Most Eminent Agafangel, Metropolitan of Odessa and Izmail.
Most Eminent Agafangel (Savvin), Metropolitan of Odessa and Izmail is a standing member of the Holy Synod of Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Doctor of Theology “Honoris Causa” and honorable member of Kiev Theological Academy, Doctor of Philosophy and Honorable Professor of Uzhhorod Theological Academy named after Kirill and Mefodiy, Honorable Doctor “Honoris Causa” of Odessa National Academy of Law, Honorable Doctor “Honoris Causa” of Odessa State Medical University, Honorable Professor of South Ukrainian National Pedagogical University named after K.D. Ushynsky, Honorable member of academic council of Odessa I.I. Mechnikov National University.
In worldly life – Alexey Mikhaylovich Savvin
He was born on 2 September 1938 in the village of Burdino of Terbunsky region of Lipetsk oblast (Russia) in a large peasant family. During the Great Patriotic War in 1941 his father – Mikhail Petrovich Savvin – died a hero’s death during landing operation on the Kerch Peninsula. The same year, his elder brother Nikolay was blown up by a mine and died.
From 1942 till 1947, he lived with his family in evacuation in Novosibirsk region in the town of Oyash. Having returned to his native devastated village he went to school and finished it in 1956.
In 1958-1960, he studied at Kiev Theological Seminary; in 1960-1962 he attended Odessa Theological Seminary.
In 1962-1966 he studied at Moscow Theological Academy, from which he graduated with the degree of the Candidate of Theology; the dissertation work was “Idea of expiation in ancient pagan peoples’ beliefs and in Old Testament”.
In 1965, he joined the brethren of Holy Trinity-Sergius Lavra. On 2 April 1965, he took monastic vows and accepted the name Agafangel.
On 18 April 1965, he was ordained deacon by Archbishop of Minsk and Belarus (Petrov, 1990) in Holy Spirit cathedral of Minsk; on 22 April 1965, he was ordained hieromonk.
Since 1966, he was inspector’s senior assistant and lecturer at Odessa Theological Seminary. At the same time, he was a clerk of Odessa diocesan management.
On 7 April 1967, he was promoted to the rank of abbot.
From 29 May till November 1975, he was the Rector of Odessa Theological Seminary.
In 1974, he was awarded the right to wear the second decorated cross by his Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Pimen.
In 1975, was awarded the right to serve with a baculus by his Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Pimen.
On 1 June 1967, he was promoted to the rank of archimandrite.
Since January 1968 he was a member of Diocesan Council of Odessa diocese.
He actively participated in many international forums: in July 1969, he was a member of Russian Orthodox Church delegation to the conference of representatives of all religions of the USSR dedicated to cooperation and peace among peoples. In September 1969, he participated in four disputes of theologians of Russian Orthodox Church and evangelic church of Germany. In 1987 and 1989, he was the participant of the delegation at international “Cruises of peace on the Dnepr”. In 1988, he was a participant of the delegation at “Cruise of peace” on the Mississippi (USA). In 1992, he took part at international meeting “People and religion” that took place in Leuven, Belgium, under the motto “Europe and religion”. In 1997, the Metropolitan Agafangel participated in the symposium on the problems of ecology, which was held in Odessa under an omophorion of his Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexiy II, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeus and Catholicos of Georgia Eli II.
In 1971, he was a member of Local Council of Russian Orthodox Church. He was a member of the Council of Bishops of Russian Orthodox Church in 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008.
On 11 November 1975, at the meeting of the Holy Synod of Russian Orthodox Church he was appointed the Bishop of Vinnitsa and Bratslav, the managing director of the Khmelnitsky diocese. He was ordained on 16 November 1975.
From 1975 till 1990, he was the managing director of the Khmelnitsky diocese. From 1975 till 1992, he was the managing director of Vinnitsa and Bratslav diocese.
On 7 September 1981, he was raised to the rank of Archbishop.
On 10 March 1989, he was raised to the rank of Metropolitan.
He visited Canada with the mission of peace with the delegation of religious figures of the USSR, and also visited the USA, Italy, Belgium as a participant of the delegation of the Soviet Committee for Peace and Ukrainian Fund of Culture, and two times FRG, France, Bulgaria, Switzerland. He visited Mount Athos, three times Jerusalem and Cyprus as the head of pilgrim delegation.
He was the People’s Deputy of Ukraine of the first convocation (1990-1994). Since 2006 till today he has been a deputy of Odessa Regional Council. He is a Board and Presidium member of the Ukrainian Republican Peace Fund, member of Vinnitsa regional committee for peace, and a member of the Presidium of the Ukrainian republican Fund of Culture, member of Presidium of Odessa Regional Council for Peace, member of Association of People’s Deputies of Ukraine.
On 7 August 1991, he was moved to Ivano-Frankovsk Cathedra, but refused to go due to lawless actions of that time head of Ukrainian Orthodox Church Filaret (Denisenko).
On 7 September 1991, according to his petition he retired.
In September 1992, he was restored on Vinnitsa Cathedra.
In 1992, the meeting of bishops, clergy, monks and laymen of the Ukrainian Orthodox church took place presided by Metropolitan Agafangel, which condemned anti-orthodox, dissenting plans and acts of Filaret (Denisenko) who was Kiev Metropolitan at that time. In May 1992, the Metropolitan of Vinnitsa and Bratslav Agafangel took the most active part in meetings of the Kharkov Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox church, on which he firmly insisted on discharge of the Metropolitan Filaret (Denisenko) from the position of the Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox church and his prohibition from priesthood for gross violation of canons of Church.
Since the 20 July 1992, he has been Metropolitan of Odessa and Izmail, standing member of the Holy Synod of Ukrainian Orthodox church.
From 1993 till 1998, he was the Rector of Odessa Theological Seminary.
From 27 August 1995 till 8 May 2008, he was the chairman of Educational Committee of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox church.
On 27 December 1999, the Metropolitan was awarded the rank of Doctor of Theology “Honoris Causa” by the academic council of Kiev Theological Seminary.
On 26 November 2001, he was elected Honorable member of Kiev Theological Seminary by its academic council (diploma No 1).
On 2 September 2003, Metropolitan Agafangel was awarded the academic title of Honorable Doctor “Honoris Causa” by the academic council of Odessa National Academy of Law.
On 9 June 2005, he was elected Honorable member of Odessa Theological Seminary by the Council of Odessa Theological Seminary.
On 22 February 2007, Metropolitan was elected Honorable Doctor “Honoris Causa” of Odessa state medical university.
On 29 November 2007, Agafangel was assigned a Ph. D. academic degree by the academic council of Uzhgorod St. Kirill and Mefodiy Theological Academy.
On 2 September 2008, Metropolitan Agafangel was awarded Honorary Professor academic title of K. D. Ushinsky South Ukrainian State Pedagogical University.
In September 2008, Metropolitan Agafangel was assigned an Honorary Professor academic title of Uzhgorod St. Kirill and Mefodiy Theological Academy.
In September 2008, Metropolitan Agafangel was elected Honorary member of Odessa Mechnikov State University.
During Metropolitan Agafangel’s teaching: St. Panteleimon, St. Elias, Holy Iveron, St. Nickolas, Saint-Basil Monasteries and St. Archangel Michael’s, Spaso-Preobrazhensky and Holy Resurrection convents have been opened.
300 temples have been opened in diocese, 20 new temples have been built and a number of new temples are being built in Odessa and Odessa region.
Odessa diocese has been given back a three-storey building of St. Andrew’s Mount Athos monastery in Odessa; destroyed bell towers have been restored.
Odessa Spaco-Preobrazhensky Cathedral, Cathedral of Mother of God Icon “Life-Giving Spring”, bell tower with a temple gate have been built in Odessa Holy Assumption monastery.
Major repairs have been made in Odessa Holy Assumption Cathedral.
Following the address of Metropolitan Agafangel to the Holy Synod of Ukrainian Orthodox Church and by its decision, reverend Kuksha of Odessa, reverend Gabriel of Athos, righteous Jonah of Odessa, Archbishop Innocent of Kherson (Borisov), martyr Anatoly of Odessa (Grytsyuk), righteous Theodosius of Balta were canonized in 1995-1997.
In 2006, on the third week after Pentecost, Odessa diocese celebrated the Synaxis of All Saints of Odessa – the holiday, established on the proposal of Metropolitan Agafangel by the decision of the Holy Synod of Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Metropolitan Agafangel is an honorary citizen of the cities of Greenville (Mississippi) and Baton Rouge (Louisiana), USA. In June 2004, on the session of Odessa city council, he was elected Honorary Citizen of Odessa city.
Metropolitan Agafangel, being in the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church from 2001, with the blessing of the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, His Beatitude Vladimir, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine, represents the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the negotiations with the representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church and Orthodox Church of Constantinople on the issue of healing of church splits and moods in Ukraine.
Metropolitan Agafangel is a participant of two international church conferences, dedicated to 2000 years’ anniversary of the Christ’s birth, which took place in 1997 and 1998 in Simferopol and Pochayev Lavra. The international foundation for the unity of orthodox Christian nations: “Orthodoxy and threat of systemic crisis of the world post-industrial society and the global economy of government institutions” was held under the patronage of metropolitan Agafangel from January 20 to January 23, 1999 in Odessa. In 2008, a research and practice church conference “Orthodox spiritual education: history and prospects” was held.
Metropolitan Agafangel pays great attention to training of clergy for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, religious education of laity and spiritual and moral education of youth.
The charity activity of Odessa metropole becomes widespread. Odessa seminary, monasteries and parishes take care of orphans, old, disabled and homeless people. Houses of mercy and asylums were created in cooperation with the state hospitals of Kievskiy and Primorsliy districts of Odessa. Good relations were established with the military. The clergy of the metropole, monasteries monks and professors of the seminary participate in taking the oath in the military units, visit prisons and hospitals.
With the blessing of Metropolitan Agafangel, missionary activities are being revived in Odessa metropole. The pastor speech can be heard every week on the radio and television. All cathedrals and monasteries have Sunday schools for adults and children.
In 2007, with the blessing of Metropolitan Agafangel, printing of the monthly newspaper of Odessa diocese “The Odessa Diocese News”, founded by St Innocent (Borisov), was renewed.
Published works of Metropolitan Agafangel include holiday messages dedicated to celebration of Easter and Christmas, greetings, reports, addresses, speeches, sermons, essays, etc. and constitute three volumes; some of the articles were published in the “Journal of Moscow Patriarchate”, “Theological works”, “Orthodox Gazette” other periodicals of the Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox Churches.
In 2005, metropolitan Agafangel became the winner of the competition of the Union of Russian Writers in “Political journalism” category and got the prize.
By the decision of the expert board of the Russian biographic institute, metropolitan Agafangel got the All Russia prize “Man of the year-2008” for his self-sacrificing, educational activity.
The name of metropolitan Agafangel was entered into the information in the biographical resource book” “Ukraine: 10 years of independence. 500 people of influence”.