Nikodim (Rotov)

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Nikodim (Rotov)
Metropolitan of Leningrad
Nikodim (Rotov) 1963b.jpg
Nikodim in 1963
ChurchRussian Orthodox Church
Installed9 October 1963
Term ended5 September 1978
PredecessorPimen (Izvekov)
SuccessorAnthony (Mielnikow)
Ordination19 August 1947
Consecration10 July 1960
by Pimen I of Moscow
Personal details
Birth nameBoris Georgievich Rotov
Born(1929-10-15)15 October 1929
Frolovo, Korablinsky District, Moscow Oblast, RSFSR, USSR
Died5 September 1978(1978-09-05) (aged 48)
Rome, Italy

Metropolitan Nikodim (secular name Boris Georgiyevich Rotov, Russian: Борис Георгиевич Ротов, 15 October 1929 – 5 September 1978),[1] was the Russian Orthodox metropolitan of Leningrad and Novgorod from 1963 until his death.

Nikodim was born in Frolovo in southwest Russia.[2] Ordained in 1960 at the age of 31, the youngest bishop in the Christian world at the time, he would go on to become one of the six presidents of the World Council of Churches.[3]

According to the Mitrokhin Archive, which claimed deep Communist penetration of the Russian Orthodox Church, Nikodim was a KGB agent[4] whose ecumenical activity with the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC served to further Soviet goals. The KGB assigned Nikodim the codename "Svyatoslav".[5]

Nikodim is said to have participated in negotiating a secret 1960s agreement between Soviet and Vatican officials that authorized Eastern Orthodox participation in the Second Vatican Council in exchange for non-condemnation of atheistic communism during the conciliar assemblies.[6][7]

Nikodim collapsed and died in 1978 while in Rome for the installation of Pope John Paul I. The new pope, who would himself die a few weeks later, prayed over him in his final moments.[8]


  1. ^ "Nikodim (Rotov) (1929–1978), Metropolitan of Leningrad and Novgorod 1963–1978". Encyclopaedia of Saint Petersburg.
  2. ^ "Ecumenical Russian: Boris Nikodim". The New York Times. 6 July 1968. p. 4.
  3. ^ Weigel, George. The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II – The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy. New York: Doubleday, 2010. pg. 60. cf. pg. 90, 99; Andrew, Christopher and Mitrokhin, Vasili. The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB. New York: Basic Books, 2001. pg. 487.
  4. ^ Andrew, Christopher (2000). "The Penetration and Persecution of the Soviet Churches". The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0465010035.
  5. ^ The Svyatoslav Files: Metropolitan Nikodim and the KGB
  6. ^ Chiron, Yves, Paul VI: Le pape écartelé, Perrin, Paris, 1993 ISBN 2-262-00952-X p. 186 and 246
  7. ^ Interview with Paul-Joseph Schmitt, Archbishop of Metz, in Le Lorrain, 9 March 1963[dubious ]
  8. ^ "Russian Archbishop Dies During Papal Audience". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. 6 September 1978. p. 6. Retrieved 30 August 2013.