The Serbian Orthodox Church is celebrating the 800th anniversary of autocephaly this year, and has been holding local celebrations here in North America throughout 2019. On Saturday, November 2, at the invitation of His Grace, Bishop Irinej, Archpriest Alexander Rentel, Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, represented His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon at the Diocese of Eastern America’s celebration of the anniversary at the Cathedral of Saint Sava, Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Serbian Orthodox Church was granted autocephaly in the year 1219 by Ecumenical Patriarch Manuel I.
The Dioceses of Western America, and of Mid-America held similar celebrations over the summer at which Metropolitan Tikhon was represented by His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco, and His Grace, Bishop Paul of Chicago respectively.
Earlier this year Metropolitan Tikhon sent a congratulatory message for the anniversary to His Holiness, Patriarch Irinej. In that letter Metropolitan Tikhon celebrated the close bonds shared between the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church in America, particularly through the 20th century saints Tikhon of Moscow, Sebastian of Jackson, Saint Nikolaj of Zicha, and Mardarije of Libertyville. Reflecting on the collaboration among these holy men, Metropolitan Tikhon wrote, “My prayer is that, in imitation of the blessed Serbian-American saints, the common work of our two churches here in North America may continue to “grow with the increase that is from God” while we jointly “hold fast to the Head,” our one common Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:19).”
Metropolitan Tikhon, having visited Serbia in the past while he was the bishop of Philadelphia, has been invited by His Holiness, Patriarch Irinej to celebrate the consecration of the Cathedral of Saint Sava in Belgrade during the summer of 2020.