November 16, 2012
UPDATED—Metropolitan Tikhon receives greetings, addresses Eastern PA clergy and faithful
SYOSSET, NY [OCA]
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon continues to receive congratulatory messages on the occasion of his election as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America at the 17th All-American Council in Parma, OH on Tuesday, November 13, 2012. [See related story.]
The texts of the greetings received through Friday, November 16, appear below. [Texts may be read at above link.] Additional greetings will be posted on the OCA web site as they are
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia
Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine
Metropolitan Hilarion of DECR/MP
Archbishop Justinian of Naro-Fominsk, Administrator of MP parishes in America
Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of ROCOR
Metropolitan Joseph and Bishop Daniil of the Bulgarian Diocese in America
Metropolitan Zachariah Nicholovos of the Northeast American Diocese, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Metropolitan Alexios Mar Eusebius of the Diocese of South-West America, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
In related news, Metropolitan Tikhon addressed the clergy, monastics and faithful of the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania in a letter dated November 15, 2012, the text of which reads as follows.
To the Clergy, Monastics and Faithful of the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania:
Christ is in our midst!
By the grace of Almighty God, on Tuesday,
November 13, 2012, I was elected to the position of Primate of the Orthodox Church in America by the Holy Synod of Bishops during the 17th All-American Council held at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Parma, Ohio. I am truly humbled by the trust that has been placed in my by the Church and I especially ask for the
continued prayers of all the clergy and faithful of the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania as I assume my new responsibilities.
On the day following the Council, the Holy Synod of Bishops met in Parma and addressed a number of matters resulting from my election, including the question of hierarchical oversight of the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania. It was the consensus of the Holy Synod that my responsibilities as Primate would require my full attention and that the oversight of my former diocese should be given to another hierarch.
Therefore, the Holy Synod appointed His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, as Locum Tenens of the Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania. He is to be commemorated as such during all divine services within the Dicoese, following the usual commemoration of the Metropolitan.
In addition, the Holy Synod appointed His Grace, Bishop Mark of
Baltimore, as Administrator of the Diocese. Both of these appointments are effective immediately and I would ask for your prayerful support of Bishop Melchisedek and Bishop Mark during this period of transition as the Diocese begins the process of searching for a new diocesan bishop.
At the same time, I would like to assure you that there will be no changes to the existing administrative structures of the diocese. The chancery officers remain in place according to my previous appointments: Fr. John Kowalczyk as Chancellor and Fr. Martin Browne as Treasurer. Likewise, the administrative staff will continue unchanged with Matushka Sandy Kopestonsky continuing as Administrative Assistant and Mr. Aric Gingo working in the Department of Communications. The Diocesan Center office hours will remain in effect, Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
All three deaneries have
recently held their elections for officers and I have approved the officers elected and appointed one vacant position. I attached a list of the current Administration and Deanery officers.
In general, the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania will continue to operate as normal and all the programs that have been, or are being, implemented will continue on their present trajectory. Much has been accomplished over the past several years in the Diocese and it is my fervent hope that the momentum that the clergy and faithful have developed in this work will be sustained and increased by your zeal and energy.
I am particularly pleased with the progress that has been made in the area of parish revitalization, clergy health and administrative responsibility within the parishes. It is my prayer that all of you will continue to support this work and will offer of yourselves for the continued blossoming of our diocese and the
Orthodox Church in America.
I am grateful to God for the opportunity to have served as your diocesan bishop for almost eight years and I leave with much sorrow over this separation. I have grown to love and respect my brothers in Christ, the priests and deacons of Eastern Pennsylvania, together with their families; and it has been my great joy to serve the faithful Christian people of this Diocese, to learn from them and be inspired by their devotion to Christ and his Holy Church.
As your new Primate, my presence within the diocese, of course, will be limited, but it is my intention to return as often as I can, with the blessing of the diocesan authorities, to the place where I began my ministry as a bishop, where I was blessed to serve and where I know that I can count on the prayers and love of the good people of Eastern Pennsylvania (and the Northern tip of Delaware).
May the Lord bless you abundantly and strengthen all of you for our common labors in the vineyard of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I ask for your prayers as I give you assurance of my love and prayers for you.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Archbishop of Washington and Metropolitan of All America and Canada
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]