At a meeting of the Holy Synod on September 23-24 at the Danilov Monastery in Moscow, a vicar was appointed for the first time to the Vladimir diocese. Bishop Stephan of Klin, who is also a vicar to the patriarch, was appointed to this position. The synod minutes say that Metropolitan Tikhon of Vladimir presented a report on the need for a vicar bishop.
In the contemporary Russian Orthodox Church, a vicar has the title of bishop, but does not have his own diocese and helps the ruling diocesan bishop (in the case of the Vladimir diocese, Archbishop Tikhon) with his administration. A vicar may be involved both in the management of specific areas of activity (e.g., financial) and as a vicar in some part of the diocese. According to the website of the Patriarchate, Stephan will be in charge of the Kovrov part of the archdiocese and will have the title “Bishop of Kovrov”.
Bishop Stephan (in the world Sergey Privalov) was born on November 2, 1961 in Bryansk. He graduated from Zhitomir Higher Military School, specializing as an air defense electronic engineer. In 1995, he was made redundant from the army as a lieutenant colonel. He studied at St. Tikhon’s University, Candidate of Theology.
Since 2001 he worked in the Patriarchate, dealing with contacts between the church and the Russian Armed Forces. Since 2013 he has been a member of the Supreme Church Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, in charge of interaction with the army and the police. Since 2019, he has served as vicar to the patriarch in Klin. In the same year he took monasticism in honor of Stephen the Confessor. The bishop is also the rector of the main church of the Airborne Troops.
Rumors about the appearance of the position of vicar in the Vladimir diocese were already in circulation under the former Metropolitan Evlogy. But at a certain point it was decided to divide the Vladimir-Suzdal diocese into several metropolitanates. Since the new entities became not too large, the question was postponed until recently. The position of vicars is found in many Russian dioceses, and the Vladimir diocese was rather an exception.