Finnish Orthodox Metropolitan Elijah of Oulu Ordained

January 2015 – Church of Finland

The Orthodox Church of Finland received a new bishop when Archimandrite Elijah was ordained as bishop and installed as the Metropolitan of Oulu on Sunday, 11 January 2015, at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Oulu.

Archbishop Leo of Karelia and All Finland presided at the ordination and installation. Serving with him were Ambrosius, Metropolitan of Helsinki, Metropolitan Panteleimon, and Arsenius, Bishop of Joensuu.

The installation to the canonical office of bishop took place after the Vigil held on Saturday evening. The episcopal candidate confessed the apostolic faith Sunday morning before the Divine Liturgy. The episcopal ordination was part of the Divine Liturgy held on Sunday morning, in which clergy and laity numbering 300 persons from different parts of Finland participated.

The ordination and Divine Liturgy held on Sunday morning was streamed live and can be viewed at the website of the Church: www.ort.fi.

BIOGRAPHY

Metropolitan Elijah of Oulu (Matti Wallgrén, b. 8 December 1961) graduated from high school in Kajaani in 1981 and went to study Swedish and Czech as well as phonetics at the University of Stockholm. In 1983 he began studies as a elementary school teacher at the Stockholm Institute of Education.

After graduation Matti Wallgrén worked as an elementary school teacher in Sweden and continued language studies at the University of Stockholm. In the course of his studies Wallgrén worked during holidays as a tour guide in the Czech Republic.

Matti Wallgrén completed his teacher’s studies at the University of Helsinki. He worked for ten years in Helsinki as a Swedish language immersion instructor and as a teacher of religion for two years.

Matti Wallgrén was received into the Orthodox Church in 1994 in Helsinki. In 1995 he began studies in Orthodox theology at the University of Joensuu.

Wallgrén studied Orthodox theology from 2001 to 2003 at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York. He received the Master of Divinity degree from St. Vladimir’s in 2003.

Metropolitan Ambrosius of Helsinki ordained Matti Wallgrén to the diaconate on 29 May 2003 at the church of St. Herman of Alaska in Espoo. He was ordained priest by Archbishop Leo of Karelia and All Finland on 1 September 2003 at the Church of the Holy Resurrection of Christ in Jyväskylä.

The Rev. Father Wallgrén worked as a priest of the Parish of Jyväskylä from 2003 to 2006 and as vicar of the Parish of Vaasa from 2006 to 2014.

On 26 November 2014 the General Assembly of the Orthodox Church of Finland elected the Rev. Father Matti Wallgrén as bishop of the Diocese of Oulu. He was ordained a monk at Valamo Monastery on 16 November 2014. At his ordination he took the name Elijah, after the holy prophet Elijah the Tishbite. Hieromonk Elijah was elevated to the rank of archimandrite on 17 November 2014.

Archimandrite Elijah was ordained bishop and installed as bishop of the Diocese of Oulu on 11 January 2015 at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Oulu.

Photo: Pentti Potkonen

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