Chalkidiki, Greece, July 9, 2018
His Grace Bishop Elias or Birsk and Beloretsk of the Russian Orthodox Church died last week under unknown circumstances while on pilgrimage to Greece and Mt. Athos, the site of the Russian Church reports.
His Grace went to the beach in Chalkidiki, near Mt. Athos on Thursday. When he didn’t return after several hours, his friends became concerned and went looking for him. The police and coast guard were also involved in the search.
Bp. Elias was found dead on Friday morning. The cause of death is currently unknown. Upon completion of the necessary procedures and investigations, the body of the deceased bishop will be returned to Russia.
According to the site of the Birsk Diocese, Bp. Elias was only 47 years old and had served as a bishop for less than a year.
May his memory be eternal!
Bp. Elias was born Albert Valerievich Kazantsev on September 30, 1970 in the village of Senna in the Saratov Province.
He served in the armed forces in the Arkhangelsk Province from 1988 to 1990.
He studied in the Preparatory Department of Biology and Soil at Kazan State University from 1991 to 1992, and at Tashkent State Economic University from 1992 to 1997. He simultaneously studied psychology at Moscow State University from 1993 to 1997.
He joined the Raifa Monastery on June 26, 2007, and was tonsured as a riassaphore monk on April 15, 2008. In the same year he graduated from the Kiev Theological Seminary (in absentia).
He was ordained as a deacon on September 4, 2012, and as a priest on January 27, 2013.
He graduated from the Kiev Theological Academy in 2013 (in absentia).
He bore the obedience of assistant to the dean of the monastery beginning in 2012, of assistant to the abbot beginning in 2014, and of abbot beginning in 2016.
He was tonsured as a stavrophore monk on March 2, 2017 with the name of Elias in honor of St. Elias of Murom the Wonderworker of the Kiev Caves.
He was consecrated as a bishop on August 21, 2017.
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