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  5. Abbess Raphael (Khilchuk) of the Koretsky Holy Trinity stavropegic convent, reposed

Abbess Raphael (Khilchuk) of the Koretsky Holy Trinity stavropegic convent, reposed

On November 4, 2021, on the feast of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, after a serious illness at the age of 69, Abbess Raphael (Khilchuk) of the Koretsky Holy Trinity Stavropegic Convent, passed away to the Lord. This was reported by the Information and Education Department of the UOC.

Matushka Raphael was born into a deeply religious family of a rural priest on May 13, 1953 in the village of Kogilnoe, Volyn region. Her father, Archpriest John, was a well-known confessor, to whom many people aspired not only from Volyn, but also from many other places.

Having received her father’s blessing at the age of 18, she entered the Koretsky convent.

In 1978, she was tonsured into a ryassophor.

The then abbess Natalia (Ilchuk) saw the young novice’s talent for church singing, and in 1980, along with some other sisters, sent her to study at the newly opened Regent branch at the Leningrad Orthodox Theological Academy, from which she graduated in 1983.

In the Koretsk monastery, mother zealously carried out various responsible obediences. From 1983 to 2006 she was the secretary of the monastery. In parallel, from 1990 to 2007 she was the choir director of the monastery. It was during these years that the fame of the wonderful monastic singing of the Koretsky monastery was known throughout the country and beyond.

In 1991, the future abbess took monastic vows in her native monastery with the name of Raphael.

From 1998 to 2006, Matushka Raphael bore the obedience of the teacher of the Regent-Catechist Spiritual School, which is still active at the monastery.

2006 was a fateful year in the life of nun Rafaila. Abbess Natalia, feeling burdened with bodily ailments, wrote to His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia a petition to resign as Abbess and to appoint nun Rafaila (Khilchuk) to this position. In this regard, on July 26, 2006, by the Most Holy Patriarch, she was elevated to the rank of Abbess of the Koretsky Holy Trinity Stavropegic Convent.

At this time, the newly appointed abbess showed extraordinary respect for her predecessor, and until the very death of Abbess Natalia in 2007 she was like a novice in everything and made decisions only with her blessing.

On May 31, 2010, Abbess Raphael was appointed a member of the Synodal Commission for Monastic Affairs, and since 2012 – a member of the Board of the Synodal Department for Monastic Affairs and Monasteries. Since 2014, she has been included in the Inter-Council Presence in the commission for the organization of monasteries and monasticism.

For her service, Abbess Raphael was awarded many church awards:

2000 – Patriarchal Diploma

2008 – Order of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Princess Olga III degree of the Russian Orthodox Church

2009 – awarded by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia the right to wear the Cross with decorations

2013 – Order of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Princess Olga II degree of the Russian Orthodox Church

2013 – Order of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Princess Olga of the UOC

2013 – Order of the 1025th Anniversary of the Baptism of Rus

2014 – Patriarchal badge of the 700th anniversary of St. Sergius of Radonezh

2015 – Anniversary medal of the Russian Orthodox Church “In memory of the 1000th anniversary of the repose of the Equal-Apostles. grand prince Vladimir ”

2016 – Order of St. Agapita of Pechersk II degree UOC

Through the efforts of Mother Abbess, on June 25, 2021, the glorification of her predecessor, the Monk Abbess Seraphima Koretskaya, was accomplished in the venerated saints of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

In the memory of the sisters and admirers of the Koretsk monastery, Mother Raphael remained as a zealous prayer book and tireless toiler in the monastic field. Mother showed the sisters a good example of love for worship. During her abbess, a large building was built in the monastery to receive pilgrims, and many other restoration and construction works were carried out. She managed to combine material chores with the preservation of inner prayer, which became for her an integral companion in life.

The death of Mother Raphael took place after the Sacrament of the Unction and the Holy Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ was performed on her.

The Kingdom of Heaven and rest with the saints may the Lord honor the soul of the newly departed Abbess Raphael!

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