Ethnic Korean bishop appointed for Russian Church’s Korean Diocese

Moscow, April 5, 2019

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The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church gathered yesterday under the chairmanship of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia at Moscow’s Danilov Monastery. Among the Synod’s work was the appointment of hierarchs for several vacant dioceses, according to the report published on the official site of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The hierarchs resolved to appoint His Eminence Archbishop Theophan of Kyzyl and Tuva as the ruling hierarch of the newly-established Korean Diocese of the Patriarchal Exarchate of Southeast Asia. He is the first bishop of the Orthodox Church worldwide of Korean ancestry.

The Exarchate was established on December 28, with four dioceses created within it on February 27: the Dioceses of Singapore, Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines-Vietnam.

Abp. Theophan is still overseeing the Kyzyl Diocese as its temporary administrator.


Alexei Ilarionovich Kim was born on January 19, 1976 on Sakhalin Island in the Sea of Okhotsk. He was baptized in May 1995 and began singing in church choirs.

On August 14, 1997 he was tonsured into monasticism as Theophan, in honor of St. Theophan the Confessor, the Bishop of Nicea. He was ordained as a hierodeacon three days later and as a hieromonk another two days later, serving in the Resurrection Cathedral in Yuzhno-Sakhalink. In 1998, he entered the Smolensk Seminary and was assigned as a priest of the Diocese of Abakan and Kyzyl in central Siberia.

He graduated from the seminary in 2000 and was assigned to serve a Russian-speaking community in the Republic of Korea. He was named as an honorary citizen of Seoul in May 2006. He was elevated to the rank of igumen in June 2006.

In 2010 and 2011 he continued his studies at the Moscow Theological Academy.

On October 6, 2011, he was elected by the Russian Holy Synod to rule the newly-established Diocese of Kyzyl and Tuva and was consecrated on October 30. He was consecrated by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and seven other bishops of the Russian Church and His Eminence Metropolitan Ambrose of Korea of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

He was elevated to the rank of archbishop on December 4, 2017.

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