Philaret (Voznesensky)

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Metropolitan Philaret (secular name Georgу Nikolayevich Voznesensky, Russian: Георгий Николаевич Вознесенский; 22 March 1903 in Kursk, Russia – 21 November 1985 in New York) was the first hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia from 1964 until his death on November 21, 1985.

Life[edit]

Georgy Voznesensky was born on March 22, 1903 in Kursk, Russia into a family of a priest, Father Nicholas Voznesensky and his wife Lydia. In 1909, his family moved to Blagoveschensk on the Amur River in Siberia.

In 1920, Georgy graduated from the local gymnasium. Later in 1920 in the midst of the Russian Civil War, his family moved to Harbin, Manchuria.

In 1921, his mother died, and his father accepted tonsure as a monk with the name Dimitry. Dimitri later became Archbishop of Hailar. He died in 1947 shortly after he repatriated to the Soviet Union.

Living in Harbin, Georgy entered the Russo-Chinese Polytechnic Institute from which he graduated in 1927 as an electromechanical engineer. He then began studies in pastoral theology in what became the Theology Department of the University of St. Vladimir.

In 1930, Georgy was ordained a deacon. In 1931, Georgy graduated from St. Vladimir University. Also in 1931, he was tonsured a monk with the name Philaret.

In 1932, he was ordained a Hieromonk.

In 1937, he was elevated to Igumen and to the rank of archimandrite. During this period he was also a professor of New Testament, Pastoral Theology, and Homiletics at St. Vladimir University.

In mid 1945, after the Communist Chinese and Soviet forces took over Manchuria at the end of World War II, archimandrite Philaret remained with the Orthodox believers in Manchuria, but he firmly rejected all attempts to get him to accept a soviet passport. Further, he fearlessly denounced the atheistic communists. His overt position against the soviets placed him in great personal danger. Their hatred of him resulted in an attempt to burn him alive in his monastic cell. He escaped, but suffered severe burns.

In 1962, the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia was able to acquire an exit visa for archimandrite Philaret that allowed him to reach Hong Kong. From there archimandrite Philaret quickly traveled to Brisbane, Australia where many of his former flock in Manchuria had settled.

After his arrival in Brisbane, his followers petition the Synod of ROCOR to appoint him their bishop. With the active support of the ailing archbishop Sava of Sydney, archimandrite Philaret became Bishop of Brisbane, vicar of the Australian diocese. Archimandrite Philaret was consecrated by archbishop Sava and bishop Anthony of Melbourne on May 26, 1963.

In 1964, bishop Philaret represented archbishop Sava at a meeting of the Council of Bishops of ROCOR in which the first hierarch metropolitan Anastassy announced his resignation. As the youngest bishop among those at the council, the Council elected Bp. Philaret the successor to Metr. Anastassy. Metr. Philaret was enthroned first hierarch of ROCOR on May 14, 1964.

Metropolitan Philaret served as the first hierarch of ROCOR for twenty one years. He reposed on November 21, 1985 and was buried in the cemetery of the Church of Dormition.

In November 1998, the Synod decided to transfer Metropolitan Philaret's relics to a new vault under the altar of Holy Trinity Cathedral at Jordanville, New York. When his tomb was opened, his relics were found to be incorrupt.

Canonizations[edit]

Metropolitan Philaret was canonized by the number of non-canonical church groups, which derive their succession from the ROCOR.

On May 19 – 20, 2001 Metropolitan Philaret was glorified by the Holy Orthodox Church in North America ("Boston Synod").

On April 30, 2003 Metropolitan Philaret was glorified by the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church.

On November 20, 2008 Metropolitan Philaret was glorified by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad headed by metropolitan Agathangel (Pashkovsky).

On October 23, 2009 Metropolitan Philaret was glorified at Holy Transfiguration Skete by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad headed by archbishop Vladimir (Tselischev).

These glorifications have not been recognized by other Orthodox groups, however.

In 2012, the Eastern American Diocese of the ROCOR established a committee to explore the formal glorification of Metropolitan Philaret by the canonical Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

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