His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, hosted His Grace, Bishop Matthew of Sourozh, the recently appointed Interim Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the United States, at the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America on Monday, November 19, 2018.
Bishop Matthew, on his first visit to the US since beginning his new assignment on October 15, 2018, also serves as Interim Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in Canada, a position to which he assumed on July 14, 2018.
Metropolitan Tikhon received Bishop Matthew in the Chancery’s Saint Sergius of Radonezh Chapel, together with Archpriest Igor Tarasov, Chancellor of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA and Rector of Saint George Church, Bayside, NY.
Bishop Matthew expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to receive His Beatitude’s blessing as he begins his ministry in North America. In turn, Metropolitan Tikhon stated that he anticipates a fruitful relationship with His Grace, recalling the close relationship the OCA has always enjoyed with former Patriarchal Administrators over the years, and most recently with His Grace, Bishop John of Naro-Fominsk.
During lunch, Metropolitan Tikhon and Bishop Matthew discussed a wide range of topics, including the status of the Patriarchal Parishes in the US, the life of the Orthodox Church in Great Britain, and missionary prospects in North America and Western Europe. Metropolitan Tikhon shared the OCA’s plans to celebrate the 225th Anniversary in 2019 of the arrival of the first Russian Orthodox missionaries in Kodiak, AK and the 50th Anniversaries in 2020 marking the Granting of Autocephaly and the Canonization of Saint Herman of Alaska.
Bishop Matthew further extended the invitation to Metropolitan Tikhon to preside at the Patronal Feastday celebrations at New York City’s Saint Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral on December 19, 2018.
As a remembrance of their meeting, Metropolitan Tikhon presented a panagia to Bishop Matthew, who in turn presented a commemorative plate marking the 300th Anniversary of Orthodox Christianity in the British Isles.
Born in 1971 in Tambov, Russia, where he was baptized in infancy, Bishop Matthew completed his studies at the Tambov Diocesan School in 1991. In 1993, he graduated from the Faculty of the Tambov State Pedagogical Institute, after which he taught English and French at the high school level. He passed an internship at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle, Great Britain and completed distance learning studies at the University of Manchester. From 2000 until 2005, he pursued correspondence studies through the Moscow Theological Seminary. During much of the 1990s he also served as a subdeacon at Tambov’s Intercession of the Virgin Cathedral.
In 1998, he was ordained to the diaconate and priesthood, after which he served as Rector of Saint Nicholas Church in the village of Bokino, Tambov District until 2005; as a cleric of the Kazan Monastery in Tambov through 2008; and as a cleric of Tambov’s Intercession Cathedral. From 1998 through 2009, he headed the Tambov Diocese’s Department of Religious Education, Catechesis and Mission Work. He also served as Assistant Pro-Rector, and later Pro-Rector, of the Tambov Theological Seminary from 2005 to 2009. In May 2008, he was elevated to the dignity of Archpriest.
In 2009, he was assigned to pastoral ministry in the Diocese of Sourozh, where he served as Rector of Saint Kentigern of Glasgow parish and Dean of the Diocesan Districts of Scotland and Northern England. In 2010, he was reassigned to the Church of the Intercession of the Blessed Virgin in Manchester and Dean of the Diocesan Districts of Northern England and Wales. Between 2008 and 2011, he continued his studies through the Moscow Theological Academy and the All-Church Postgraduate and Doctorate Institute of Saints Cyril and Methodius.
By the decision of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, dated October 22, 2015, he was elected Bishop of Skopin and Shatsk and received monastic tonsure at Moscow’s Donskoy Monastery. He was consecrated to the episcopacy on November 15 of the same year and appointed Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in Italy and Rector of Saint Catherine Church, Rome. On December 28, 2017, he was appointed Ruling Bishop of the Diocese of Sourozh.
Photo credit: Subdeacon Roman Ostash.