Rivne, Ukraine, September 16, 2021
After a long and serious illness, His Eminence Metropolitan Bartholomew of Rivne and Ostrog of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church reposed in the Lord yesterday at the age of 68.
Vladyka Bartholomew served the Church in the episcopal dignity for 31 years, including 26 years as the ruling hierarch of the Rivne Diocese, reports the Information-Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
May his memory be eternal!
Met. Bartholomew was born on March 1, 1953, in the Volyn Province in a peasant family. He received a deep faith and a Christian upbringing from his parents, leading him to devote his entire life to Church ministry.
After serving in the army, he entered the Odessa Seminary in 1975, after which he entered the Moscow Theological Academy in 1979, receiving a doctorate in theology in 1983.
He was ordained to the diaconate and priesthood in October 1983 and sent to serve in a village in the Volyn Province. He later became rector of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Lutsk, and was elevated to the rank of archpriest on April 15, 1989.
He took monastic vows on December 22, 1989, and on January 18 the next year, he was elevated to the rank of archimandrite. On February 24, 1990, he was consecrated Bishop of Volyn and Rivne. The diocese was split into two in April, and he remained the hierarch of Volyn, where he led the revival of Orthodoxy after decades of persecution, helping to open dozens of churches and new and revived seminaries.
Vladyka Bartholomew led the diocese at a difficult time, when schismatics seized the cathedral in Lutsk together with the premises of the Volyn diocesan administration and the Volyn Seminary.
He was soon moved to the Nikolaev and then the Sumy Diocese, btu on July 27, 1995, he returned to the Rivne Diocese, which he led for the rest of his life. He was elevated to the rank of archbishop on November 23, 1996, and to the rank of metropolitan on August 28, 2014.
Vladyka Bartholomew paid special attention to the flourishing of monasticism in the Rivne Diocese, with 16 monasteries and sketes opening and reviving during his administration, which are now home to hundreds of monks and nuns.
He received several ecclesiastical and state awards for his diligent service to the Church and his contributions to peace in Ukrainian society.
In his last year, Met. Bartholomew courageously endured a difficult illness. But despite his physical infirmities, he strove to zealously carry out his archpastoral ministry, protecting his flock from the schism encouraged by the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
His Eminence peacefully reposed after receiving Holy Unction and Holy Communion.