Biography of His Beatitude Rastislav. The youngest among the leaders of the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches

His Beatitude Rastislav, Archbishop of Prešov, Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia participates these days at the Feast of the Saint Demetrius 2017. Metropolitan Rastislav is the youngest of the leaders of the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches.

Metropolitan Rastislav (by his secular name Rastislav Gont) was born on the 25 January 1978 in Snina, Slovakia. After absolving the primary school (1992) and the high school (1996), he has graduated at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of the University of Prešov (2002). The theme of his diploma theses was “The Mystery of Death.“

He spent four months at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He also stayed in the Monastery of St. Theodora of Thessaloniki.

On 7 September 2003 he was ordained as deacon by the late Metropolitan Nikolaj and on the 21 September 2003 he was ordained, in the Prešov Cathedral of St. Alexander of Neva, as priest by His Eminence Miron, Archbishop of Hajnowka and in the presence of His Beatitude Metropolitan Nikolaj and His Eminence Archbishop Ján.

In December 2003 he was appointed as Spiritual Administrator of the St. Nicholas of Myra the Wonderworker Orphanage in Medzilaborce. He cooperated with the tutors and pedagogues in implementing the basic Christian principles into the life of the children who suffered social or mental inflictions.

From among the children in the Orphanage, he led two boys into the study of theology at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of the Prešov University in Prešov.

He also established in the year 2008 the Orphanage Youth Choir of St. Apostle Andrew.

On 6 October 2012 he was tonsured as monk (Little Schema) in the Orthodox Monastery of the Placing of the Honorable Robe of the Most Holy Mother of God in Komárno receiving the monastic name Rastislav. He was tonsured by His Grace Tichon, Bishop of Komarno, Archimandrite of the monastery.

On 7 October 2012, he was raised to the rank of Igumen. On 18 November of the same year, in the St. Alexander of Neva Cathedral in Prešov, he was ordained as the Archbishop of Prešov.

On the 11 January 2014 he was elected the primate of the Orthodox Church in the Czech Lands and Slovakia by the General Assembly of the local Church and on 9 February 2014 he was enthroned.

His Beatitude Rastislav in his ministry strives for a strengthening of the pastoral activities and liturgical life of the Church. He spent much effort in the solution of the problems that arose after the leave of his predecessor.

He is a member of the Scientific Council of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of the University of Prešov, over which he has a canonical supervision according to the Constitution.

Due to his active contributions to the different public and church events, he has gained a good status in the society and is a member of different panels.

He has knowledge of the Russian and Greek languages and passively the German, English, Polish and Serbian languages.

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