“His response to any attack or trial was kindness”

In memory of Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral)

On May 16, 2022, in the seventy-fifth year of his life, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) of Eastern American and New York departed to the Lord.

Archbishop Hilarion (Kapral) and Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov), Sretensky Monastery, 2007 Archbishop Hilarion (Kapral) and Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov), Sretensky Monastery, 2007     

Metropolitan Hilarion was a representative of that spiritual line of Russian bishops who stood out for their absolutely unbendable, unshakeable steadfastness, and their invincible strength. No one and nothing, no outward circumstances were able to change his infinite meekness and kindness.

His instrument in his pastoral work was kindness. His response to every attack and trial was kindness. His decision in the most confusing and complicated situations, when firm and strict corrective measures were justly proposed, were again and again to show only kindness. He seemed to stand entirely on this feeling.

“A rule of faith and model of meekness”1—that is how this Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad will be remembered. He will be remembered as a gentle and quiet teachers of goodness.

Once we were together in Latin American (I don’t even remember which country). A tiny church: A bishop, a batiushka, and a tiny community of parishioners. And then, after the festive service, absolutely out of place, a woman came up with the request to baptize her child. The tired priests said, “My dear, forgive us! We simply have no strength. Come next Sunday.” She left, and along with her, Metropolitan Hilarion unnoticeably disappeared from the presence of our modest repast. As it turns out, he—the Primate!—returned the woman to the church, filled a tub with water, and grunting a little and somewhat awkwardly vesting himself in priestly vestments quietly performed the Sacrament so as not to bother anyone else. And then he unnoticeably returned to our table.

Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation (Heb. 13:7). Some Orthodox teachers leave us spiritual instructions. Others leave us the lessons of their lives, ineffable in their power. Such was the excellent, wise, grace-filled, kind Vladyka Hilarion.


The Abbot of the Pkov Caves Monastery Metropolitan Tikhon and brothers, parishioners of the community and students of the Pskov Caves Seminary, abbot of Sretensky Monastery Hieromonk Ioann and brothers, parishioners of the monastery and students of the Sretensky Theological Academy prayer with all their hearts for the newly-reposed Metropolitan Hilarion, and express their most sincere condolences for his dearly beloved flock of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.

Metropolitan Tikhon (Shevkunov) of Pskov and Porkhov
Translation by OrthoChristian.com



1 Troparia to Holy Hierarch saints often begin with this description.—Trans.

Fr William Bauer PhD6/5/2022 5:11 am
As an Anglcan Priest who wished to become an Orthodox Priest - I attended a semi-annual meeting of the ROCOR Western Rite. I knew no one excepting a brief time in the past at Anglican meetings where I met another past Anglican: Mark Rowe. I was standing in the cafeteria line and saw others greeting the Metropolitan (kises, hugs, etc.) After a few minutes the Metropolitan came over to where I stood, introduced himself and asked if I was William. I admitted the name. I also said I knew nothing of Orthodox greetings. I offered to kiss his ring. He said he had no ring. I mentioned hugs and kisses. He said it was a cultural thing and explained the Russian method. He then suggested we shake hands (a practice with which I was familiar). I met him frequently for conversations after that and just plain liked the guy. His replacement will need mighty big shoes.
Thanks5/24/2022 10:43 pm
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