Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Metropolitan Onufry Berezovsky Elected as the Locum Tenens of the Metropolitan Diocese of Kiev

00 Metropolitan Onufry with Metropolitan Vladimir Sabodan. 25.02.14


On Monday, a meeting of the Holy Synod of the UOC/MP elected a locum tenens for the Metropolitan Diocese of Kiev. The MP Synodal Information Department (SINFO) released,  “Due to the medically certified inability of Metropolitan Vladimir Sabodan of Kiev and all the Ukraine to carry out the duties of the First Hierarch of the UOC/MP, after the members of the Synod met with His Beatitude in hospital, we decided that we needed to choose a locum tenens for the Metropolitan Diocese of Kiev”. The MP welcomed Metropolitan Onufry Berezovsky‘s election as locum tenens. In a telephone conversation, Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias personally congratulated the Vladyki Onufry, saying, “He’s an experienced hierarch, greatly respected amongst his fellow bishops, with much spiritual authority in the flock.

Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, deputy head of the MP Synodal Department for External Church Relations (OVTsS/DECR), said, “Metropolitan Onufry is well-known both in the Ukraine and in Russia, where he spent 19 years at Trinity-St Sergei Lavra”. Fr Nikolai told us that Vladyki Onufry had “a responsible obedience as he was the Provost, that is, he oversaw the entire course of liturgical life of this large monastery. Today, he often returns to Russia; he keeps up a spiritual connection with the Lavra brotherhood. Metropolitan Onufry was often part of MP delegations involved in inter-church negotiations, particularly with the EP”.

Metropolitan Onufry (secular name: Orest Vladimirovich Berezovsky) was born 5 November 1944 in Chernovtsy Oblast in the Ukraine as the son of a priest. In 1969, he left university and entered the Moscow Theological Seminary (MDS); the following year, he became part of the brotherhood of the Trinity-St Sergei Lavra. After 18 years, Archimandrite Onufry went back to the Ukraine as the superior of the Pochaev Lavra of the Holy Assumption. Two years later, he became Bishop of Chernovtsy and Bukovina, serving this diocese for 23 years. In early 1992, he refused to sign a note demanding that Patriarch Aleksei Ridiger grant autocephaly to the UOC/MP.

Metropolitan Onufry is a consistent supporter of the spiritual unity of the Ukraine and Russia. In November 2008, the 75th anniversary of the so-called “Golodomor” {the UN and the Council of Europe agree with the Russian view that the famine was USSR-wide, not genocide: editor}, he opposed attempts by “Orange” elements to make this tragedy “a wedge between Russia and the Ukraine”. He urged believers not to turn their mourning for the victims into a political charade; he encouraged them to focus on the spiritual aspects of the commemoration. Vladyki Onufry pointed up that the tragedy had its roots in widespread apostasy; it happened because people rebelled against God. In January 2009, Metropolitan Onufry was amongst 14 candidates nominated by the Archpastoral Council for the election to choose a new Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias. Vladyki Onufry wasn’t in the “top three”, but he did garner as many votes as Metropolitan Vladimir Sabodan did.

24 February 2014



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