Father Rastislav, the Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in the Czech Lands and Slovakia, celebrates on November 18, 2019, his 7th episcopal consecration anniversary.
Rastislav or Rostislav, also known as St. Rastislav, was the second known ruler of Moravia (846–870). Upon his initiative two brothers, Cyril and Methodius sent by the Byzantine Emperor Michael III in 863, translated the most important Christian liturgical books into Slavonic in his realm.Rastislav was canonised in 1994 by the Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church.
Metropolitan Rastislav (by his secular name Rastislav Gont) was born on the 25 January 1978 in Snina, Slovakia. After absolving the primary school (1992) and the high school (1996), he has graduated at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of the University of Prešov (2002). The theme of his diploma theses was “The Mystery of Death.“
He spent four months at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He also stayed in the Monastery of St. Theodora of Thessaloniki.
On 7 September 2003 he was ordained as deacon by the late Metropolitan Nikolaj and on the 21 September 2003 he was ordained, in the Prešov Cathedral of St. Alexander of Neva, as priest by Miron, Archbishop of Hajnowka and in the presence of His Beatitude Metropolitan Nikolaj and His Eminence Archbishop Ján.
In December 2003 he was appointed as Spiritual Administrator of the St. Nicholas of Myra the Wonderworker Orphanage in Medzilaborce. He cooperated with the tutors and pedagogues in implementing the basic Christian principles into the life of the children who suffered social or mental inflictions.
From among the children in the Orphanage, he led two boys into the study of theology at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of the Prešov University in Prešov.
He also established in the year 2008 the Orphanage Youth Choir of St. Apostle Andrew.
On 6 October 2012, he was tonsured as monk (Little Schema) in the Orthodox Monastery of the Placing of the Honorable Robe of the Most Holy Mother of God in Komárno receiving the monastic name Rastislav. He was tonsured by Tichon, Bishop of Komarno, Archimandrite of the monastery.
On 7 October 2012, he was raised to the rank of Igumen. On 18 November of the same year, in the St. Alexander of Neva Cathedral in Prešov, he was ordained as the Archbishop of Prešov.
On the 11 January 2014 he was elected the primate of the Orthodox Church in the Czech Lands and Slovakia by the General Assembly of the local Church and on 9 February 2014, he was enthroned.
Father Rastislav, Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church of Czech Lands and Slovakia, visited România in 2017. That was his first visit to Romania as Head of the Czech and Slovak Church and it took place during the celebrations marking the feast of Saint Demetrius the New, Protector of Bucharest.
Metropolitan Rastislav in his ministry strives for a strengthening of the pastoral activities and liturgical life of the Church. He spent much effort in the solution of the problems that arose after the leave of his predecessor.
He is a member of the Scientific Council of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of the University of Prešov, over which he has a canonical supervision according to the Constitution.
Due to his active contributions to the different public and church events, he has gained a good status in the society and is a member of different panels.
He has knowledge of the Russian and Greek languages and passively the German, English, Polish and Serbian languages.