Hat tip to lots of people! R.D., F.A., and a few others!
Fr. George Petrenko, whose wife reposed in the Lord this year, has been chosen to head the ROCOR-A in South America. The surprise announcement came earlier today when NFTU was informed that Fr George had been tonsured into monasticism today with the name Gregory (for St Gregory Palamas) and comes on the heels of a sudden announcement from the ROCOR-MP that a seminary will soon be established in South America. (By contrast, ROCOR-A will elevate Fr Gregory to the episcopate this weekend.)
The election of a resident Bishop for South America (both Bp John of Caracas and the late Bp Alexander of ROCOR were not residents of their see countries) comes as little surprise to us here, since most of the Latin American parishes of ROCOR had left after the union of 2007. It was obvious that Metropolitan Hilarion of the ROCOR-MP was trying to rebuild after the union. What was not obvious was why he was acting now, and the reason for this has become clearly apparent to even the most casual observer. Indeed, no formal announcement of the new “seminary” was made on the ROCOR-MP’s official website. In fact, the announcement only showed up on some email lists. The most obvious scenario is that an insider within the ROCOR-A may have inadvertently informed Metropolitan Hilarion what was occurring– that a new Bishop was being made for South America that would actually live there— and so the sudden idea of a “seminary” came into existence. We assume that this is to keep the few members of the ROCOR-MP still in Latin America mollified, yet we have to wonder how successful such a strategy will be.
The Bishop-Elect will have the title of Bishop of Sao Paulo and South America.