The future leader of the Church, the metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia, Korniliy (Konstantin Ivanovich Titov), was born on August 1, 1947 into an Old Believer family in Orekhovo-Zuyevo in the Moscow region.
Before the revolution, Orekhovo-Zuyevo was one of the cities of the Bogorodsky District and was located in the territory of the famous settlement area of the Old Believers, known as Guslitsy. In the city, there were several churches and house chapels that belonged to the Old Believers, one of which attended by the ancestors of the future metropolitan.
The house of the Titovs on Volodarsky street, in which the future bishop was born and raised, was located near the houses of the famous Old Believer families – the Morozovs and Zimins. The Titov family were friends with the Zimin family. From early childhood, grandmother Maria Nikolaevna took her grandson to the church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, which was located on Kuznetsky street.
This church was known as the “black chapel” amongst the people, because the clergy at one time was constituted of Old Believer monks. Unfortunately, in 1973, this church was burnt down when the city authorities began reconstructing the city. Nevertheless, even in those harsh years, the inhabitants of the city continued to keep the faith of their ancestors. In the Titov house, there were always icons and old church books, although they were not safe to keep during the religious persecutions.
After graduating from the 8th grade of high school, Konstantin immediately got a job, becoming a turner student at the casting and mechanical plant of the Orekhovo-Zuyevsky cotton mill – an enterprise founded by the well-known Old Believer industrialist family, the Morozovs.
Konstantin Ivanovich worked at the casting and mechanical plant for 35 years, combining work with his studies in an evening technical school, and then at the Moscow Automotive Institute, which he graduated in 1976.
Konstantin Ivanovich Titov worked in this profession until 1997. The last years he worked as the head of the department of the technical control of the plant.
The life circumstances of the future bishop developed that, while caring for his sick mother (he was the only son), he did not marry. After his mother’s passing, he turned all his aspirations to the Church of Christ. His knowledge and experience in church were very beneficial for the revival of the Orekhovo-Zuyeva church on Kuznetsky street.
Here, Konstantin Ivanovich met father Leontiy Pimenov and this association helped the future metropolitan to embark on the path of church ministry.
In 1991, Konstantin Ivanovich was elected chairperson of the church council of the Orekhovo-Zuyeva Old Believer’s church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God. In May 1997, leaving secular work, he vowed celibacy and was ordained a deacon. The ordination was performed by His Eminence metropolitan Alimpiy (Gusev).
On March 7, 2004, in the Intercession cathedral in Moscow, His Eminence metropolitan Andrian (Chetvergov) ordained deacon Konstantin to the rank of a priest. The place of his ministry was the church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God in Orekhovo-Zuyevo, where he served as the second priest.
On October 21, 2004, at the Consecrated Church Council, father Konstantin was elected a candidate for bishop of the Kazan-Vyatka diocese. On March 14, 2005, father Konstantin took monastic vows with the name of Korniliy.
On May 7, 2005, in the Intercession cathedral, His Eminence metropolitan Andrian consecrated bishop Korniliy to the rank of a bishop. On July 21, the feast day of the appearance of the Kazan icon of the Mother of God, his ordination to the rank of bishop of the Kazan-Vyatka diocese was completed.
On October 18, 2005, the Consecrated Church Council assembled in Moscow to elect a new head of the Church after the passing of metropolitan Andrian. The Council elected bishop Korniliy of the Kazan-Vyatka diocese as the metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia.
During the leadership years of bishop Korniliy, many positive developments were secured in the life of the Church. It has become a tradition to make regular arch-pastoral visits to all the dioceses of the Church to serve arch-pastoral services and to ordain bishops, priests, deacons, readers and candle bearers.
Metropolitan Korniliy ordained bishop Patermufiy (Artemikhin) as bishop of the Far Eastern diocese, bishop Evfimiy (Dubinov) as bishop of the Kazan-Vyatka diocese and bishop Gregory (Korobeinikov) to the newly formed Tomsk diocese. In 2016, the metropolitan ordained bishop Sava (Chalovsky) to the newly formed Kazakhstan diocese and in 2017 – bishop Nikodim (Kovalev) to the Kiev and All Ukraine diocese.
Over the years since his ordination to the rank of metropolitan, bishop Korniliy has ordained more than 50 priests and deacons and more than a hundred readers and candle bearers.
One of the brightest highlights of this time was a significant number of newly established churches – approximately 40 churches were consecrated by the metropolitan.
Bishop Korniliy gives great attention to the veneration of sacred places associated with the history of the Old Believers, partakes in traditional cross processions and serves prayer services and litiya. He also visited the skete where the famous hermit Agafya Lykova lives.
During arch-pastoral trips, the metropolitan meets with the heads of the republics, regions, districts and municipalities. Decided at these meetings are the many important issues in the life of the Old Believer Church: the provision of land for the construction of churches, the restoration of church architecture, the return of church buildings to the use of the Church, and various social and educational projects implemented jointly by the state and the Old Believer communities.
In the last decade, the metropolitan paid much attention to the revival of the spiritual and architectural ensemble “Rogozhsky Settlement”. With the assistance and financial contribution of the Moscow authorities, large-scale construction and restoration work was carried out in the Intercession and the Nativity of Christ churches, the House of the Clergy and the bell tower-church of the Resurrection of Christ.
During the leadership years of metropolitan Korniliy, the Moscow Old Believer Theological School (MSDU) celebrated eleven graduating classes. The young men and women who graduated from the MSDU theological school now work in the church and church-community.
Under the chairmanship of metropolitan Korniliy, the Consecrated Church Councils and Councils of the Metropolia are convened annually. During these councils, decisions on the most important issues of church life are discussed and decided.
During the years of metropolitan Korniliy’s leadership, publishing activity on church life is actively developing. During this time, 50 issues of the journal “Messenger of the Metropolia” have been published. In addition to the “Messenger” journal, several extended publications have been printed as booklets, which are dedicated to special church and social events. These publications include the visit of the Moscow Metropolia’s delegation to Pustozersk, the visit of metropolitan Korniliy to the famous Old Believer hermit Agafia Lykova, the celebration at the Rogozhsky Settlement of the 200th anniversary of the victory in the Patriotic War of 1812, as well as other events.
Established during the leadership of metropolitan Korniliy, the Museum, Archive and Library Department of the Metropolia conducts extensive research and publishing activities. Many volumes of works have been published by famous Old Believer authors, such as archbishop John (Kartushin), bishop Arseniy (Shvetsov) and bishop Michael (Semenov).
One of the traditions established by metropolitan Korniliy is the ceremony of rewarding authors, publishers and journalists for contributing to journalistic, creative, informational and educational activities dedicated to the theme of the Old-Rite faith. Over the years, about 100 academics, writers and filmmakers were among the awardees.
In recent years, relations with the Belokrinitsa Metropolia have developed in the spirit of brotherly understanding and trust. This was evident with the visit by the delegations of the Belokrinitsky Metropolia in Moscow on the feast day of the Holy myrrh-bearing women, the multiple meetings of both metropolitans in Belaya Krynitsa and the visit of metropolitan Leontiy to Kazan in 2013 to attend the celebrations dedicated to the Kazan icon of the Most Holy Mother of God.
Bishop Korniliy actively supports inter-Old Believer associations and advocates good-neighborly relations and interactions with other Old-Rite unions. On June 23-24, the international conference “The Old-Rite faith, the state and society in the modern world” was held at the Moscow House of Nationalities. The official delegations of the main Old Believer unions – the Russian Orthodox Old Believer Church, the Russian Old Orthodox Church and the Old Orthodox Pomor Church – took part in the events of the conference, as well as representatives of the Old Believers’ social movements and the media.
Presiding at the conference was the head of the Russian Orthodox Old Believer Church metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia, Korniliy, and the Russian Old Orthodox Church patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Alexander. The Old Orthodox Pomor Church was represented by the Chairman of the Central Council of the Latvian Old Orthodox Church, father Alexei Nikolaevich Zhilko.
The relations between the Russian Orthodox Old Believer Church and the state are developing dynamically. Metropolitan Korniliy is a member of the Council for Coordination with Religious Organisations under the President of the Russian Federation.
On February 22, 2013 in the Catherine Hall of the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded the metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia, Korniliy, with the state award – the Order of Friendship. This accolade from the state is awarded to citizens of the Russian Federation, as well as to citizens of foreign countries, in recognition of their notable efforts in strengthening peace, friendship, cooperation and mutual understanding between people; their impactful activities for the rapprochement and mutual enrichment of cultures and nationalities; and, their active efforts to preserve, multiply and popularize the cultural and historical heritage of Russia.
On February 26, 2013, at his residence in Novo-Ogaryovo, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with His Eminence Korniliy, metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia. At the beginning of the conversation, bishop Korniliy thanked the Russian President for the opportunity of a personal meeting and drew attention to its importance and historical uniqueness for the entire Old Believer world. During the meeting, metropolitan Korniliy explained to the President the current situation of the Church and noted with gratitude that the Old Believer Church today has the opportunity for unrepressed development and that the state provides support in many matters.
On March 16, 2017, metropolitan Korniliy met officially with the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. In his welcoming address, metropolitan Korniliy expressed gratitude to the President for his attention to the needs of the Church and the state’s assistance in holding an international conference in Moscow in 2016, where representatives of Old Believers from around the world met for the first time.
President Vladimir Putin visited the Rogozhsky administrative and spiritual center personally on May 31, 2017. Accompanied by metropolitan Korniliy, the head of state viewed the church of the Nativity of Christ, the Intercession cathedral, the museum of icons in the House of the Clergy and held a short conference with the metropolitan.
Discussed in detail was the upcoming celebration of the 400th anniversary of the birth of the holy martyr archpriest Avvakum and the reconstruction of architectural monuments in the main centers of the celebration at the Rogozhsky and Transfiguration cemeteries in Moscow.