On 12 January Belarus learned the sad news about the demise of Metropolitan Filaret, Honorary Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus. He passed away in hospital at 86.
Metropolitan Filaret led the Belarusian Orthodox Church for more than two decades. Under his leadership, Orthodox parishes were restored, hundreds of churches were built. However, first of all, he will be remembered for his big heart. BelTA shares archive photos of Metropolitan Filaret, the Hero of Belarus.
Holder of the Hero of Belarus title, prominent Orthodox Church figure, Honorary Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, Filaret (secular name Kirill Vakhromeev) was born in Moscow on 21 March 1935. He began his church service in 1954 and started out as a sub-deacon of Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia.
In 1959, he took monastic vows and received the name in honor of St. Philaret the Merciful and was ordained a hieromonk in the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius. In 1978, Filaret was appointed Metropolitan of Minsk and Belarus, Patriarchal Exarch of Western Europe, in 1989 - Metropolitan of Minsk and Grodno, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, a permanent member of the Holy Synod. In 1992-2013 he served as Metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, Honorary Archimandrite of the Holy Assumption Zhirovichi Monastery.
The work of Metropolitan Filaret was widely acknowledged both domestically and internationally. Under him, all the historical parishes were restored in Belarus. Monasteries and convents, fraternities and sisterhoods resumed their activities. Through the efforts of His Eminence, the Minsk Spiritual Seminary was reopened, the Minsk Spiritual Academy, the spiritual school and the school of catechists were established.
With the blessing of the Patriarchal Exarch, the relic of Belarus - the Cross of St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk - was recreated, and a unique social project of the Belarusian Orthodox Church - the House of Charity – was launched. On Metropolitan Filaret's initiative, a new holiday, the Council of Belarusian Saints, was introduced into the church calendar and general church celebrations of all Belarusian saints, including the names of St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk, St. Cyril of Turov, St. George Konissky, and others, were established. Metropolitan Filaret launched the project to translate the books of Holy Scriptures into modern Belarusian.
Thanks to the efforts of Metropolitan Filaret, the International Christian Educational Center named after St. Cyril and Methodius and the Institute for Religious Dialogue and Interconfessional Communications were established. He also made contribution to the development of an agreement on cooperation between the Republic of Belarus and the Belarusian Orthodox Church.
Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus Filaret was awarded a number of high state awards for his services to the spiritual revival of the Belarusian and Russian peoples. Among them are the Order of the Fatherland III Class, the Order of Friendship of Peoples, the Order of Honor, the Order of Francysk Skaryna, the Russian Order For Service to the Fatherland IV Class and others.
In 2006, Metropolitan Filaret was awarded the Hero of Belarus title.
The lying-in-state of Metropolitan Filaret will be ongoing in the Holy Spirit Cathedral till 18:00 on 14 January.