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After the death of his matushka and only child in 1886, Fr. Basil entered the Kozlov Monastery in Tambov and was given the name Vladimir. Two years later he was consecrated bishop of Staraya Rus and served as a vicar bishop in the diocese of Novgorod.St. Vladimir became archbishop of Kartalin and Kahetin in 1892. He was selected as Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomna in 1898 and was notable for his concern for widows, orphans, the poor, and alcoholics. In 1912, he became Metropolitan of Petrograd after the death of Metropolitan Anthony. In 1915, Metropolitan Vladimir fell out of favor with the tsar because he disapproved of Rasputin, and so he was transferred to Kiev.
At this time, there were calls for an autonomous Ukraine, and some wanted the Ukrainian Church to be independent from the Church of Russia. Metropolitan Vladimir warned that division in the Church would allow its enemies to be victorious.
In January 1918, many churches and monasteries were damaged by the cannon fire as Bolshevik forces vied for control of Kiev. On January 23, the Bolsheviks seized the Kiev Caves Lavra, and the monks were taken out into the courtyard to be stripped and beaten.
A few nights later, according to one account, five armed soldiers and a sailor came looking for Metropolitan Vladimir. The hierarch was tortured and choked in his bedroom with the chain of his cross. They tortured the metropolitan and demanded money, then drove him away to be executed. Another account just states that some anonymous persons proceeded to take him to the commandant for interrogation. On the way, they decided to rid themselves of him.
The body of the hieromartyr was found pierced by two bullet wounds and three stab wounds. He was carried into the lavra's Church of St. Michael, where he had spent his last days at prayer.
The All-Russian Church Council was in session when word came to Moscow of Metropolitan Vladimir's death. A memorial service for the New Martyr Vladimir was performed by Patriarch Tikhon. An investigatory commission was formed to look into the circumstances of Metropolitan Vladimir's murder, but it was unable to carry out its duties because of the revolution. The council decided that the Sunday nearest to January 25 (o.s.) / February 7 (n.s.), the day of his martyrdom, would be set aside for the annual commemoration of all of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, killed by the Soviets.
|Bishop of Staraya Rus|
|Archbishop of Kartalin and Kahetin|
|Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomna|
|Metropolitan of Petrograd|
|Metropolitan of Kiev and Gallich|