Metropolitan Hilarion’s parents – his father Alexei Kapral, and his mother, Euphrosynia (née Kasyaniuk) – were from the village of Obenizha in Volyhn , Ukraine . In 1929, during the Polish occupation, the local populace was persecuted and oppressed by Poles attempting to turn Western Ukraine into a Polish province. Thus, the 19-year-old Alexei and his young wife decided to emigrate to Canada. At the time, the Canadian government afforded immigrants the opportunity to obtain large tracts of land in Western Canada ; it was there that the young family settled. Upon their arrival in the province of Alberta , the Kapral family received 160 acres of untilled land, as well as $100 in cash, a hammer, and an axe, with which to build themselves a home. In the developing Spirit River region, there were some 200 Ukrainians, and in view of the oncoming cold, they quickly built themselves houses. The great economic crisis of 1929-1930 affected the settlers as well, making an already hard life even more difficult. To find work, Alexei Kapral had to travel far from home, and he earned but 25 cents per day. Nonetheless, the family grew ever larger – five boys and two girls filled the house with children’s voices, speaking Ukrainian at home. Their parents also spoke Russian and Polish.
The youngest member of the family was Igor, the future Metropolitan Hilarion. He was born on January 6, 1948, in Spirit River, and spent his childhood in the country. He had to walk over three miles to school every day. Later he transferred to another school in Blueberry Creek, but returned to finish high school, which he graduated in 1966. From his youth, Igor attended Holy Trinity Russian Church, located close to Spirit River. There were many conflicts among the parishioners, some of whom wanted the church to transfer to the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church. The parish later transferred to the diocese of Archbishop Panteleimon (Rudika), who served first in the Russian Church Abroad, later switching to the Moscow Patriarchate. Young Igor, meanwhile, found a spiritual father in the Russian Church Abroad, in the Right Reverend Sava (Saracevic), Bishop of Edmonton, a Serb who greatly revered our Holy Hierarch St. John (Maximovitch, +1966).
From his youth, Igor felt drawn to the Church, and loved to read books and periodicals on religion and morals. In 1967, when Igor Kapral was 19 years old, he entered the Holy Trinity Theological Seminary in Jordanville , NY , USA . On graduating from the Seminary in 1972 (together with our rector, Fr. Victor – ed.), Igor entered the Holy Trinity Monastery as a novice. On December 2, 1974 he was tonsured a rassophore monk with the name Hilarion, in honor of Venerable Schema-monk Hilarion of the Kiev Caves, the famous Metropolitan of Kiev. On December 4, 1975, Archbishop Averky (Taushev, +1976), for whom the future Metropolitan served as a cell-attendant, ordained him a hierodeacon. In 1976, Bishop Laurus of Manhattan ordained him a hieromonk. The same year, Fr. Hilarion received a Master’s degree in Slavic studies and Russian literature from Syracuse University. The future First Hierarch worked simultaneously as editor of the English-language version of the magazine Orthodox Life, and as a typesetter for the monastery press.
On December 10, 1984, His Eminence Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky, +1985) and nine other bishops officiated at the consecration of Hieromonk Hilarion to the episcopacy. As Bishop of Manhattan, His Grace was also responsible for the parishes of Pennsylvania, and was also appointed the Deputy Secretary of the Synod of Bishops by the Council of Bishops. Ten years later, thanks to the archpastoral efforts of Bishop Hilarion, the number of parishes in the Eastern American Diocese grew to 64. Visiting parish after parish, Vladyka drew the love and respect of all those who met him. Holding a position of responsibility in the administrative center of the Church Abroad, Vladyka Hilaron was also an active participant in the main events of its history. In 1995, Bishop Hilarion was given the title Bishop of Washington as he continued to live in New York, but due to problems in the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand after the retirement of the ailing Archbishop Paul (Pavlov), and in recognition of his exception pastoral talents, Vladyka Hilarion was elevated to the rank of archbishop and appointed Ruling Bishop of the Diocese of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand.
In 2003, Vladyka Hilarion was awarded the right to wear the diamond cross. During the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in 2006, he was appointed First Deputy President of the Synod of Bishops.
On March 16, 2008, the very day of the repose of His Eminence, Metropolitan Laurus, Archbishop Hilarion was appointed Temporary President of Synod of Bishops and of the electoral commission tasked with preparing for the Sobor of Bishops. There His Eminence was elected First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad on May 12. On May 18, 2008, Metropolitan Hilarion was enthroned in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign.
On June 9, 2017, His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow and all Russia, presented Metropolitan Hilarion the right to wear two panagias within the spiritual territory entrusted to him.
Metropolitan Hilarion reposed in the Lord, on May 16, 2022 after a lengthy illness.
First Anniversary of Metropolitan Hilarion's repose
May 14, 2023
On the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, Metropolitan Nicholas will celebrate Divine Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City. Upon conclusion of Liturgy, His Eminence will serve a panihida for the first anniversary of Metropolitan Hilarion's repose.
May 16, 2023
Metropolitan Nicholas will officiate the divine services for the first anniversary of Metropolitan Hilarion's repose in Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY. 6:00 AM Divine Liturgy; panihida after a fraternal repast.
On May 22, the 5th Sunday of Holy Pascha, the commemoration of the meeting of the Lord with the Samaritan Woman, and then the Holy Church honors the memory of the Holy Hierarch and Wonderworker Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia, the burial of the newly departed First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, was held at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY.
We received the news of the passing of Metropolitan Hilarion with sadness, and assure you and the entire ROCOR community of Our prayers from the Holy Tomb of our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the repose of his soul in the Heavenly Kingdom.
It was with great sorrow that I heard the news of the repose of the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York.
On Saturday, May 21, the feast of the Holy Apostle & Evangelist John the Theologian, the monastic funeral of the newly reposed First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad ‒ His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York ‒ was held in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City.
On Saturday, May 21, the feast of Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, His Eminence Mark, Metropolitan of Berlin & Germany, will officiate Divine Liturgy at 7:30 AM with the participation of archpastors, clergymen, and representatives of other Local Orthodox Churches
In the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City, the clergy continue to serve panihidas for the newly reposed primate of the Russian Church Abroad, Metropolitan Hilarion. On Tuesday evening, May 17, Metropolitan Mark of Berlin & Germany, recently arrived from Germany, officiated the panihida in the cathedral.
It was with great sorrow that I received the news of the repose of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York. I express my deepest condolences for your loss.
It is with great sorrow that I learned of the repose of our dear and beloved brother, His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion.
On Monday evening, May 16, the first panihida for the newly reposed Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, was served in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City.
On Monday, May 16, the feast of Venerable Theodosius of the Kiev Caves, at 2:00 PM New York time, following a lengthy illness, His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, reposed in the Lord in a New York City hospital.
Jordanville, NY: Burial of Metropolitan Hilarion takes place at Holy Trinity Monastery - 05/22/22
New York City: Funeral of Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of Russian Church Abroad, held in Synodal Cathedral - 05/21/22
In Memoriam: His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad - 05/20/22