at SS. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church, in Jersey City, New Jersey. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah presided, and was joined by several members of the OCA Holy Synod of Bishops: His Eminence, Archbishop NATHANIEL of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate; His Eminence, Archbishop SERAPHIM of Ottawa and Canada; His Grace, Bishop NIKON, of Boston, New England, and the Albanian Archdiocese; His Grace, Bishop TIKHON of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania; His Grace, Bishop BENJAMIN of San Francisco and the West; and His Grace, Bishop MELCHISEDEK of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. Also participating from the Antiochian Archdiocese were His Grace, Bishop THOMAS of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic; and His Grace, Bishop MARK of Toledo and the Midwest. Also present was His Beatitude, Metropolitan THEODOSIUS (Retired) of All America and Canada. Over a thousand clergy and faithful from all over the country packed SS. Peter and Paul Church to witness the consecration, and countless others were present by way of their prayers, a testimony to the number of lives that Bishop MICHAEL has touched. Two buses brought a large constituency of seminarians and families from St. Tikhon's. It was again very fitting that Bishop Michael's first act as a hierarch was to ordain two of his students, Deacon Danial Doss to the Holy Priesthood, and Seminarian Thaddeus Franta to the Holy Diaconate. This joy flowed forth again the next day, Sunday, May 9,
as Bishop Michael ordained another Seminary alumnus, Subdeacon John Diamantis (Class of 2007) to the Holy Diaconate, just prior to His Grace’s formal enthronement and ascent to the cathedra of his Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection in New York City. There was a sense of fulfillment in the fact that Bishop Michael, who as a priest had nurtured and guided so many vocations, was now the one laying hands, becoming a vessel of Grace, for the ordaining of those called to serve as clergy in Christ's vineyard.
“The Church is not about me; it’s about Christ... It’s not about you, it’s about everyone else, together, as the Body of Christ, for one another's salvation.”
At the conclusion of Bishop Michael's acceptance address at the banquet held in his honor on the day of his consecration, he spoke the simple and powerful words that seminarians at St. Tikhon's have often heard in class, in sermons, and in moments of personal counsel with Vladyka Michael. He said, “The Church is not about me; it’s about Christ... It’s not about you, it’s about everyone else, together, as the Body of Christ, for one another's salvation.” His humble message of true Christian leadership and conciliarity has always been at the center of Vladyka Michael's instruction and formation of seminarians. Perhaps this is what has made this
journey through what was a very special year at St. Tikhon's so filled with joy, even in the midst of our sadness at the loss of “Father Michael.” We know that the inspiration and support that we have received in our vocations as seminarians, the love for Christ and His Church that is so infectious in Vladyka Michael's words and actions, will now have the opportunity to spread further, into his diocese, and to the greater Orthodox Church in North America. Throughout this year, Vladyka Michael's immediate response to anyone who would congratulate him or ask questions about his future life in the episcopacy was a simple, “please pray for me.” Let us, members of the St. Tikhon's community, who have received so much from Vladyka's tireless service during his years at the Seminary, remember always to pray for him, that the Lord might grant His mercy, grace, and strength upon His servant, the Right Reverend Michael, Bishop of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey.
Eis Polla Eti, Despota! 51
The Tikhonaire from 2010