Kursk, April 27, 2020
Bp. Benjamin (second from left), during a procession against the coronavirus. Photo: zheleznogorsk.cerkov.ru
On Sunday, April 26, His Grace Bishop Benjamin of Zheleznogorsk and Lgov, 55, reposed in the Lord.
He had been admitted to the N. A. Semashko Kursk Provincial Clinical Infection Hospital a few days prior. On Saturday, he was transferred to the ICU, diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia caused by infection with the coronavirus, reports the official site of the Russian Orthodox Church.
On April 2, processions with prayers for the end of the coronavirus pandemic were held in all deaneries of Bp. Benjamin’s diocese.
“The tradition of holding processions in days of calamity, which is exactly what you could call what is happening throughout the world today, has been established in Church practice since Byzantium,” His Grace emphasized, also calling on his flock to use the time of quarantining and self-isolation as an opportunity to increase their home prayer life.
In his condolences, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill noted that, “The reposed Archpastor dedicated his life to the service of the Lord and His Church, striving to show himself a zealous worker in the vineyard of God, caring for the growth in faith and love of the rational flock of Christ entrusted to him.”
May his memory be eternal!
Bp. Benjamin is the second hierarch of the Orthodox Church to succumb to complications from the coronavirus. His Grace Bishop Milutin of Valjevo of the Serbian Orthodox Church reposed in the Lord on March 29 after contracting the virus.
On Bright Tuesday, April 21, Archpriest Alexander Ageikin of Theophany Cathedral in Moscow also reposed in the Lord. Protodeacon Evgeny Trofimov of the same cathedral also reposed in the Lord on Bright Saturday, April 25.
Archpriest Vladimir Veriga, who served at the Holy Protection Convent near Sergiev Posad also reposed in the Lord after contracting the coronavirus.
On April 9, Deacon Alexander Gousev of the Holy Royal Martyrs of Russia Church in Sparks, Nevada of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, a healthcare worker, reposed in the Lord from complications due to the coronavirus.
Bp. Benjamin was born on October 26, 1965 in the village of Verkhososene in the Oryol Province. He was baptized in infancy.
In the 1980s and 1990s, he served in the soviet army, studied at a music school and an art and culture institute, and served as vice president of the parish council at his church in Maloarkhangelsk. He was responsible for organizing the construction of a new church.
In October 1996, he entered he Znamenny Monastery in Kursk and was tonsured as a riassophore monk with the name Benjamin on February 23, 1997. On March 15 of the same year, he was ordained as a hierodeacon, and as a hieromonk on April 7. On December 27, 1998, he was tonsured as a stavrophore monk.
In January 1999, he was transferred to carry out obediences at the Skete of St. Seraphim of Sarov, and on April 22 of the same year was appointed head of the skete.
On December 24, 2004, he was appointed acting abbot of the Kursk Root Hermitage, becoming the abbot by decision of the Holy Synod on April 11, 2006. By Pascha 2006, he was elevated to the rank of igumen.
He helped to arrange the first visits of the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon from America to the Kursk Diocese.
In 2010, he graduated from Kursk Theological Seminary.
On July 26, 2012, he was elected as Bishop of Zheleznogorsk and Lgov by the Russian Holy Synod. On August 19, he was elevated to the rank of archimandrite, and on September 1, he was consecrated as a hierarch at Donskoy Monastery in Moscow.