The October Sobor of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Old Rite (Belokrinitsky Synod)
has elected a new Metropolitan, Bishop Kornilii (Titov) of Kazan and Vyatka, to succeed
Metropolitan Andrian (Chetvergov), who had reposed in August of this year.
The enthronement (nastolovanie) of the new Metropolitan is scheduled for this coming
Sunday, October 23 NS, in the cathedral of the Protection of the Holy Virgin at the Rogozh
Gate in Moscow.
Metropolitan Kornilii, upon his election, promised to continue the course of his
predecessor in working for reconciliation in the Russian Church.
The new Metropolitan was born on Aug. 1, 1947 in Orekhovo-Zuevo, in a traditional Old
Believer family. He was ordained to the diaconate in 1997 by the late Metropolitan Alimpii
(Gusev), and to the priesthood on March 8, 2004, by Metropolitan Andrian. He served as
second priest at the church of the Nativity of the Theotokos in Orekhovo-Zuevo, and was
elected as a candidate for the hierarchy at the October Sobor of 2004. On March 14 of this
year he was tonsured a monk, and on May 8 (which was Thomas Sunday and the feast of
St. Mark the Evangelist), he was consecrated Bishop of Kazan and Vyatka by Metropolitan
Andrian, together with Bishop Silouyan of Novosibirsk and All Siberia, Bishop German,
temporarily ruling the diocese of the Far East, and Bishop Evmeny of Kishinev.
Yesterday, the Metropolitan-elect was interviewed by Russian TV, and he spoke about the
Church's suffering over the sad state of Russian society today. But the interview was so
edited, that when aired, it was made to seem that he was expressing regrets over the sad
state of the Russian Orthodox Church (of the new rite) today.
This evoked a protest from the chancery of the Old Rite Church, chiding the news media
for misrepresenting his words, and adding that the responsibility for this lies on the
conscience of the reporters.
Metropolitan Andrian had a high respect for the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia,
and his course was similar to that of Metropolitan Laurus in seeking to overcome the
divisions that exist "within the Russian Church".
Metropolitan Andrian broke with the past in speaking of his Old Rite flock as "one of the
parts of the Russian Church", as well as by making official visits to the dioceses of the
Moscow Patriarchate, whenever he visited his Old Rite communities.
He also initiated talks with the Moscow Patriarchate about the problem of the schism
dating from 1666-1667.
There are said to be about 2 million Old Believers in Russia, of whom the largest single
group, or just over half, follow the Belokrinitsky Synod (the "Popovtsi"). Another large
group are the Pomortsi, historically known as the "Bezpopovtsi" or "Priestless Ones",
although some who follow the Pomortsi liturgical tradition have returned to the priesthood
and joined the Belokrinitsky hierarchy, the Moscow Patriarchate or the Church Abroad.
In 1800 the practice of "Edinoverie" was established in the Russian Church, whereby
parishes could return to the Official Church while retaining the Old Rite.
In 1905 by edict of the Emperor, the Belokrinitsa hierarchy was allowed to celebrate the
Eucharist again at their altars, which had been "sealed" in the 19th century.
In 1971 the Moscow Patriarchate, and in 1974 ROCOR, lifted the anathemas against the
In 2000, both ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate recognized that the persecutions of the
Old Rite had been an error.