Kyrill (Yonchev) of Pittsburgh

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He was born Ilia Yonchev, the son of the late Mancho and Anna Yonchev, on February 26, 1920 in the historic city of Panaguriste in Bulgaria. He graduated in 1940 from St. John of Rila Theological Seminary in Sofia.  He was tonsured a monk on January 19, 1941,  ordained a Deacon on January 20, 1941 and in April of 1943, he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood.  He graduated from the St. Clement of Ochrid School of Theology in 1944, and was appointed an instructor of theology in the seminary in Plovdiv, BulgariaAnd in 1944, he was appointed Abbot of the Bachkovo Monastery.  While Abbot of the Bachkovo Monastery, he together, with other leading civil and religious leaders in Bulgaria. helped to protect the Jewish population of Bulgaria from extermination at the hands of Nazi occupiers.
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His Eminence, the Most Reverend Archbishop '''Kyrill (Yonchev) of Pittsburgh''' (1920-2007) was the ruling [[bishop]] of the [[OCA]] [[Diocese of Western Pennsylvania (OCA)|Diocese of Western Pennsylvania]] and of the OCA [[Bulgarian Diocese (OCA)|Bulgarian Diocese]]Prior to his service in the OCA, he was the sole hierarch of the [[ROCOR]]'s [[Bulgarian Diocese in Exile]] during its twelve-year existence.
  
In 1946, Fr. Kyrill was sent to Bern, Switzerland, for advanced studies in theology and philosophy.  In 1950, following the communist take over of Bulgaria, Fr. Kyrill emigrated to the United States. A short time later he was assigned as pastor of St. George Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Toledo, Ohio. On December 6, 1959 he was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite, and in 1963, he was named Administrator of the Bulgarian Diocese in the United States.  A short time later, on August 9, 1964, he was consecrated Bishop of Toledo and Toronto and the Bulgarian Diocese, Diocese of the United States of America and Canada.
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==Life==
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Abp. Kyrill was born Ilia Yonchev on [[February 26]], 1920, in Panaguriste, Bulgaria, the son of Mancho and Anna Yonchev. He attended the St.[[ John of Rila]] Theological Seminary in Sofia, Bulgaria, graduating in 1940. He was [[tonsure]]d to [[monk|monastic]] orders on [[January 19]], 1941, and given the name Kyrill. On the next day he was [[ordination|ordained]] a [[deacon]]. He was ordained to the [[priest]]hood in April 1943.
  
On December 20, 1976, Bishop KYRILL united the Bulgarian Diocese to the Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America. In October, 1977, Bishop KYRILL was appointed Locum Tenens of the Pittsburgh Archdiocese; and in 1978, he was chosen to head the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, a position he has held for 29 years. In 1992, he was elevated to the rank of Archbishop.  
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Fr. Kyrill attended the St. Clement of Ochrid School of Theology. After graduating in 1944, he was appointed instructor of theology in the [[seminary]] in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and also was appointed [[abbot]] of the Bachkovo [[Monastery]]. As the abbot, he participated with other Bulgarian leaders helping protect the Jewish population of Bulgaria from actions of the Nazi occupation against the Jews during World War II.
  
He was the senior hierarch and a member of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America. He was also a member of the Lessor Synod of Bishops, and served on numerous Church committees. Including the Canonization Commission, the Theological Board and as a Trustee of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary.  He was also a member of the executive council of the Christian Associates of Southwestern Pennsylvania.
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Following World War II, Fr. Kyrill attended advanced studies in theology and philosophy in Bern, Switzerland. With the communist takeover of Bulgaria, Fr. Kyrill, in 1950, immigrated to the United States where he was soon assigned as pastor of St. George Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Toledo, Ohio, as part of the [[Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia|Bulgarian Eastern Diocese of North and South America and Australia]]. Fr. Kyrill was elevated to the rank of [[archimandrite]] on [[December 6]], 1959.  
  
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In 1964, Metr. Andrei of the Bulgarian Diocese petitioned the [[Holy Synod]] of the [[Church of Bulgaria]] for his return to the Bulgarian episcopacy and to continue to lead the [[diocese]] in America.  With the return of Metr. Andrei and his diocese to the Church of Bulgaria, a group under Fr. Kyrill broke with Metr. Andrei and joined the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia ([[ROCOR]]) as the [[Bulgarian Diocese in Exile]].
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On [[August 9]], 1964, Kyrill was [[consecration of a bishop|consecrated]] by ROCOR as Bishop of Toledo and Toronto of the Bulgarian Diocese in Exile. On [[December 20]], 1976, Bp. Kyrill and his diocese broke from the ROCOR and joined the [[Orthodox Church in America]] (OCA), with Kyrill appointed as the ruling bishop of a Bulgarian diocese under the OCA. In October 1977, Bp. Kyrill was appointed ''[[locum tenens]]'' of the [[Diocese of Western Pennsylvania (OCA)|Diocese of Western Pennsylvania]].  In 1978, Bp. Kyrill was elected the ruling bishop of the Pittsburgh diocese, which he led for the next 29 years. He also continued to lead the OCA's Bulgarian Diocese.  In 1992, he was raised to the dignity of [[archbishop]].
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During his tenure as head of the Pittsburgh diocese, Abp. Kyrill served as a member of the OCA Lesser [[Synod]] of Bishops, the [[Canonization]] Commission, and the Board of Theological Education. He was also a trustee of [[St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary (Crestwood, New York)|St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary]].
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Abp. Kyrill reposed on [[June 17]], 2007, after a period of failing health. His funeral services were conducted on [[June 21]] and [[June 22|22]], 2007, at the St. Alexander Nevsky [[Cathedral]] in Allison Park, Pennsylvania. At the time of his death Abp. Kyrill was the longest-serving Orthodox hierarch in America.
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{{start box}}
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{{succession|
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before=[[Andrei (Petkov)]]|
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title=Bishop of Toledo and Toronto<br>[[Bulgarian Diocese in Exile]] (ROCOR)|
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years=1964-1976|
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after=[[Michael (Donskoff) of Geneva|Michael (Donskoff)]]}}
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{{succession|
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before=''see created''|
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title=Bishop of Bulgarian Diocese<br>(OCA)|
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years=1976-2007|
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after= [[Alexander (Golitzin)]]}}
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{{succession|
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before= [[Theodosius (Lazor) of Washington|Theodosius (Lazor)]]|
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title=[[Diocese of Western Pennsylvania (OCA)|Archbishop of Pittsburgh]]<br>(OCA)|
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years=1978-2007|
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after= [[Melchisedek (Pleska) of Pittsburgh|Melchisedek (Pleska)]]}}
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{{end box}}
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==Source==
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*''The Orthodox Church'', Vol 43/No 3, Summer 2007, p. 30.
  
 
==External link==
 
==External link==
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[[Category:Bishops]]
 
[[Category:Bishops]]
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[[Category:20th-21st-century bishops]]
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[[Category:Bishops of Pittsburgh]]
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[[Category:Bishops of Toledo]]
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[[Category:Bishops of Toronto]]

Revision as of 06:19, May 7, 2012

His Eminence, the Most Reverend Archbishop Kyrill (Yonchev) of Pittsburgh (1920-2007) was the ruling bishop of the OCA Diocese of Western Pennsylvania and of the OCA Bulgarian Diocese. Prior to his service in the OCA, he was the sole hierarch of the ROCOR's Bulgarian Diocese in Exile during its twelve-year existence.

Life

Abp. Kyrill was born Ilia Yonchev on February 26, 1920, in Panaguriste, Bulgaria, the son of Mancho and Anna Yonchev. He attended the St. John of Rila Theological Seminary in Sofia, Bulgaria, graduating in 1940. He was tonsured to monastic orders on January 19, 1941, and given the name Kyrill. On the next day he was ordained a deacon. He was ordained to the priesthood in April 1943.

Fr. Kyrill attended the St. Clement of Ochrid School of Theology. After graduating in 1944, he was appointed instructor of theology in the seminary in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and also was appointed abbot of the Bachkovo Monastery. As the abbot, he participated with other Bulgarian leaders helping protect the Jewish population of Bulgaria from actions of the Nazi occupation against the Jews during World War II.

Following World War II, Fr. Kyrill attended advanced studies in theology and philosophy in Bern, Switzerland. With the communist takeover of Bulgaria, Fr. Kyrill, in 1950, immigrated to the United States where he was soon assigned as pastor of St. George Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Toledo, Ohio, as part of the Bulgarian Eastern Diocese of North and South America and Australia. Fr. Kyrill was elevated to the rank of archimandrite on December 6, 1959.

In 1964, Metr. Andrei of the Bulgarian Diocese petitioned the Holy Synod of the Church of Bulgaria for his return to the Bulgarian episcopacy and to continue to lead the diocese in America. With the return of Metr. Andrei and his diocese to the Church of Bulgaria, a group under Fr. Kyrill broke with Metr. Andrei and joined the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) as the Bulgarian Diocese in Exile.

On August 9, 1964, Kyrill was consecrated by ROCOR as Bishop of Toledo and Toronto of the Bulgarian Diocese in Exile. On December 20, 1976, Bp. Kyrill and his diocese broke from the ROCOR and joined the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), with Kyrill appointed as the ruling bishop of a Bulgarian diocese under the OCA. In October 1977, Bp. Kyrill was appointed locum tenens of the Diocese of Western Pennsylvania. In 1978, Bp. Kyrill was elected the ruling bishop of the Pittsburgh diocese, which he led for the next 29 years. He also continued to lead the OCA's Bulgarian Diocese. In 1992, he was raised to the dignity of archbishop.

During his tenure as head of the Pittsburgh diocese, Abp. Kyrill served as a member of the OCA Lesser Synod of Bishops, the Canonization Commission, and the Board of Theological Education. He was also a trustee of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary.

Abp. Kyrill reposed on June 17, 2007, after a period of failing health. His funeral services were conducted on June 21 and 22, 2007, at the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Allison Park, Pennsylvania. At the time of his death Abp. Kyrill was the longest-serving Orthodox hierarch in America.

Succession box:
Kyrill (Yonchev) of Pittsburgh
Preceded by:
Andrei (Petkov)
Bishop of Toledo and Toronto
Bulgarian Diocese in Exile (ROCOR)

1964-1976
Succeeded by:
Michael (Donskoff)
Preceded by:
see created
Bishop of Bulgarian Diocese
(OCA)

1976-2007
Succeeded by:
Alexander (Golitzin)
Preceded by:
Theodosius (Lazor)
Archbishop of Pittsburgh
(OCA)

1978-2007
Succeeded by:
Melchisedek (Pleska)
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Source

  • The Orthodox Church, Vol 43/No 3, Summer 2007, p. 30.

External link

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