WHAT IS KNOWN ABOUT NEW RULING BISHOP OF GRODNO DIOCESE WHO REPLACED "INCONVENIENT" ARTEMY
Belorusskii Partisan, 12 June 2021
Yesterday the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church appointed Bishop of Slutsk and Soligorsk Antony the ruling bishop of the Grodno diocese, sending Archbishop of Grodno and Volokovyssk Artemy "into retirement for reasons of health."
The Holy Synod decided to dismiss Archbishop of Grodno and Volkovyssk Artemy into retirement for reasons of health after determining that Minsk is his place of residence.
We recall that the 69-year-old Archbishop Artemy, who was removed from his office, was renown for the fact that in August 2020 he openly spoke out against use of force.
"And as for those of the older generation who are grumbling, teachers ("We saw the politics there"), you should kneel down for all the falsification, all the lies that you gave our children. For the BRSM [Union of Youth of the Belorussian Republic], for the Komsomol, for everything that was atheistic. Here's the result of your education. Now your pupils have cast off the chains. They thirst for blood; they are insane. And, of course, a deep bow to all of you who stood firm and showed the exact Christian position. No force of any kind; no commotion. . . ." he said in one of his sermons on 16 August 2020.
New leader is young, educated, decorated
Bishop of Slutsk and Soligorsk Antonby (secular name—Dennis Valentinovich Doronin) is 41 years old. He was born in Baku (Azerbaijan), where his ancestors had moved from Nizhny Novgorod during collectivization. He was six years old when the nationalism movements of Azerbaijan and Armenia began and the Karabakh conflict grew; the Doronin family moved to Belarus, although they had neither relatives nor close friends there.
"My parents felt the special goodness and warm relationship of the people, in particular toward the children," Bishop Antony noted in an interview with Mlyn.by.
Doronin attended Dubovliany High School in Minsk district and Sunday school in Minsk.
"I also studied in art school and worked professionally as a sculptor and ceramicist. My parents were sure that I would dedicate myself to art. Therefore they did not take my decision to enter seminary seriously. But I was prepared. I passed the exams successfully and became a student of an ecclesiastical academic institution where my studies became a real school of life. The teachers were experienced clergy, many of whom had been army veterans who went through the severe atheist period who talked profoundly and deeply about faith and inspired others by their example."
Dennis finished the Minsk Ecclesiastical Seminary and then enrolled in the first year of the Minsk Ecclesiastical Academy, where he subsequently defended a kandidat's dissertation. He also studied in 2005 at the Institute for Post-graduate Study of Orthodox Theology in Chambesy, Switzerland. He completed the ecclesiastical graduate school and doctorate program.
In 2012, he received certification as a teacher of psychology in the Institute of Advanced Certification and Retraining.
In 2007 Dennis Doronin entered into the Minsk diocesan administration in the position of advisor on general matters. For three years (from 2007 to 2010) he served as archdeacon for the patriarchal exarch of all-Belarus, Metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsk Filaret.
He was tonsured in 2009 in the Zhirovichi monastery, taking the name Antony, in honor of Saint Antony the Roman, a Novgorodian miracle worker. After a year he was ordained a monastic priest and in the same year he was elevated to the rank of hegumen. In January 2012 Metropolitan Filaret elevated him to the rank of archimandrite.
From late 2011, Antony taught "General Church History" in the Minsk Ecclesiastical Seminary, and subsequently "Liturgical Theology" in the Minsk Ecclesiastical Academy.
Antony served as the executive secretary for the chancellor of the Belorussian exarchate and was assistant rector of the Minsk ecclesiastical school for the Ecclesiastical Educational Center of the Belorussian Orthodox Church in Minsk.
In 2014 he was appointed chancellor of the Belorussian exarchate (subsequently reorganized as the Minsk exarchate). In the autumn of the same year he was elected bishop of Slutsk and Soligorsk. He became a member of the Synod of the Belorussian exarchate. He was awarded the Order of the Holy Prelate Kirill of Turov, 2nd degree.
In 2018 Bishop Antony was awarded the title "Minshina Man of the Year." He often participated in charitable events and he visited schools and boarding schools where he conversed with people and distributed gifts to them. Local officials joined him on such visits. In his appeals to the people, Antony maintains the themes of Orthodoxy, church, and faith.
"We are now experiencing a prosperous time: we have the possibility of freely conducting our mission, of preaching the Word of God, and of building churches. We are creating new parishes and drawing the youth to the church. Young people actively help those who find themselves in difficult life situations and they visit the disabled and orphans. Faith without works is dead and in order to strengthen it we must help our neighbors," the Vladyka declares to the believers.
When the cathedral of the Nativity of Christ was opened in Soligorsk in 2017, the bishop cited the authorities who allocated a good location for its construction in the center of the city.
As to the events occurring in Belarus, Antony has not spoken out. While in 2015, during the divine liturgy in the St. Michael's cathedral church of Slutsk, he prayed for peace in Ukraine.
And in late May of this year, when a delegation from the Orthodox church of Ukraine came to Belarus, Antony gave assurance of his daily prayer for the whole Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the fraternal people of Ukraine. (tr. by PDS, posted 13 June 2012)
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