Joseph (Balabanov)

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His Beatitude
Metropolitan bishop of Kurgan and Belozerskoye
Митрополит Курганский и Белозёрский Иосиф.JPG
Appointed May 5, 2015
Installed May 24, 2015
Other posts Bishop of Uglich, vicar Yaroslavl diocese
(January 1999—October 2002)
Archbishop of Birobidzhan and Kuldur
(October 2002—May 2015)
Ordination April 23, 1981
by Juvenal (Poyarkov)
Consecration January 31, 1999
by Alexy II of Moscow
Personal details
Birth name Igor Balabanov
Born (1954-01-31) 31 January 1954 (age 63)
Kashira, Moscow Oblast, Russia
Nationality Russia
Denomination Orthodoxy
Residence Kurgan
Parents Anatoly Balabanov
Nadezhda Balabanova
Profession Theologian
Alma mater Moscow Theological Seminary

Archbishop Joseph (Russian: Иосиф, secular name Igor Anatolievich Balabanov , Russian: Игорь Анатольевич Балабанов; born January 31, 1954, Kashira) is a Russian Orthodox bishop, metropolitan bishop of Kurgan and Belozerskoye. The Name Day is on the Monday of Holy Week.


Future Archbishop

Early life and education[edit]

Igor Balabanov was born and spent his childhood in the old city of Kashira (Moscow region). His father, Anatoly Balabanov, died in 2001. His mother, Nadezhda Balabanova, died in 1999. According to the family tradition, 40 days after birth the child was baptized in the church of the Holy Martyrs Florus and Laurus in Kashira—the only church that was open in those days in the city. From his early childhood Igor served in this church under the guidance of nun Angelina—today Mother Macaria, the prioress of the Makarievo-Pisemsky monastery located in the diocese of Kostroma and Galich—very strict and demanding woman taught an altar boy everything she knew about church services.

After 10 years of high school, he served in the military in Smolensk. In 1975, after leaving the army, he entered the Moscow Theological Seminary. After the first year of education he received only excellent grades, and thus was immediately transferred to the third class, and in 1978, after graduation from the seminary, he was admitted to the Moscow Theological Academy without passing entrance examinations.


March 5, 1979 Metropolitan Juvenal tonsured him with the name of Joseph after the righteous Patriarch Joseph in the Church of the Holy Prince Daniel of Moscow in Novodevichy Convent.

March 9, 1979 Metropolitan Juvenal ordained monk Joseph as a deacon. July 26, 1979 Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Pimen assigned deacon Joseph to full-time service position to the Church of the Assumption in Novodevichy Convent.

April 23, 1981, on Holy Thursday, monk Joseph was ordained to the priesthood by Metropolitan Juvenal. In 1982, on the feast of the Annunciation, he was awarded a pectoral cross.

September 15, 1982 by the directive of Pimen he was placed at the service of Metropolitan of Krutitsa and Kolomna Juvenal.

Two weeks later, on September 30, 1982, Metropolitan Juvenal appointed Joseph pastor of the Ilyinsky temple in the city of Serpukhov, Moscow region.

July 13, 1983 hieromonk Joseph was assigned as the dean of Serpukhov circuit, consisting of Serpukhovsky, Chekhovsky and Narofominsky districts. He held this position until 1999. The revival of traditional styles of worship, construction of new churches and monasteries or their restoration, development of religious life in all its forms became the main objective of the new dean.

Revival of the Vysotsky monastery[edit]

March 19, 1984 hieromonk Joseph became hegumen of the Ilinsky Church. Under his guidance the church underwent extensive external and internal restoration. The restoration included the construction of a new two-story brick building, replacement of plumbing systems and placement of an iron fence around the precinct. But most importantly the new hegumen turned to be the first bishop who was able to end longstanding conflicts and unite all the clergy and believers around the parish. November 22, 1987 hieromonk Joseph was awarded with four awards and was elevated to the rank of archimandrite by Patriarch Pimen.

June 6–12, 1990, he took part in the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church as delegate from the diocesan clergy of the city of Moscow, when the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia was elected Metropolitan of Leningrad Alexis (Ridiger). In 1990 Archimandrite Joseph was elected as a member of the City Council of Serpukhov.

Being a member of the city council he has done everything possible to return to the Church all its monasteries and churches, including the Vysotsky monastery located right in the centre of Serpukhov.

February 28, 1991 Alexy II and the Holy Synod made Archimandrite Joseph hegumen of the Vysotsky Monastery, with the right to deliver services with crozier.

He worked to revive this ancient monastery founded by Sergius of Radonezh in 1374.

At the initiative of the hegumen there was continued the veneration of the miraculous icon of the Mother of God "The Inexhaustible Cup", venerated in many parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church, with akathist to the Mother of God read daily before this icon. The first edition of the akathist to the Theotokos "The Inexhaustible Cup" was made by Bishop Joseph based on the only copy of the akathist left by an unknown old woman.

In 1993 Archimandrite Joseph was elected as a member of the Diocesan Council of the Moscow diocese. On September 25, 1995 Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II during his visit to the Vysotsky Monastery awarded Joseph with the Order of St. Sergius. On March 28, 1996 Alexy bestowed on him the right to celebrate Divine Liturgy with open royal gates.

Episcopal ministry in the city of Yaroslavl[edit]

Archbishop Joseph
Arcbishop Joseph at the festival "Great Maslenitsa" in Birobidzhan
Elevation to the rank of archbishop
Archbishop Joseph sanctifying new icons for the church in Birobidzhan

December 28, 1998 Alexy II and the Holy Synod made Joseph Bishop of the Yaroslavl diocese. His episcopal ordination took place in the Epiphany Cathedral at Yelokhovo on January 31, 1999.

Ordination was performed by: Metropolitan of Krutitsa and Kolomna Juvenal (Poyarkov), Metropolitan of Volokolamsk and Yuriev Pitirim (Nechayev); Archbishop of Solnechnogorsk Sergius (Fomin), Archbishop of Volgograd and Kamyshin Herman (Timofeev), Archbishop of Mozhaysk Gregory (Chirkov), Archbishop of Yaroslavl and Rostov Mihei (Harharov); Bishop of Bronnity Tikhon (Emelyanov), Bishop of Orekhovo-Zuyevo Alexis (Frolov), Bishop of Krasnogorsk Sabbas (Volkov).

Ordination service was headed by the Patriarch Alexy II.

From February 1999, Bishop Joseph carried out his episcopal duties in the old city of Yaroslavl. By the directive of Alexy II, Bishop Joseph served also as vicar of the diocese, where he worked to build new churches and monasteries and to revive abandoned temples.

A temple of the Epiphany built in the 17th century at the expense of merchant Alexy Zubchaninov was renovated and finally transferred to the Diocese of Yaroslavl and Rostov. For a long time the temple building was closed for worships and was used as a museum. The Great Consecration of the temple was the final point of his episcopal ministry in the city of Yaroslavl.

Episcopal ministry in the city of Birobidzhan[edit]

Alexy II and the Holy Synod on October 7, 2002 made Joseph bishop of the newly founded diocese located within the borders of the Jewish Autonomous Region in the Far East of Russia.

In 2003-2005 Bishop Joseph led the construction work on first cathedral in history of Birobidzhan. On September 21, 2005 the cathedral in honor of the Annunciation was completed. Same day after the consecration of the cathedral Joseph was awarded the Order of St. Innocent, Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomna (second class). In 2006, at the east side of the cathedral precinct was built the Socio-Educational Center. In ten years dozens of churches were built all over the region, including the Convent of Saint Innocent in Razdolnoye and two temples in correctional facilities.

Throughout his career Bishop Joseph did not only receive awards from the Church. The order of the Minister of Justice on January 22, 2002 awarded Joseph the medal "For strengthening of the penal system" (second class). The decree of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin on August 8, 2005 awarded Joseph the Order "Merit for the Fatherland" (second class). February 12, 2007 by the order of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia he was awarded the medal "For strengthening of the penal system" (first class). The decree of President Dmitry Medvedev on April 29, 2009 awarded Joseph the Order of Friendship "For great personal contribution to the spiritual and cultural traditions and strengthening friendship between peoples". October 1, 2012 the governor of the Jewish Autonomous Region Alexander Vinnikov bestowed on Bishop Joseph the Jewish Autonomous Region Award Honorable Medal "Honor and Respect".

On February 3, 2013, Joseph was elevated to the rank of archbishop.[1]

Episcopal ministry in the city of Kurgan[edit]

On May 5, 2015, the decision of the sacred Synod it is appointed the ruling Bishop of the diocese of Kurgan with the title "Kurgan and Belozersky", the head of the Kurgan metropolis, therefore on may 24 the same year was elevated to the rank of metropolitan bishop at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow.

Honours and awards[edit]

Church awards[edit]

State awards[edit]

  • Order of Honour, 2015
  • Order of Friendship, 2009 (for great personal contribution to the spiritual and cultural traditions and strengthening friendship between peoples) [2]
  • Medal of the Order "For Merit to the Fatherland", 2nd Class, 2005
  • Medal "For strengthening the prison system", 1st Class, 2007
  • Medal "For strengthening the prison system", 2nd Class, 2002
  • Jewish Autonomous Region Honorable Medal "Honor and Respect", 2012


External links[edit]