Kiev, November 5, 2019
His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the greatly beloved primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, turns 75 today.
Met. Onuphry is recognized throughout the Orthodox Church as a meek and humble man of prayer who enjoys the devotion of the Orthodox faithful who remain devoted to God. He, in turn, is greatly devoted to his flock.
Vladyka labored in asceticism for many years at two of the most important monasteries in the Russian Church: the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra and the Holy Dormition-Pochaev Lavra, and has served the Church as a hierarch for nearly 30 years.
Hierarchs from throughout the Orthodox world gathered in Kiev in June to celebrate His Beatitude’s name’s day, his 5th anniversary as primate of the Ukrainian Church, and his 75th birthday.
Hierarchs from various Local Churches offered their praise of Met. Onuphry, including His Grace Bishop Anthony of Moravica (Serbian Church), who praised the personal example that Met. Onuphry offers the Church, saying: “For every Orthodox person, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry is an example of piety, monastic struggles, and, as the apostle Paul spoke about light, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry is truly a light between the Orthodox Churches.”
May God grant him any more years of service to His holy Church!
Orest Berezovsky was born on November 5, 1944 in the Chernivtsi Province as the son of a priest. After working in construction and studying at Chernivtsi University, he enrolled in the Moscow Theological Seminary in 1969 and became a part of the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius brotherhood the following year.
He was tonsured as a monk with the name Onuphry in honor of St. Onuphrius the Great on March 18, 1971. He was ordained as a hierodeacon on June 20, 1971, and as a hieromonk on May 29, 1972.
He was appointed dean of the monastery on June 28, 1985, and on Nativity the following year, he was elevated to the rank of archimandrite.
He graduated from the Moscow Theological Academy as a candidate in theology in 1988, and after 18 years there, he returned to Ukraine to serve as abbot of the Holy Dormition-Pochaev Lavra until he was consecrated as Bishop of Chernivtsi and Bukhovina on December 9, 1990 by Metropolitan Philaret Denisenko, who later became an anathematized schismatic.
In 1992, he opposed the non-canonical actions of Met. Philaret, for which he was punished and transferred to the Ivano-Frankivsk Diocese. The faithful of Chernivtsi, however, defended their beloved archpastor, and he was restored to the Chernivtsi Diocese after 2.5 months.
In 1994, he was elevated to the rank of archbishop, and to metropolitan in 2000. On February 24, 2014, he was elected as Locum Tenens of the primatial throne, and on August 13, 2014, he was elected the next primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
His Beatitude has been given by God to oversee the Church in a difficult time of persecution, both from within and without the Church. However, he has ever conducted himself “with great calmness, with great dignity,” in the words of Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol of the Cypriot Church.