Hilarion Kapral

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Metropolitan Hilarion

Metropolitan Hilarion (born Igor Alexeyevich Kapral, Russian: Игорь Алексеевич Капрал; January 6, 1948, Spirit River, Alberta, Canada) — bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York, First-Hierarch of ROCOR (since 18 May 2008); he is the first in its history First-Hierarch of ROCOR, approved by the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate. He also remains the ruling bishop of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand.

On May 17, 2007 (the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion between the ROCOR and the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) he became a part of the episcopate of the latter.


The youngest child of the Alexei and Euphrosynia Kapral family, Igor Kapral was born on 6 January 1948 in Spirit River, and spent his childhood in the countryside. He had to walk 2.5 miles to school every day, and describes his childhood as "pleasant ... absolutely free of any harmful influences".[1] Later he transferred to another school in Blueberry Creek, but returned to finish high school.

Metropolitan Hilarion (left) meeting Patriarch Kirill in Moscow, September 30, 2010

From his youth, Kapral felt drawn to the Church, and loved to read books and periodicals on religion and morals. From a young age, around 6 or 7, he knew that he wanted to become a priest. He went to Holy Trinity Church in Spirit River, part of ROCOR and composed of ethnic Ukrainians. Services were held monthly or bi-monthly, and often Archbishop Panteleimon (Rudyk) would celebrate these services. Archbishop Panteleimon was revered by Igor, and he was told by Panteleimon that "someday you will be a priest".[2]

In 1966, he found a spiritual guide, Right Reverend Sava (Saračević), Bishop of Edmonton, a Serb who greatly revered John of Shanghai and San Francisco. In 1967 he entered the Holy Trinity Theological Seminary in Jordanville, New York. While here, he was able to learn Russian language, as well as sing on the kliros and serve in the altar, learning the order of divine services. From his second year at seminary, Kapral was tasked with typesetting "Orthodox Life" in English, under the editorship of archimandrite Constantine Zaitsev; Igor soon succeeded him as editor. After some time, hieromonk Ignatius (who was in charge of the printery) asked him to do the Russian typesetting as well.

On graduating from the Seminary in 1972, Kapral entered the Holy Trinity Monastery as a novice. On 2 December 1974 he was tonsured a rassophore monk with the name Hilarion, in honor of Venerable Schema-monk Hilarion of the Kiev Caves and subsequently was tonsured into the little schema. On 4 December 1975, Archbishop Averky Taushev, for whom Hilarion served as a cell-attendant, ordained him a hierodeacon and on Lazarus Saturday 1976 Bishop Laurus of Manhattan ordained him a hieromonk. Hilarion served as a hieromonk at the monastery, continuing his work at the printing press. He was often sent to parishes, replacing absent priests, often traveling to Cleveland and Pennsylvania.

Metropolitan Hilarion ordaining a presbyter by cheirotonia.

On 10 December 1984, Hilarion was consecrated a bishop by Metropolitan of New York Philaret (Voznesensky) and nine other bishops and was appointed to the see of Manhattan, charged with overseeing the parishes in Pennsylvania and served as deputy secretary for the Synod of Bishops. In 1995, Bishop Hilarion was transferred to the See of Washington while retaining his residence in New York City. On 20 June 1996, he was transferred to the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand (which was experiencing problems at that stage) and raised to the rank of archbishop.

In December 2003 he was awarded the honour of wearing a diamond cross on his klobuk.[3] Upon Metropolitan Laurus's death Archibishop Hilarion was appointed as the temporary head of the ROCOR Synod.

On 12 May 2008, Archbishop Hilarion was elected and elevated as the new First-hierarch of ROCOR, having received 9 votes of 11.[4] On 14 May of that year, he was approved by the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate to the post of the primate and elevated to the rank of metropolitan. On 18 May, he was enthroned in New York City.[5][6] On 10 December 2008 he was appointed a member of the Preparatory Commission for the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church.[7]