2020-06-23 20:12:00

Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Sofrony dies

Moscow, June 23, Interfax - Metropolitan Sofrony of Cherkasy and Kanev of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) died aged 80 late last night after a long battle with a serious illness, the Moscow Patriarchate said on its website on Tuesday.

Metropolitan Sofrony was among most prominent UOC hierarchs. Born in the Rivne region, he spent 17 years involved with the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius where he graduated from Moscow Spiritual Schools, was ordained, taught, worked as a tour guide, and became a monk.

In late 1979 the future metropolitan was posted to Ukraine, to the Cherkasy Region where over the next 13 years he went from being a rural church leader to the region's ruling archbishop.

In post-Soviet Ukraine he openly supported the UOC autocephaly from the Moscow Patriarchate. In 2018, when the patriarch of Constantinople actively promoted the idea of creating an autocephalous church in Ukraine, Sofrony was among the few UOC hierarchs keen on such a prospect.

Shortly before Constantinople created the new church of Ukraine (OCU), the metropolitan surprised many by revealing that Patriarch Bartholomew had been planning not to give independence to the Ukrainian church but to bring it under his control. After the creation of the OCU Metropolitan Sofrony remained a hierarch within the canonical UOC.