Metropolitan Philaret (secular name Georgy Nikolayevich Voznesensky, Russian: ? ? ; 22 March 1903 in Kursk, Russia – 21 November 1985 in New York City) was the first hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia from 1964 until his death on November 21, 1985.
Georgy Voznesensky was born on March 22, 1903 in Kursk, Russia into a family of a priest, Father Nicholas Voznesensky and his wife Lydia. In 1909, his family moved to Blagoveschensk on the Amur River in Siberia.
Living in Harbin, Voznesensky entered the Russo-Chinese Polytechnic Institute from which he graduated in 1927 as an electromechanical engineer. He then began studies in pastoral theology in what became the Theology Department of the University of St. Vladimir.
In 1932, he was ordained a Hieromonk.
In mid 1945, after the Communist Chinese and Soviet forces took over Manchuria at the end of World War II, archimandrite Philaret remained with the Orthodox believers in Manchuria, but he firmly rejected all attempts to get him to accept a Soviet passport. Further, he fearlessly denounced the atheistic communists. His overt position against the Soviets placed him in great personal danger. Their hatred of him resulted in an attempt to burn him alive in his monastic cell. He escaped, but suffered severe burns.
In 1962, the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia was able to acquire an exit visa for archimandrite Philaret that allowed him to reach Hong Kong. From there archimandrite Philaret quickly traveled to Brisbane, Australia where many of his former flock in Manchuria had settled.
After his arrival in Brisbane, his followers petition the Synod of the ROCOR to appoint him their bishop. On 17 October 1962 The General Council was committed to electing Archimandrite Philaret Vosnesensky to the See of Brazil. Archbishop Sava made a powerful presentation to the assembled bishops, asserting that Philaret should be left in Australia and appointed second suffragan bishop for the diocese as Bishop of Brisbane. Sava reminded the bishops of his failing health and considered Philaret to be a possible successor to himself, especially as so many parishioners in Australia knew and respected Philaret in Harbin. The General Council acquiesced to Sava's plea and it was decided to elevate Archimandrite Philaret to the episcopal dignity.
In 1964, bishop Philaret represented archbishop Sava at a meeting of the Council of Bishops of the ROCOR in which the first hierarch metropolitan Anastassy announced his resignation. As the youngest bishop among those at the council, the Council elected Bp. Philaret the successor to Metr. Anastassy. Metr. Philaret was enthroned first hierarch of the ROCOR on May 14, 1964.
Metropolitan Philaret served as the first hierarch of the ROCOR for twenty one years. He reposed on November 21, 1985 and was buried in the cemetery of the Church of Dormition.
In November 1998, the Synod decided to transfer Metropolitan Philaret's relics to a new vault under the altar of Holy Trinity Cathedral at Jordanville, New York. When his tomb was opened, his relics were found to be incorrupt.
Metropolitan Philaret was canonized by the number of church groups which derive their succession from the ROCOR but none of whom are in communion with the mainstream Orthodox Church.
On May 19 - 20, 2001 Metropolitan Philaret was glorified by the Holy Orthodox Church in North America ("Boston Synod").
On April 30, 2003 Metropolitan Philaret was glorified by the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church.
On November 20, 2008 Metropolitan Philaret was glorified by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad headed by metropolitan Agathangel (Pashkovsky).
On October 23, 2009 Metropolitan Philaret was glorified at Holy Transfiguration Skete by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad headed by archbishop Vladimir (Tselischev).
These glorifications have not been recognized by other Orthodox groups nor by any part of the mainstream Orthodox Church.
In 2012, the Eastern American Diocese of the MP (Russian Orthodox Church Abroad) headed by metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) established a committee to explore the formal glorification of Metropolitan Philaret.