His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, opened the Spring Session of the Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America at Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington, NY on Wednesday, February 13, 2019. On Thursday, February 14, Metropolitan Tikhon celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Chancery’s Saint Sergius of Radonezh Chapel, marking the 15th Anniversary of his consecration to the episcopacy.
At the conclusion of the Liturgy, His Eminence, Archbishop Michael offered greetings to Metropolitan Tikhon on his anniversary.
“Your Beatitude, today is the fifteenth anniversary of your consecration to the episcopacy,” Archbishop Michael said. “We all share in this special day with you as the Church. Some of us were there when you were consecrated, as we prayed that the Divine Grace would fill you, and we sang “Lord have mercy,” and we proclaimed “axios!” Many of us were there with joy for this next step in your ministry. We had seen you as a faithful monk, a dedicated priest, and a special archimandrite. There was also the hope that you would be a part of a renewal of our Church at a time when it was necessary. There were some dark clouds.
“We watched you as you served as the auxiliary to the Archbishop of Philadelphia, and then yourself becoming the ruling bishop and archbishop of the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania, and finally your election as the Primate of our Church,” Archbishop Michael continued. “Of all the memories I have of those events, I remember the comparison that was made to you and your patron, Saint Tikhon of Moscow. When he was chosen to become the Patriarch of the Church of Russia, after many years of there not being a patriarchate, it was announced that the Holy Spirit had chosen the most loving bishop for the Primatial See. On this day that the world celebrates romantic love, we celebrate your service of steadfast love—self-sacrificing, selfless, humble love—for Christ and His Church, and for the bishops, clergy, and faithful of our Church, that you now live your life to serve in the name of the great High Priest.
“The clouds that once loomed over us have given way to bright sun and a new era because of your labors, and those who labor with you, that you encourage, support, and pray for every day,” Archbishop Michael added. “As we sing “many years” for you, we remember those words: “Axios! Axios! Axios!,” and truly proclaim that because of your steadfast love. Love is the mark of the first of the apostles: “Peter, do you love me,” Jesus asked. And as He asks that same question of you, we know the answer. We have seen the answer. We thank God for the answer.
“May God give you many years of service to our Church,” Archbishop Michael concluded. May you continue to lead us in the direction of the heavenly kingdom, and continue to do it with wisdom, hard work, humility, and especially, with your love. God bless you, and may He keep you for many, many blessed years!”
Sessions will continue through Friday, February 15.
A video of Archbishop Michael’s greeting is available on the OCA Facebook page.
Photo credit: Subdeacon Roman Ostash