Leo (Tserpitsky) of Novgorod

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Archbishop Leo (Tserpitsky) of Novgorod (Russian: Лев (Церпицкий)) is the ruling hierarch of the re-established Eparchy of Novgorod the Great and Staraya Russa of the Church of Russia. He was appointed Bishop of Novgorod on July 20, 1990 and elevated to archbishop on February 25, 1995. The Eparchy of Novgorod was re-established in 1990 with succession from the Eparchy of Leningrad and Novgorod.


Nikolai Lvovich Tserpitsky (Russian: Николай Львович Церпицкий) was born in the village of Zaluzhye in the Stoŭbtsy District of Minsk Oblast in Belarus on April 13, 1946. He is the grandson of a priest. After finishing a secular education, Nikolai Lvovich served in the Soviet army for three years, from 1966 to 1969. After completing his military obligation, Nikolai entered the Leningrad Spiritual Academy. He graduated in 1975 after having successfully defended a candidate's dissertation entitled "Decrees of the Second Vatican Council's 'Constitution on the Divine Liturgy'" («Постановление II Ватиканского Собора „Конституция о богослужении“»). He continued his education at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy from 1975 to 1978.

While attending the academy, Nokolai was tonsured a monk by Metropolitan Nikodim of Leningrad and Novgorod on March 28, 1971 with the name Leo. In April 1971, he was ordained a hierodeacon. During the period from 1972 to 1975, Dn. Leo was the personal secretary to Metr. Nikodim. In April 1975, he was ordained a hieromonk and, in 1978, Fr. Leo was elevated to the rank of archimandrite.

In 1978, Archim. Leo was a member of the Russian Orthodox delegation to the funeral of Pope Paul VI and the inauguration of Pope John Paul I during which the head of the Russian delegation, Metr. Nikodim of Leningrad and Novgorod collapsed and died during a meeting with the Pope.

On November 1, 1987, Archim. Leo was consecrated Bishop of Tashkent. [1] On July 20, 1990, he was appointed Bishop of Novgorod the Great and Staraya Russa. As the Soviet Union began to collapse and the Russian Republic formed, Bp. Leo took on the labors of re-building the Eparchy of Novgorod after the Soviet period in which the Church of St. Philip was the only Orthodox church that remained open in Novgorod.

In 1991, he led the celebration of the reconsecration of St. Sophia Cathedral after it was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church.

Under his leadership, a library was re-established in the upper gallery of St. Sophia Cathedral and a number of churches were reopened in the eparchy. A festival was established in honor of Metropolitan Arseny of Novgorod, who died in 1936. Also, the relics of Bishop Nikita, who died in 1108, were returned to St. Sophia Cathedral. Early in the Soviet period, thee relics were kept in a paper bag in the Novgorod Museum before they were moved in 1957 to the Church of St. Philip.

Awards and honors

Abp. Leo has received a number of secular and ecclesiastical awards. In 1992, he was made an honorary citizen of Novgorod the Great. On March 30, 2006, President Vladimir Putin of Russia awarded him the Order "For Service on behalf of the Fatherland," 4th class (За заслуги перед Отечеством» IV степени). He also received the Sign of Honor (Знак Почёта), the Order of Sergei Radonezh, 4th class (Орден преподобного Сергия Радонежского III степени), and the Order of St. Prince Daniel of Moscow (Орден св. блгв. кн. Даниила Московского).[2] In 2004, he received the Yaroslav the Wise Medal, 1st class (Медалью Ярослава Мудрого I степени) awarded by Novgorod State University.[3]


  1. Zhurnal Moskovskoi Patriarkhii. 1988, No. 5, pp. 7-12.
  2. Zhurnal Moskovskoi Patriarkhii. 1988, No. 5, pp. 7-12.
  3. See the University's website at [1]
Succession box:
Leo (Tserpitsky) of Novgorod
Preceded by:
Bishop of Tashkent
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Theodore (Yatskovsky) 1926
Nikodim (Rotov) 1990
Metropolitan of Novgorod
Succeeded by:
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