty of the University of Riga On September 14, 1937, Georgy was ordained in Diacon Metropolitan Augustine (Peterson) in the Christ Cathedral of Riga. Benigsen combined his church activity with teaching in schools.⁴
In June 1940, the Baltic republics became part of the Soviet Union and the situation of church parishes changed, as was the situation of society as a whole. Waves of repression on the part of Soviet power forced part of the clergy to leave abroad (as a good familiar Benigsen Father Alexander Kiselev). On February 24, 1941, a separate Exarchate was established in the Latvian and Estonian dioceses, which was headed by Metropolitan Vilnius and Lithuanian Sergius (Voskresenskii).⁵.⁶ On the feast of the Holy Trinity, in the Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Holy Sergiev Women's Monastery in Riga Benigsen was ordained in the priest Metropolitan Sergius (Voskresensky).⁷
On July 1, 1941, German military units entered Riga. In an interview with the Voice of America's Voice dated March 21, 1981, Father Georgy told that with the beginning of the occupation, the Orthodox Church did not feel serious pressure on their activities. The church was engaged only by his spiritual affairs and the occupation authorities did not interfere in the life of clergy.⁸.⁹
In the fall of 1941, with the promotion of the Germans to the East, the Pskov Orthodox Mission was founded to the east Metropolitan (Voskresensky) - a pastoral-missionary enterprise in Orthodox dioceses: Leningrad, Pskov and Novgorod, as well as in the Baltic States and in Eastern Prussia. Father George became a member of the mission and was sent to Pskov. In a new place, Benigsen became the key to the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity and became the secretary of the mission. He also headed the arrival of the temple of the military medical unit of the Martyr Dimitria, in which he organized a daily church school for two hundred students and orphans at forty children. Also, priests of the Pskov Orthodox Mission helped Soviet prisoners of war of humanitarian aid. He helped Benigsen in the work and father Alexei Ionov (he became the prototype of the main character of the art film Vladimir Khotinenko "Pop" of 2009 on the Pskov Orthodox Mission).¹⁰
In 1943, the battalion of the future Russian liberation army of General Vlasov was stationed in Pskov. Officers Roa often came to the meetings of the priests of the Pskov Orthodox Mission. In turn, Belexen was instructed by the ombre of officers and soldiers of ROA.¹¹
In 1943, when Patriarch Sergius (seniororodsky) was elected in Moscow, the position of the mission somewhat worsened. In 1944, the Pskov Orthodox mission was closed: by that time, many priests took into the turnover of the Gestapo, Metropolitan Sergius (Voskresenskii) was killed, and the Red Army fell on all fronts.¹²
February 18, 1944 after the nail of Soviet aviation on Pskov, a day later, the father of Georgy Benigsen with the family and students left the city. After the funeral of Metropolitan Sergius (Resurrection) at the end of April 1944 in Riga, Benigsen went to Germany. Before leaving, Benigsen handed over the orphanage shelter by the well-known public figure Olga Benois.¹³
In Berlin, Father George began service at the Resurrection Cathedral of Berlin, along with his father Alexander Kiselev. Benigsen helped the head of Orthodox in Germany Metropolitan Seraphim (Lyade).¹⁴
In February 1945, Benigsen family and a group of clergymen left for the south of Germany. The end of the war made his father George worries about the further fate of his family, as they were DP (repatriates). American occupation authorities could issue the USSR of the priest and his supporters. But by the lucky chance of the secretary of the American commandant, the former classmate of his father Georgy was. For a while, the father of Georgy and Mother Elena served in refugee camps and in the new Orthodox churches arising in the ruins of Munich, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Frankfurt.
In 1947, Benigsen invited his father Alexander Kiselev to the House "Mercy Samaryan". After departure in the US, Kiseleva, in 1948, Father Georgy became the director of this institution. At the same time, he was still engaged in the editorial work of the revived "Bulletin of the Russian Student Christian Movement." Benigsen was also a religious consultant at the YMCA headquarters in the American occupation zone.¹⁵
On November 10, 1950, with the help of the international refugee organization (IRO), Benigsen flew to New York. Georgy Mikhailovich first met with the administration of the Russian Orthodox Greek-Cafe Church in North America. After the official reception, Metropolitan Leonthy began his service in the US Orthodox parishes.
In two months, Georgy's father received an appointment from the Bishop of San Francisky John (Shakhovsky) by the superior of the Church of St. John the Breastle in Berkeley, California. On December 9, 1951, Benigsen was translated into St. Trinity San Francisco Cathedral and became his abbot. Georgy's father enjoyed success at local authorities: the mayor of San Francisco even gave him a "key from the city."
In February 1960, Father Georgy was transferred to the Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord in Denver, Colorado. He was also appointed by the most adolescent and managers of the California and the West American Diocese. In Colorado University, he taught Russian (he received a master's degree in Russian literature and worked as a teacher until 1978).¹⁶
In 1964, he and his wife had a trip to Europe, where he implemented a special program for studying Russian in Finland (the program was organized by the Universities of Colorado and Kansas). In the same year, Georgy's father became Orthodox Chapel at the University of Berkeley in California. In 1965, Benigsen became the director and a professor at the Summer Institute of Foreign Languages founded by the Santa Cruz California.¹⁷
At the invitation of Metropolitan Irina (Bekish), in 1967, Father George was appointed abbot of the Pokrovsky Cathedral in New York. At the same time, he became secretary of the North American Metropolis. Literally a year later, he was sent to lead the arrival of the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Montreal. But in the summer of 1970, Benigsen and his spouse had to return to California. There he headed the church of St. Nicholas in Saratog.¹⁸
On August 6, 1993, Father Georgy Mikhailovich Benigsen died in Kalistog. On July 15, 2004, His spouses Elena Ivanovna Benigsen. Georgy's father retired in 1978: he stopped his teaching and administrative activities at the university. In early 80s, he again became the abbot of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco. But a year later, Benigsen went on peace. Although he continued to serve in public starts in the Holy Assumption Monastery in the Calistogue, California. After the death of the protopressist Alexander Schmeman in 1983, Father Georgy led on Radio "Freedom" weekly conversations-sermons, took a noticeable participation in the life of the PCA, was a member of the Metropolitan Council.¹⁹ On August 6, 1993, Father Georgy Mikhailovich Benigsen died in Kalistog. On July 15, 2004, His spouses Elena Ivanovna Benigsen.²⁰.²¹