Bucharest, Romania, May 20, 2020
His Eminence Archbishop Pimen of Suceava and Rădăuți reposed in the Lord today early in the morning, having suffered pulmonary complications from the coronavirus.
At 90 years old, His Eminence was the oldest hierarch of the Romanian Church.
Abp. Pimen reposed around 12:50 AM today at the Matei Balş Institute in Bucharest following a second recent heart attack, reports the Basilica News Agency.
Announcing his repose, Church spokesman Vasile Bănescu recalled one of the Archbishop’s famous sayings: “That is why I became a priest. To learn to die every day. We prepare for the great encounter with Him every day.”
The Archbishop served the Church for many years as a monastic, teacher, abbot, parish priest, museographer, representative of the Romanian Patriarchate in Jerusalem, exarch, and finally as a vicar bishop, then archbishop.
Having contracted the coronavirus, His Eminence was transported by helicopter from Suceava to Bucharest on April 20, where he was intubated following pulmonary complications. His health was improving until he suffered a heart attack.
He will be buried at the Sihăstria Putna Hermitage in Suceava
Three Orthodox hierarchs previously died from complications from the coronavirus: His Grace Bishop Milutin of Valjevo of the Serbian Orthodox Church and His Grace Bishop Benjamin of Zheleznogorsk and His Eminence Metropolitan Jonah (Karpukhin) of the Russian Church.
May his memory be eternal!
Abp. Pimen was born on August 25, 1929 in Greabănu, receiving the name Vasile in Holy Baptism.
After high school, he became a brother of Neamţ Monastery and studied at the monastery’s seminary. He was tonsured as a monk on March 10, 1951, receiving the name Pimen, and on June 29 of the same year, he was ordained as a hierodeacon.
He then became a teacher at the monastery’s school and seminary and later received a degree from the Theological Institute of the University of Bucharest for his thesis, “The Personality of Blessed Augustine Reflected in His Confessions.”
He was ordained as a hieromonk in 1957 and served as abbot of Putna Monastery from 1957 to 1961. He then fulfilled a number of obediences at various monasteries and parishes. He was elevated to the rank of archimandrite in 1975 and served as abbot of the Monastery of St. John the New in Suceava from 1974 to 1978.
Beginning February 1, 1978, he served as the representative of the Romanian Patriarchate in Jerusalem. From 1979 to 1982, he was exarch of the monasteries of the Archdiocese of Iaşi.
On January 10, 1982, he was elected vicar bishop of the Archdiocese of Iaşi with the title of Suceava, and he was consecrated on June 24. He became the archbishop of Suceava following the re-establishment of the archdiocese in 1991.
Having reached the age of 90, he was honored with a street named for him in Suceava.
He is remembered for his fruitful missionary, pastoral, and administrative activity, and his various published studies and articles.