Archbishop Leo of Finland to retire by the end of the year

Helsinki, May 20, 2024

Photo: Photo: Archbishop Leo of Helsinki, who has served as primate of the Finnish Orthodox Church since 2001, has announced his impending retirement.

The Archbishop submitted a petition to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople in January, asking to be retired after Pascha, and its session this week, the Holy Synod of Constantinople granted his petition, reports the Finnish Church.

The election of a new primate will be included in the agenda of the Local Council to be held at New Valaam Monastery in late November. Abp. Leo will continue with his primatial duties until a new primate is elected and confirmed by Pat. Bartholomew.


Abp. Leo was born in Pielavesi in eastern Finland in 1948.

He graduated from the Orthodox seminary in Kuopio and defended his master’s thesis at the University of Joensuu in 1995. He holds honorary doctorates from Eastern Finland University and St. Serge Theological Institute in Paris.

He was ordained to the diaconate on July 20, 1973, and to the priesthood two days later. He was consecrated as Bishop of Joensuu on February 25, 1979, then served as the ruling bishop of Olou from 1980 to 1996, and of Helsinki from 1996 to 2001 (the primatial see was located in Karelia at that time).

He was enthroned as the Archbishop of Karelia and primate of the Finnish Church on December 16, 2001, at New Valaam Monastery.

The primatial see was moved to Helsinki in November 2017.

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