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The Consecration (ordination) Of An Orthodox Bishop

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  • Nina Tkachuk Dimas
    http://www.acrod.org/readingroom/spirituallife/episcopal-consecration   The Consecration (Ordination) Of An Orthodox Bishop The consecration (ordination) of
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 25, 2012
      The Consecration (Ordination) Of An Orthodox Bishop
      consecration (ordination) of an Orthodox bishop is the process during which a
      candidate for the episcopate receives the fullness of the grace of the
      priesthood through the Sacred Mystery of ordination by the laying of hands (in
      the Greek: Cheirotonia) in succession from the Holy Apostles. The
      office of bishop is the highest clerical rank in the Orthodox Church. While some
      bishops may receive titles such as Patriarch, Metropolitan, or Archbishop, all
      bishops are equal and the titles are administrative ranks and marks of dignity
      and honor. At his consecration, a bishop receives grace not only to perform the
      Sacred Mysteries but also to bestow the grace of ordination on others.
      The Scriptural foundation for Cheirotonia is found in the Acts of
      the Apostle (Acts 1:15-26; Acts 6:2-6) and the Epistles to Timothy (1 Timothy
      4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6). The procedure leading to the consecration of a new bishop
      involves two stages: first, the selection of the candidate, usually referred to
      as the election, and second, the consecration ritual of Cheirotonia during a
      divine liturgy.
      The election process may be one of a number of different techniques depending
      on the traditions and rules of a diocese or local church, such as through a
      council of the diocese or local church, a committee of bishops of a local church
      (i.e., a Synod of Bishops), or by appointment by the senior bishop of the local
      church. In the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese, the diocesan priest
      meet in assembly to nominate a candidate for Bishop. The name of the nominee is
      forwarded to the Holy Synod of The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, by
      the Archbishop of America, the Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for
      canonical election. Candidates for the Office of Bishop, must be unmarried
      males, who are drawn from the monastic ranks. If not a monk, the candidate must
      take monastic vows and become a monk. If not a priest, he must receive
      ordination as a deacon, if not already a deacon, then as a priest. The person
      elected to the episcopate must voluntarily accept his nomination before the
      consecration can proceed.
      Because the Acts of the Apostles describes the Cheirotonia being
      accomplished with prayer, the Consecration of a Bishop and the ordination of a
      priest and deacon, is always performed within a Divine Liturgy each at a
      different liturgical moment. A Deacon is ordained by a Bishop late in the
      Liturgy, following the Consecration of the Holy Gifts, because his role is to
      assist with the distribution of Holy Communion. A Deacon is elevated to
      Presbyter by a Bishop prior to the Consecration, because it is his
      distinguishing grace to invoke the Holy Spirit. A Bishop is ordained before the
      Scriptural readings, because it is his special role to preach and teach the
      Gospel, and also in order to ordain others. Whereas a single Bishop suffices for
      the ordination of a Deacon or Priest, the Holy Canons require that at least
      three Bishops participate in the elevation of a Priest to the Episcopacy.
      An Episcopal ordination begins before the Divine Liturgy, when the
      bishop-elect, vested in an epitrachelion and phelonion and carrying the Holy
      Gospel, is escorted by two deacons through the Royal Doors to the center of the
      Solea. There the Archbishop and his concelebrant Hierarchs are seated on their
      thrones, facing the Sanctuary. The bishop-elect opens the Holy Gospel and reads
      a document containing his Confession of Faith. to ensure the Orthodoxy of his
      belief. He at first professes the Nicean-Constantinopolitan Creed, then receives
      the blessing of his consecrating bishops. He returns again to the Solea where he
      continues his profession of faith by promising to adhere to the decisions of the
      Ecumenical councils and to honor and in no way alter – neither dogmas nor
      traditions, but adhere to them and teach them to his divinely chosen flock.
      After receiving the hierarchs' blessing a second time, he completes his
      profession of faith by promising to maintain the unity of peace in the church
      and to be free from any evil intentions and by pledging his obedience to the
      ruling Patriarch or First Hierarch of his diocese. Finally, he receives the
      blessing once again of the assembled hierarchs and presents his signed
      profession of faith to his consecrating bishop.
      During the Divine Liturgy, after the Trisagion the bishop-elect kneels before
      the Holy Table, touching his forehead to it while the Gospel Book is opened and
      laid, with the writing down, upon his neck. All of the consecrating bishops
      place their hands on the Gospel and say the Prayer of Consecration, during which
      the Holy Spirit descends upon the new bishop and imparts the grace of the
      episcopate upon him. The bishop is then clothed in the vestments of a bishop and
      presented to the people. The ancient participation of the laity in the
      consecration of bishops is retained in their triple acclamation of Axios ("He is
      worthy") at the time the omophorion is placed on the new bishop's shoulders.
      According to the Canon 1 of the Apostolic Canons, the consecration of a
      bishop must be accomplished by three or more bishops.
      After his consecration, if he is elected to be a ruling bishop of a diocese,
      he is formally enthroned (installed) as the ruling bishop by the senior
      (consecrating) bishop. The enthronement usually takes place at the end of the
      consecration liturgy.
      The consecrating bishop leads the newly ordained bishop through the Royal
      Doors to to the congregation and then bestows upon him the final liturgical
      items associated with episcopacy. With the bestowal of each liturgical item he
      exclaims: Axios! (He is worthy!)
      The congregation responds each time, "Axios! Axios! Axios!" (He is
      The Archbishop presents him with the Pastoral Staff, the emblem of Episcopal
      authority that the Church entrusts to him, saying:
      Receive this Staff to shepherd the flock of Christ entrusted to you. To
      the obedient let it be a help and a support. With it, lead the disobedient and
      the wayward to admonishment and instruction
      The newly ordained bishop is led by the bishops to his Episcopal Throne where
      he pronounces the final blessing of the Divine Liturgy, to which the faithful
      respond Eis Polla Eti Despota – Many Years Master!
      Click Here To View Complete
      Text of the Episcopal Consecration Service For His Grace, Bishop Gregory of
      Nyssa With Explanatory Annotations.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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