Kiev, March 18, 2021
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the monastic tonsure of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev, the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
His Beatitude has served the Church in numerous capacities in the intervening years and has become one of the most beloved and authoritative hierarchs of the entire Orthodox Church. He is widely recognized as an ascetic man of prayer who guides the Ukrainian flock with faith, love, and wisdom.
The Metropolitan was tonsured at the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra on this day in 1971, receiving the name Onuphry in honor of the St. Onuphrios the Great, reports the Information-Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
He was ordained as a hierodeacon on June 20 of the same year, and as a hieromonk on May 29 the next year. In 1980, he was elevated to the rank of igumen. In 1984, he was appointed rector of the Holy Transfiguration Church Athonite representation Church in the village of Lukino in the Moscow Province. In 1985, he was appointed dean of the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, and in 1988—abbot of the Holy Dormition-Pochaev Lavra.
He was elected Bishop of Chernivtsi and Bukovina by the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in November 1990, and was consecrated on December 9. He has been a permanent member of the Ukrainian Holy Synod since 1994.
In 1992, Bishop Onuphry was among those hierarchs who took a strong stand against the non-canonical actions of Philaret Denisenko, then the canonical Metropolitan of Kiev.
On August 13, 2014, he was elected Metropolitan of Kiev by the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
“I thank God for everything that God sends me! No one asked my consent, but it so happened that God placed this cross upon me. I have submitted to the will of God and I carry this cross with gratitude to God… And wherever I carry obedience, from the day of my tonsure until today, I consider myself a humble monk,” His Beatitude has said.
In his greetings to Met. Onuphry on the occasion of today’s anniversary, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill writes of the Ukrainian primate’s great ministry and virtues:
It is significant that this event, which determined your entire subsequent life, took place half a century ago in the Holy Trinity-St, Sergius Lavra. It was a time of hard trials for the Church, a time of standing up for the faith and the Gospel truth. But you, as a fearless soldier of Christ, with patience and trust in His mercy, have been following the path you once chose ever since…
Preserving fidelity to your vocation and episcopal duty, through both the Gospel word and also your personal example of piety, humility, and love for God and the Church, you affirm the canonical foundations, kindle the fire of faith in the hearts of both pastors and the pastored, support the suffering, strengthen the doubters, and comfort the faint-hearted. With all your good deeds and good undertakings, you constantly testify to our contemporaries about the invincibility against the gates of hell of the Church of Christ, which, according to the word of Holy Scripture, is the pillar and the foundation of truth (1 Tim. 3:15).