Reverend Father Matti Wallgrén Elected Finnish Metropolitan of Oulu

December 2014- January 2015

The General Assembly of the Orthodox Church of Finland has elected the Reverend Father Matti Wallgrén to be the next Metropolitan of Oulu. The election was held on 26 November in the Church of the Transfiguration of Valamo Monastery.

The episcopal synod had nominated Arsenius, Bishop of Joensuu, and Matti Wallgrén, Vicar of the church of Vaasa. 34 of the members of the General Assembly voted. Fr. Matti received 17 votes and Bishop Arsenius 16. There was one blank ballot cast.

Pastor Matti Wallgrén graduated with a qualification as an elementary school teacher in Stockholm in 1986. He completed a Master of Divinity degree at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York in 2003.

Matti Wallgrén was ordained priest on 1 September 2003. Fr. Matti served as a priest of the parish of Jyväskylä from 2003 to 2006, and as vicar of the parish of Vaasa beginning in 2006.

Metropolitan Panteleimon, who served as Bishop of the Diocese of Oulu beginning in 2002, retired in June of 2013. His predecessors in the post were Ambrosius, Metropolitan of Helsinki (1997-2002) and Leo, Archbishop of Karelia and of All Finland (1980-1996). Bishop Arsenius has been the acting Metropolitan of Oulu since June 2013.

The Orthodox Church of Finland is an autonomous archbishopric belonging to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The church has 60,000 members. Five parishes and around 6,500 members belong to the Diocese of Oulu, which covers all of northern Finland.

The Reverend Father Matti Wallgrén will be consecrated bishop and installed in his post as Metropolitan of Oulu on 11 January 2015 in the Cathredral of the Holy Trinity in Oulu.

Photo: Vlada Wahlstén