Voices from Russia

Sunday, 16 March 2008

ROCOR head Metropolitan Laurus dies

Patriarch Aleksei Rediger (1929- ) and Metropolitan Laurus Škurla (1929-2008) at the Reconciliation Service at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow on 17 May 2007


Metropolitan Laurus Škurla, head of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), died in the American city of Jordanville, the Synod of Bishops said. A funeral service for Metropolitan Laurus was held at the Holy Trinity Monastery, a source at the American office of ROCOR told ITAR-Tass. The metropolitan died in his residence located on the monastery premises. Metropolitan Laurus Škurla, Archbishop of New York and Eastern America, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Ruling Bishop of the Syracuse-Holy Trinity Diocese, and Aleksei Rediger, Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias, signed the Act of Canonical Communion that ended the split of the Russian Orthodox Church, at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow on 17 May 2007.

Vasili Škurla, as Metropolitan Laurus was known in the secular world, was born on 1 January 1928, in the village of Ladomirovo (aka Vladomirovo in its Russianised form) in Czechoslovakia. He grew up in a staunchly Orthodox family, despite the surrounding influence of the Roman Catholic Church and the pervading influence of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1939, aged 11 years, Vasili joined the St Job of Pochaev Brotherhood which had a monastery in Ladomirovo, and remained with them throughout World War II. In 1946, he emigrated together with the Brotherhood to Jordanville in upstate New York in the US. In 1948, he was tonsured to the monastic life and renamed Laurus. The following year, he was ordained deacon, and in 1954, to the priesthood. By 1966, Fr Laurus was elevated to the rank of archimandrite and was a lecturer at the Holy Trinity Seminary, attached to the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville. Fr Laurus was consecrated Bishop of Manhattan on 13 August 1967 and appointed Secretary of the Synod of Bishops. After the death of Archbishop Averky Taushev in 1976, Bishop Laurus was appointed Ruling Bishop, and later, Archbishop, of Syracuse and Holy Trinity Monastery. In October 2001, upon the retirement of Metropolitan Vitaly Ustinov, Archbishop Laurus was elected by the Synod of Bishops to be the fifth Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and its First Hierarch. Metropolitan Laurus continued to be the Superior of Holy Trinity Monastery, in addition to his other episcopal duties.

16 March 2008




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