Metropolitan Leo (or Lev, Russian: Лев, secular name Nikolay Lvovich Tserpitsky, Николай Львович Церпицкий; born April 13, 1946) is the current Metropolitan of Novgorod and Staraya Russa. He was named Bishop of Novgorod the Great and Staraya Russa on July 20, 1990 and elevated to the archiepiscopal dignity on February 25, 1995, and to the metropolitan dignity in January 2012.
After his service in the Soviet Army in 1966-1969, Lev entered the Leningrad Spiritual Academy, graduating in 1975 and successfully defending a candidate's dissertation entitled "Decrees of the Second Vatican Council's 'Constitution on the Divine Liturgy'" («Постановление II Ватиканского Собора „Конституция о богослужении“»). He studied at the Papal Gregorian University from 1975-1978.
On 28 March 1971, he was shorn a monk by Metropolitan Nikodim (Rotov) of Leningrad and Novgorod; he was consecrated a hierodeacon in April of that same year and was consecrated a hieromonk in April 1975. From 1972 to 1975, he was personal secretary to Metropolitan Nikodim. In 1978, he was elevated to the rank of archimandrite and was part of the Russian Orthodox Church's delegation at the funeral of Pope Paul VI and the inauguration of John Paul I; he was with the Metropolitan when Nikodim collapsed and died during an audience with the Pope.
Since becoming Bishop (since 1995 - Archbishop) of Novgorod and Staraya Russa, Leo has overseen the rebuilding of the church in the eparchy in the aftermath of the Soviet collapse. He concelebrated the rededication of the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom after it was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1991, reestablished a library in the upper gallery of the cathedral, oversaw the reopening of a number of churches in the eparchy (the Church of St. Philip was the only Orthodox church that remained open in Novgorod during the Soviet period), established a festival in honor of Metropolitan Arsenius (Stadnitsky) of Novgorod (d. 1936), returned the relics of Bishop Nikita (d. 1108) to the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom (in the early Soviet period, they had been kept in a paper bag in the Novgorod Museum; after 1957, they were in the Church of St. Philip), and has patronized other efforts to rebuild the church and church culture in the eparchy.
The Holy Synod on December 28, 2011 appointed him head of the Metropoly of Novgorod (including the diocese of Novgorod and diocese of Borovichi). He was elevated to the rank of metropolitan on January 8th, 2012 in the Dormition Cathedral of Moscow Kremlin by Patriarch Kirill.
Awards and honors
Lev has been the recipient of several secular and ecclesiastical awards. In 1992, he was made an honorary citizen of Novgorod the Great. On March 30, 2006, President Vladimir Putin awarded him the Order For Merit to the Fatherland, 4th class (За заслуги перед Отечеством» IV степени). He has also received the Order of Honour (Знак Почёта), the Order of Sergius of Radonezh, 4th class (Орден преподобного Сергия Радонежского III степени), and the Order of St. Prince Daniel of Moscow (Орден св. блгв. кн. Даниила Московского). In 2004, he was a recipient of the Yaroslav the Wise Medal, 1st class (Медалью Ярослава Мудрого I степени) awarded by Novgorod State University.
- "Lev Mitropolit Novgorodskii i Starorussiskii," on the website of the Russian Orthodox Church, http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/38914.html
- Zhurnal Moskovskoi Patriarkhii. 1988, No. 5, pp. 7-12.
- Zhurnal zasedaniya Svyashenogo Synoda ot 27-28 December 2011 (Journal of the Most Holy Synod for 27-28 December 2011), Online at http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/1909396.html; "V nedeliyu po Rozhdestve Khristovom Predstoyatel' Russkoi tserkvi sovershil Bozestvennuyiu liturgiyu v Uspenskom sobore Moskovskogo Kremliya," (In the week of the Birth of Christ, The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Celebrates Divine Liturgy at the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin), online at http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/1930828.html
- See the University's website at http://www.novsu.ru/press/novuniver/i.2526/?article=laureat&number=2004_11_02
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