Nearly 5,000 clerics and monks have contracted the coronavirus in the ROC
“The Russian Orthodox Church is always where it is difficult”
said once Vladimir Putin, emphasizing the role of the Russian Orthodox Church in difficult modern conditions
At present, 101 clergymen, monks and nuns of the ROC are being treated for a coronavirus infection, the working group of Moscow Patriarch Kirill announced on June 9. Among the sick are nine clergymen from Moscow, 56 clergymen from other Russian dioceses and 36 people living in the Stavropigial monasteries.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, according to official data, 4,950 priests and monks of the ROC have fallen ill, including 424 from Moscow parishes. 165 are dead. Among the latest victims of the disease is Archbishop Eleutherius of Shymkent in Kazakhstan, who died on June 4 at the age of 68.
The Ukrainian-born bishop has spent his entire clerical career in the Kazakh city of Shymkent. He was initially ordained a deacon and a priest by the married clergy, and in 1987 he received a monastic vow and continued his career as a clergyman of the “black” clergy with the possibility of episcopal ordination.
In June, in ten days only, the Russian Orthodox Church lost two prominent bishops in Ukraine and Azerbaijan.
On June 18, 2021, Metropolitan Mitrofan of Luhansk and Alchevsk, chairman of the external department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), died at the age of fifty-nine.
He was born in 1962 in Belogorye, Khmelnytsky region, western Ukraine. He was tonsured a monk at the Holy Trinity-Sergius Lavra in Russia in 1990, where he was ordained a clergyman of the ROC. He completed his theological education at the Orthodox Department of the Christian Academy in Warsaw, Poland. He then became a brother of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra and since 1994 has been a lecturer at the Kiev Theological Academy, which was rebuilt in 1992 (closed by the Bolsheviks in 1919). In 2012 he was appointed Archbishop of Luhansk and Alchevsk, and in 2014 he was promoted to the rank of Metropolitan. Recently, Mitr. Mitrofan suffered a heart attack, which is associated with his death.
Archbishop Alexander of Baku and Azerbaijan, head of the Orthodox Church in the former Soviet Caucasus republic, died on June 10 at the age of 60. He was born in 1952 in Yaroslavl, graduated from the Institute of Chemical Pharmacy in Moscow and then – the Moscow Theological Seminary. He became associated with spiritual elders in the North Caucasus, where he became a monk and cleric of the ROC in North Ossetia. Since 1988, he has served as an archimandrite in Baku, where he has developed educational and charitable activities and affirmed the Orthodox faith among the local population of Christian origin. He managed to keep a number of churches from closing in the 1990s, when inter-religious tensions in Azerbaijan escalated. In January 1999 he was ordained a bishop and became the first Orthodox bishop of this Caucasian country. He maintains good relations with the authorities and continues to rebuild and build temples. Establishes homage to St. Apostle Bartholomew, who according to legend suffered for Christ in ancient Albanopol (located in the vicinity of the capital Baku), organizing celebrations with processions, which bring together Orthodox clergy from all over the country. In 2012 he was promoted by St. Synod of the ROC in the rank of archbishop.