Primate: A spiritual leader should be a model rather than master

Primate of the UOC, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry. Photo: UOC

Through the example of the life of the Monk Theodosius of the Caves, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry told what a true spiritual leader should be.

A spiritual leader should be an example for his subordinates, rather than a master. The Primate of the UOC, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kyiv and All Ukraine, said this during a sermon on the feast of the Monk Theodosius, Abbot of the Caves. The video of the sermon was published by the Information and Education Department of the UOC.

According to the Primate, the Monk Theodosius is "a vivid example of the correct ministry of a priest who occupies an administrative position" and "the correct image of what a spiritual leader should be."

He recalled that the monk began to asceticise even before coming to the monastery, leading a very modest life and chaining himself in fetters. When the future abbot came to the monastery, he continued his feat, performing the most difficult work.

“The brethren loved Saint Theodosius very much: for them he was not only an administrator, he was a living example of what a monk should be,” said the Archpastor. “He himself was the first to do all obediences, all jobs. He did not disdain any work: he went to work in the garden, in the field, swept the yards, baked prosphoras, carried water – he did all the monastery work. In addition, he always wore such modest clothes that the people who saw him for the first time did not recognize him as an abbot but believed that he was an ordinary monk."

The Monk Theodosius was a role model for everyone not so much as a leader but as a minister, added His Beatitude Onuphrius.

“In his personal life, he was an example for everyone – both for monks and for those who came to the monastery simply for prayer or for spiritual guidance. He was a living example of what a Christian should be, what a leader should be, and not only in monasticism. There are abbots of monasteries, there are abbots of churches and cathedrals, but any leader must live this way: he must humble himself, he must not be a ruler, but be an example for his subordinates. This is the most powerful word, the spiritual word that a leader speaks when he shows a personal example. The most important thing is that he should practice what he preaches,” Metropolitan Onuphry stressed.

As reported by the UOJ, on the feast of the Monk Theodosius of the Caves, His Beatitude Onuphry led the Divine Liturgy and episcopal consecration in the Assumption Cathedral of the Holy Dormition Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.

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