Archbishop Feofan of Berlin and Germany has reposed in the Lord

On September 11, 2017, at 64 years of age and after a prolonged illness, our fellow countryman, Archbishop Feofan of Berlin and Germany has reposed in the Lord.

The Most Reverend Vladyka’s whole life was an example of selfless service to God and the Church.

Archbishop Feofan (Oleh Ivanovych Halynskyi) was born on July 8, 1954 in the city of Bila Tserkva, Kyiv oblast. After graduating from high school he studied at Dnipropetrovsk Chemical Technological Institute.

In 1972, he entered Leningrad Theological Seminary, subsequently continuing his studies at the Academy from which he graduated in 1977 successfully attaining the Candidate of Theology degree. According to comments from lecturers, fellow brothers and friends, the future Archbishop of Berlin was one of the most diligent and gifted students who intensely pursued the study of Theology with particular zeal. After completing studies at the Academy, he was appointed lecturer and Assistant Inspector of the Leningrad Theological Seminary.

On 4 January, 1976 he was tonsured into the monkhood, taking the name Feofan, and on 7 January, was ordained a hierodeacon by Metropolitan Nikodim (Rotov) of Leningrad and Novgorod. On April 17, 1977 , Archbishop Kyrill of Viborg (who is now the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church) –  ordained  him a hieromonk.

During the years 1977-1979, he served a three year internship at the Eastern Church Institute in Regensburg, after which he continued to teach in the Leningrad Theological schools.  In 1980, he was elected Secretary of the Board of the Leningrad Theological Academy, and Head of the Liturgics Department. All who knew Bishop in subsequent years noted his profound knowledge of Church statutes, theological disciplines and love for the Divine Services. For hours he could talk about those or other subtleties of worship, impressing listeners with his depth of knowledge.

In January 1985, Hieromonk Feofan was appointed acting Inspector and on February 14 he was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite and in August occupied the post of Inspector of the LDAiS. In the same year, he, for a short time, was acting Rector of Leningrad Theological Schools.

From 1985 begins his period of service in the field of external church relations. The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) on February 7, 1986 decided to appoint him Deputy Chairman of the DECR MP. By order of His Holiness Patriarch Pimen and the ROC Holy Synod resolution of 30 December 1986, Archimandrite Feofan was elected Bishop of Kashira, Vicar of the Moscow eparchy. Presiding over his nomination in the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Minsk on January 10, 1987 – on the Saturday before Christmas, was His Eminence Metropolitan Filaret (Vakhromeyev) of Minsk and Belarus, the Chairman of DECR MP at the time. He was consecrated as Bishop the next day.

All subsequent service by the Vladyka was carried out abroad. On July 19, 1988, he was appointed Rector of the ROC Metochion in Karlovy Vary, and on 31 January 1991, served as locum tenens of the Berlin and Leipzig eparchy. On March 25 of the same year, Bishop Feofan, by the decision of the Holy Synod, was relieved of his duties as Rector in Karlovy Vary and appointed as ruling bishop of the Eparchy of Berlin. Since December 23, 1992, due to the merger of the three German eparchies, he was given the title of Bishop of Berlin and Germany. On February 25, 1996, he was elevated to the rank of Archbishop.

The period of archpastoral ministry for Archbishop Feofan in Germany came at a very challenging time. After the unification of the country in 1991, millions of migrants from the countries of the former USSR came to the Federal Republic of Germany.  Many of whom had been raised as Orthodox and these added to the number of parishioners in the Berlin eparchial churches. For most of them the Russian Orthodox Church became a spiritual home, a link with the homeland that they had left behind. His Eminence met the challenge of establishing new church communities, training the clergy, and organising parish life. However, Archbishop Feofan saw his main task as ‘giving Christ to the people’, as he once said in one of his interviews.

As a result of his Christocentric activities over the course of his 25 years of Archpastoral service in the Berlin See; dozens of priests were prepared and ordained, and the number of parishes grew to over a hundred. As noted by the head of the Orthodox Bishops’ Conference, Metropolitan Augustine of Germany, the numbers of Orthodox in the Federal Republic of Germany , who during the beginning of the 1990s were almost totally absent, today number over two and a half million parishioners , and “all that became possible thanks to to people like Vladyka Feofan”. For his zealous service to the Church, Archbishop Feofan was the recipient of numerous prestigious Church and State awards.

In his tireless testimony of the Gospel truth, and active concern for Christian education and the spiritual-moral development of his compatriots, His Eminence gained the love and respect of both the clergy and the people of God. Well educated, the broadly erudite Bishop could find a common language with all whom the Lord sent him on his life’s journey. Strict and scrupulous during Divine services but always simple and warm hearted in everyday contacts, he literally glowed Christian love and was a true father to his flock.

Over the past few months, Archbishop Feofan was very ill but even in such a state of physical suffering he found sufficient strength to talk with visitors – offer them comfort and encouragement, call on them not to despair , and inspire hope.

The funeral service of Archbishop Feofan will be held, as per announcements made on the official website of the Berlin and Germany eparchy, on September 14, at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of the Resurrection in Berlin. According to the last wishes of the Archbishop, he is to be buried in the Russian Orthodox cemetery of Berlin in Tegel.

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