Senior OCA Bishop reposes

His Eminence Archbishop KYRILL (Yonchev), OCA Ruling Hierarch of Pittsburgh, Western Pennsylvania, and the Bulgarian Diocese, who I believe had been sickly for a number of years, and in failing health for the past year, reposed in hospital this morning, aged 86 or so.

Born in Bulgaria I believe, he entered The OCA in 1976, bringing his Bulgarian Diocese in Exile (sometimes also referred to as the Diocese of Toledo) with him from the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). Subsequently he was also elected Ruling Hierarch of The OCA’s Diocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. (Historically the Ruling Hierarch of their Albanian Archdiocese has also served as Ruling Hierarch of their New England Diocese; the Ruling Hierarch of their Romanian Episcopate [diocese] does not have a territorial diocese besides, maybe because he already has so many parishes to oversee throughout the U.S. and Canada!)

Consecrated an Orthodox Bishop in 1964 by ROCOR, KYRILL was the living OCA Bishop longest in the Orthodox Episcopate. As such IIRC he presided over the election of Metropolitan HERMAN as Primate of The OCA in 2002 at the All-American Council in Orlando, Florida. The report to that Council of The OCA’s External Affairs Department noted that Abp. KYRILL has been able to maintain fraternal relations with the Patriarchate of Bulgaria despite the history; he has also had some priests from there in his Diocese of Pittsburgh. (He reflected on some of this, as well as on then-retiring Metropolitan THEODOSIUS, during the Council’s Grand Banquet [Windows Media 19-minute home-style video].)

Memory Eternal!

I believe Metropolitan HERMAN, as Primate, automatically becomes locum tenens, or temporary Ruling Hierarch, of both of KYRILL‘s dioceses, so a local Church is never without a Bishop. (The OCA’s Statute online is currently unavailable.) Probably one or two priests will be appointed administrators of the dioceses, until a new Ruling Hierarch(s) can be elected – probably either by translating an existing Bishop(s) to these Sees, and/or elevating one or two unmarried priests/priest-monks to the Episcopate.

(NB: This Abp. KYRILL should not be confused with Abp. KYRILL [Dmitrieff], Ruling Hierarch of ROCOR’s Diocese of San Francisco and Western America.)


  1. Karen

    May his memory be eternal!

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