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Putin Expresses Condolences Over Death of Ukraine Church Leader

Published: July 8, 2014 (Issue # 1818)



  • Born Viktor Sabodan to a family of farmers in western Ukraine in 1935, Volodymyr studied at seminaries in Odessa and Leningrad and was ordained at the age of 26.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The head of Ukraine's Orthodox Church has died at 78 after leading it for more than two decades during the tumultuous post-Soviet period.

Metropolitan Volodymyr, who had been credited with stabilizing the church, died Saturday "after a long illness," the church announced online Saturday. Recently, Volodymyr often reflected pro-Russian opinions in Ukraine, as battles raged between government troops and separatist insurgents in the east of the country.

President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church falls within the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate.

"We will forever remember the many years of Metropolitan Vladimir's hard work, his devoted pastorship, his great personal contribution to strengthening Russian-Ukrainian friendship and his talent as a preacher, which won him deep gratitude and respect on the part of the people of Russia and Ukraine," Putin said in a statement released Saturday.

In his more than 20 years as head of the country's largest church, Volodymyr weathered the breakaway of two groups that declared themselves independent of the Moscow Patriarchate, which incorporates the Ukrainian church. Observers say he succeeded in preventing even more splits.

"He will go down in history as the savior of the Ukrainian Orthodoxy during a very difficult historical moment, as the preserver of the Russian and Ukrainian Orthodoxy," said Andrei Zolotov, a Russian journalist and expert on Orthodoxy.

Born Viktor Sabodan to a family of farmers in western Ukraine in 1935, Volodymyr studied at seminaries in Odessa and Leningrad, was ordained at 26 and took monastic vows soon thereafter.

Orthodox priests are allowed to marry, but that limits their career paths.

He served briefly in Russian Orthodox Church missions in Jerusalem and Geneva, then as a bishop in Russia and Ukraine, both of which were then a part of the Soviet Union. In 1973 he was appointed the rector of the Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary and promoted to the rank of Archbishop of the Moscow Diocese. He later became a senior administrator at the Moscow Patriarchate.

[SPT, AP]





 


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Wednesday, Sept. 17


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Learn more about the science of teaching English at today’s EFL Seminar hosted by the British Book Center. Revolving around the topic of learning styles, the workshop will help attendees better understand the different effective learning methods that can be implemented to learn English more effectively.



Thursday, Sept. 18


Get your nerd on at Boomfest, St. Petersburg’s answer to the United States’ popular ComicCon. Starting today, this international festival of comics will take over venues throughout the city center and includes exhibitions of comics and illustrations, film screenings, competitions and the chance to meet the genre’s authors, artists and experts.



Friday, Sept. 19


SPIBA’s newest addition to their Cultural Discoveries events is “Handmade in Germany,” an exhibition featuring unique handmade objects of a significantly higher quality than mass-produced items. The work of over 100 German manufacturers will be displayed during the event, which opens today in the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Paul on Nevsky Prospekt and runs through Sept. 28.



Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


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Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during today’s “Djembe and Vuvuzela,” a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


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