Updated at 21:04,23-03-2021

Russian Orthodox Church appoints new patriarchal exarch for Belarus

Naviny.by / BelaPAN

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, at a meeting in Moscow on Wednesday, accepted the resignation of Metropolitan Filaret from the position of the church’s head in Belarus, appointing Kazakh-born Metropolitan Pavel as his successor.

Metropolitan Filaret, 78, had handed in his resignation as Belarus’ patriarchal exarch, citing a wish to retire due to his old age.

The leadership of the church gave the cleric the title of honorary patriarchal exarch and said that he would keep his seat on the Holy Synod. In addition, the Synod expressed gratitude to Alyaksandr Lukashenka for pledging to provide Metropolitan Filaret with accommodation and a decent level of medical care and other services upon his retirement.

Metropolitan Filaret was born Kirill Vakhromeyev in Moscow on March 21, 1935. He graduated from the Moscow Spiritual Seminary and Moscow Spiritual Academy. He was appointed patriarchal exarch of all Belarus and metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsk in February 1992. In 2006, Metropolitan Filaret was awarded the title of Hero of Belarus.

Pavel, metropolitan of Ryazan and Mikhailov, was named as the new patriarchal exarch of Belarus.

Born Georgy Ponomaryov in Karaganda, now Kazakhstan, on February 19, 1952 into a Russian working-class family, Metropolitan Pavel worked as a driver and locksmith before graduating from the Moscow Spiritual Seminary in 1976. He finished the Moscow Spiritual Academy four years later.

Metropolitan Pavel served as the Russian Orthodox Church’s bishop in North America and Western Europe in the 1990s and early 2000s.