TALLINN - The Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate celebrates the appointment of Archimandrite Lazar as its new Bishop of Narva. He was consecrated as Bishop by His Holiness Patriarch Kiril and assisted by His Eminence Metropolitan Cornelius of Tallinn and All Estonia, as assisted by several other Bishops, at the Cathedral of Christ the King, in Moscow on July 21.
Bishop Lazar is the first Bishop of Narva since the late Archbishop Pavel.
The new Bishop was born in Mordovia, a part of the Russian Federation, baptised in childhood, then started as a regular church goer. After finishing school he served in the army during which time he decided to devote himself to the monastic life. After several years of training as a novice, he began life as a monk and was ultimately given the task of reviving two monasteries in Mordovia.
Lazar became abbot of the largest monastery there, having personally supervised the complete reconstruction of the buildings, church, grounds and walls. He also served as Secretary of the Diocese of Mordovia. Following the recent visit by the Metropolitan Cornelius to Mordovia, Lazar was invited to Estonia where he resided at Puhtitsa Monastery for the past year. During this time he studied the Estonian language, culture and history. Bishop Lazar takes up residence in Narva this week.
The Russian Orthodox Church, which has had an established presence in Estonia for about 1,000 years (actually starting in Tartu in 1030), is now growing rapidly with many newborns and adults being baptised. Practicing Orthodox followers number 12.8 percent in Estonia, only slightly less than the Lutheran contingent, at 13.6 percent.
Over 90 percent of the Orthodox believers are in communion with the Russian Orthodox Church, which is the second largest Christian church in the world. The largest is the Roman Catholic Church, which has a small following in Estonia.