This post was first put up in February of 2011
Spirit River has been the birth place of many amazing people, but perhaps the best known and loved in the world is Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral).
His story starts back in 1929, when his parents immigrated to Spirit River from Western Ukraine. Land was available here, and there were already 200 Ukrainians to welcome the young Kaprals with their language, customs, and tips on how to homestead in the Peace Country.
By 1948, seven children filled the farmhouse. The youngest of them all was Igor (known as Gregory) Kapral, born in 1948 in Spirit River. He went to school here and in Blueberry Creek, and he felt drawn to the church from an early age, starting with the Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church near Spirit River.
At 19, Gregory entered the Holy Trinity Theological Seminary in New York, and upon graduation entered the Holy Trinity Monastery as a novice. Soon he was tonsured a rassaphore monk (given the monastic name Metropolitan Hilarion), ordained a heirodeacon, then a heiromonk. He also achieved a master’s degree in Slavic studies and Russian literature, as well as working as an editor and typesetter. Gregory was just 36 when he was consecrated a bishop and appointed to the see of Manhattan.
Finally (so far) Bishop Hilarion was transferred to the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, and also became an Archbishop. The list of his achievements is much longer than those mentioned here. He is well loved across the world.
This boy from Spirit River Alberta can literally draw crowds of thousands.
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