Repose of Metropolitan Vitaly
12 (25) September 2006 in Mansonville, Canada, reposed in the
Lord + Metropolitan
Vitaly, the former First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church
Abroad. He was 96 years old.
Metropolitan Vitaly was the last bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church
who was born before the revolution. His father was a navy officer. In
1920, being 10 years old, Rostislav Oustinov, the future Metropolitan,
entered the Cadet Core in Feodosia (Crimea) founded by the
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the South of Russia, General
Wrangel. After the evacuation of the Russian Army from this last piece
of the free Russian land [besides the Far East], Rostislav Oustinov
with other Russian cadets was brought first to Constantinople,
Yugoslavia. He received a military education, but chose to follow a
different path. In 1938 he entered the Monastery of St Job of Pochaev
in Vladimirovo (Carpathian Russia, then part of Czechoslovakia), and in
1939 became a monk with the name Vitaly. He later became priest-monk,
igumen and archimandrite. In 1951 he was ordained a bishop. Vladyka
Vitaly was the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in
1986-2001; he continued to be regarded as the First Hierarch by a part
of the Church Abroad until his death, in spite of his retirement in
2001. His retirement and the subsequent events started turbulent years
for the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, of which we shall
not speak here. The repose of Metropolitan Vitaly marks an end of epoch
in the Russian Orthodox Church.
Metropolitan Vitaly was an outstanding shepherd of Christ's Church.
Immediately after the World War II he was personally involved in saving
thousands of Russian refugees, many of whom owe their lives to him.
Older members of the Manchester Pokrov parish know what it means. In
1947-1951 Archimandrite Vitaly, the future Metropolitan, served in
England. He helped to establish several Russian Orthodox parishes in England, in particular,
in Manchester, Bradford and Preston. Our older parishioners keep a good memory of Vladyka Vitaly from the times of his service in England. In London he met with another future Metropolitan, Anthony,
who belonged to a different Russian jurisdiction. At that time, the two
future outstanding vladyki held the opposite opinions on many
things. Now when both are in the Kingdom of Heaven, they have met again
and can see the Very Truth, in front of which their former differences
fade, and they can finally see who was right and who was wrong, and
where. Among other things, Metropolitan Vitaly founded St Job of
Pochaev printing house in Canada, which printed many Orthodox books,
helping the Orthodox Revival of Russia; and he did many other good
May his memory be eternal!
May the Lord our God rest his soul in His
heavenly mansions, where all the righteous repose.
(См. русский текст. See more details of biography of Vladyka Vitaly here.)