Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church in Oakmont, PA

Metropolitan Philaret

Metropolitan Philaret is regarded by many as the most important figure in the history of the Orthodox Church in Russia in the 19th century. He has been characterized as "a learned theologian, a political figure, a struggler of piety numbered among the saints, a preacher and a poet." He was also a prolific author.

Philaret was born Basil Drozdov in Kolomna, Russia on December 26, 1782, and was the son of a priest. He received the monastic tonsure in 1808, taking the name "Philaret," after St. Philaret the Almsgiver. He was seminary educated and later was a professor at various seminaries, teaching Greek, Hebrew and theology. He was a prominent figure in preparing the translation of the Holy Scriptures into Russian from Church Slavonic, which was not easily understood by most people at that time. He also wrote many volumes of theological and historical works, collectively known as "The Filaretica", and published a catechism in 1823 that has remained a standard text of the Russian Church. He held many positions within the Orthodox Church in Russia and was Metropolitan of Moscow from 1826 until his death.

His life was not without controversy. He was outspoken and expressed his opinions strongly, clashing with the government over control of the church and bearing the accusations of serious offenses against the "Old Believer" movement within the Russian Orthodox Church. Still, he is widely regarded as a man possessed of a rare spirituality. He supported the spiritual revival of St. Paisius Velichkovsky, with its emphasis on spiritual elders and unceasing prayer. The metropolitan's own spiritual father was, in fact, a close disciple of St. Seraphim of Sarov. It was recorded that various miracles were performed by the prayers of Philaret, including a girl dumb for 13 years who began to speak, a merchant was spared the necessity of having his arm amputated and an 8-year old paralzyed girl who began to walk.

Metroplitan Philaret reposed on the 19th of November, 1867, after being forewarned of the day of his death by his father two months earlier in a dream. He was canonized by the the Russian Orthodox Church in 1995.

Click here for a printable version of "The Prayer of Metropolitan Philaret."

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