Creation and Created in Orthodox Understanding - 03/06/14
The following lecture was given by His Grace Bishop DAVID at the General Conference of the Yukon Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church, USA, held in Wasilla, Alaska on Saturday, March 1, 2014. In connection with His Grace's involvement in PLUME, (the Judicatory Board in Anchorage, Alaska), responding to the EPA report on the proposed Pebble Mine. The adverse impact of the the proposed mine on the subsistence lifestyle of Native Alaskan's has become a major catalyst in the proclamation of the Orthodox Church's understanding of mankind's responsibility to care and preserve the very environment which sustains us.
Today, I would like to give you three references that should help you to understand what we in the Orthodox Church feel is our responsibility for care of the earth. It is a position that The Church has held for centuries, it is indicated in the teachings of some of the earliest Church Fathers, and in light of the recent attention given the environment, it has again taken a prominent position in the discussion of our call to be good Stewards of all we are given to care for, our churches, our families, our neighbors and our environment.
In the book of Genesis, after God had finished creating everything, He spoke to man and said, And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” [Gen. 1:28] Now there will be some who will point to the “subdue” as the primary directive of this verse, and believe that God implied for man to be conquerors of this new creation. According to Strong’s, the word [kavash] translated as subdue, has the connotation we would expect, in fact it even implies “take under bondage” as if the earth is meant to serve our every whim.
But the first word of command in the verse is the word “fill”, again with a standard connotation to many that would imply a progenitor and his progeny occupying space on the earth. The problem is that this is not the most accurate understanding of the word in this case. The Hebrew word [male] means “to consecrate, to fill the hand”, an indication that man was given a responsibility to take this creation and do something with it that would dedicate it back to God. Adam was put in charge because of his likeness, his God-like image that no other creature in creation, not even the angels, were capable of doing.
This is the first and, if you will, prime directive that God gave to man. In our theology, we are so caught up in the transgression of the eating of the forbidden tree, we forget the only other command that man was given by his Creator; that of being responsible for and caring for, all the earth and all its inhabitants. The command not to eat does not come for some twenty more verses, and considering there were no divisions of Scripture until a much later time, I believe it makes this an even more significant point. The command to consecrate comes in the first creation story, the command to not eat comes in the second one. In both versions of the Creation Story, Adam is given the deciding and primary role, this earth was created for him to care for, to be a good steward of, and to make progress towards his role in relation to his creator. The fall would change almost all of that, and yes, I said almost all, but not all. This brings us to our second Scripture reference, Psalms.
In Psalm 104, a description of the purpose of all creation, we find verse 28 referencing man in this way, “Man goes out to his work and to his labor until the evening.” What is his work and his labor? Is this merely a reference to the fact that he has to work so he can have something to eat? Is it a veiled reference to the fall and man’s hard labor to make the ground yield for him, as compared to the fact that God provides for all other creatures in the Psalm? I suppose it could be, but let us look at it in a little greater detail. The phrase “his work” uses the Hebrew word [po’al], also a a reference to a deed, an acquisition (as of treasure); his labor uses the Hebrew word [abodah], a service (of God). So let us try to rephrase this verse and couch it in more terms to benefit our creation Theology, so now we should say, “Man goes to his deed, his treasured acquisition that God gave him, he goes to his service to God, his work of caring, until the evening.” Does this help us understand our relationship to the environment a little better? I hope so, and now to top it all off, here is the capstone, the paradigm of Grace for good environmental Stewardship, the words of Christ, Himself.
When our Lord went to be Baptized by John in the Jordan, John looks at him bewildered and asks this question, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” [Matt. 3:14] “But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.” [Matt. 3:15] This is a most curious phrase without our previous discussion, is it not? We need to separate the phrase “fulfill all righteousness into two parts. The first part, fulfill, is a translation of the Greek word [plearoo], and again we find ourselves looking for a fuller meaning to this word. In this case, we should be thinking in terms of “to bring to realization” or “to render full”. After the fall, we were left incomplete in many ways, as the Scriptures indicate. Crops would not grow without labor, animals developed antagonistic natures, the earth itself would buckle and heave at random, and the elements themselves could bring destruction and ruin to the work of man’s labor for his sustenance.
The second part of that phrase, “all righteousness” is perhaps the easiest to understand. This is to say, if we understand what righteousness is. What does this word actually mean? Can we agree on a common meaning? Its Greek word is [dikaiosynē] meaning, “state of him who is as he ought to be”. Too often we tend to underestimate the power of a word, or we get so accustomed to thinking about a word in a certain way that the power of its real meaning can become lost. We are always looking towards the lofty and high divine meaning of a word or phrase without realizing that it may have a more connected meaning to our own selves, and this is definitely one of those times.
Let’s try to re-state our Lord’s intention with this passage and say it in a more comprehensive way, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for you and I, John, to realization the fact that by doing this we will make possible for all mankind to return to a state as he ought to be, the way he was before his transgression.” That is what the Theophany of our Lord has done for us, his descending into the waters of Baptism rejuvenates the water so that all who follow Him into those waters can return to the state He intended them to be in for his created purpose of being enough like God to do the work he was intended to do, to care for, and to consecrate to God, His creation.
You may ask what proof do I have to say I’m right about this? That is a fair question, and again, we will find the answer in Holy Scripture. Everyone knows John 3:16, or at least we think we do (there’s another understanding of this verse we don’t have time to go into now, maybe if I’m invited back, I’ll speak to it), but what about the verse that follows it? What about John 3:17? For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” It may be assumed that the reference for world is simply the inhabitants of the world, but I think not. Here, the word for world is the Greek word [Cosmos], so the intention should be clear to all of us, God did not send His son to condemn his creation, He sent Him to save His creation. And God gave man the responsibility of continuing that Cosmic Salvation through his Sacramental interaction with his Creator. The Orthodox Church has taken this responsibility very seriously, it is why every year, on the Feast of Christ’s Theophany, His Baptism, we consecrate and sanctify water to use for blessing our homes, the rivers we use and receive our life from, our vehicles, and anything else we use made from God’s creation itself.
So it is imperative that we continue to be the caretakers and guardians of God’s creation, it is for this reason that He created us. The only question that remains is of our own Stewardship, shall we be good stewards, like those who the earth as a Sacred gift of God? Or shall we be as those who see the earth and its resources as existing for our own passionate, greedy self-satisfactions?
HIS GRACE BISHOP DAVID MEETS WITH DC OFFICIALS ABOUT PEBBLE MINE PROJECT - 02/25/14
On February 25, 2014; His Grace Bishop DAVID participated in a news conference sponsored by Creation Justice Ministries with the Bristol Bay area organizations fighting the Pebble Mine Project. The group also went to the William Jefferson Clinton Building complex to meet with the Administrator of the EPA, Gina McCarthy. Although she was unable to attend the meeting, her staff expressed her deep concern with this issue. People from Bristol Bay presented a large amount of petitions to the EPA asking for them to make a final decision on the mining project. Pictured with His Grace are members of the EPA who met with the delegation.
On February 26, 2014 His Grace will meet with Alaskan Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich and Alaskan Congressman Don Young. In addition he will meet with representatives of the National Park Service.
The proposed Pebble Mine will have an immense negative impact on the subsistence lifestyle of native Alaskans both in Bristol Bay and throughout the interior. A way of life that is a necessity for survival in the villages throughout the region, a way of life that Native Alaskan's have practised for thousands of years.
Metropolitan TIKHON calls for ongoing prayers - 03/05/14
His Beatitude, Metropolitan TIKHON, has asked that prayers for peace and justice in Ukraine continue with the following petition:
“Again we pray that the people of Ukraine and Russia be granted the wisdom, mutual respect and love which will protect them from violence and preserve them in peace.”
View the full article at www.oca.org
Bishop DAVID interview in the Daily Sitka Sentinel
Sterry David Mahaffey Jr. in St. Michael's Cathedral. (Sentinel Photo)
Article by Shannon Haugland of the Daily Sitka Sentinel
February, 22, 2014
The incoming Orthodox bishop for Sitka and all Alaska says he barely noticed the 15 below zero weather on his first visit to the Kuskokwim Delta from his home in the eastern U.S.
“Even though it was really cold, I didn’t notice it so much because the people were so warm,” said Sterry David Mahaffey Jr. “There was a warmth in the church that cold weather wouldn’t drive away. ... I thought, ‘Wow. This is really different.’”
Mahaffey, 61, will be installed Sunday as Bishop for the Diocese of Sitka and all Alaska in a ceremony that will draw the hierarchy in the Orthodox Church in America. They include Metropolitan Tikhon, Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada; Archbishop Benjamin, Archbishop of San Francisco and the West; Bishop Michael, Bishop of New York and New Jersey; Bishop Irineu, Bishop of Dearborn; and Bishop Irenee of Quebec City.
The celebration begins with vespers at 6 p.m. Saturday
at St. Michael’s Cathedral. At 8:50 a.m. Sunday
a formal procession will start from the Russian Bishop’s House on Lincoln Street to St. Michael’s Cathedral, where the hierarchical divine liturgy will begin at 9 a.m.
The installation banquet will start at 1 p.m. Sunday
at Centennial Hall. Mahaffey was consecrated this morning in St. Innocent Cathedral in Anchorage.
The public is invited to the events on Sunday
Mahaffey, has been serving as administrator and chancellor of the Alaska diocese since March 2013 and will continue to live in Anchorage. The post has been empty for five years, with another bishop serving as locum tenens.
Once Mahaffey is installed, and he is handed the historic staff of St. Innocent at the end of the liturgy Sunday
, he will be bishop for life.
Mahaffey and Archpriest Father Michael Boyle, dean of St. Michael’s Cathedral, spoke to the Sentinel recently about the upcoming installation ceremony on Sunday
Sitka, the historic capital of Russian America, is the location of the Bishop’s See, which is why the installation ceremony will take place here, Mahaffey said.
Mahaffey described his reaction to being named the next bishop of Alaska as “fearful.”
“Well, I’ve been running from this for a long time,” he said. He had previously been considered for the post of bishop for New York and New Jersey, and several other dioceses as well, but always felt another man was better for the job. When the Alaska position became available, he said, “I was told I would be getting a phone call.”
Mahaffey was selected by the diocese of Alaska at an election in 2012, and last October he was confirmed by the Holy Synod of Bishops in Syosset, N.Y.
He said he feels Alaska is a good fit for him because he enjoys the travel that’s involved covering the large diocese, and has enjoyed getting to know the people.
“I like the people ... People are down to earth, and in tune with nature, and live accordingly.”
Boyle said he and others in the state were pleased with the selection of Mahaffey to be bishop.
“It was almost a unanimous feeling of good will, good heart for Father David, and for him to be our bishop,” Boyle said. “That’s quite an accomplishment: for us to love this man, and he loves us.”
Boyle added that being an administrator is not the difficult part of the job.
“The bishop is ‘papa,’” Boyle said. “It’s not hard to be an administrator. He’s the heart. That’s what Father David is for us.”
Mahaffey was born in Altoona, Pa., and raised in Mahaffey, Pa., which was named after his ancestors, in the middle of the Allegheny Mountains.
“I grew up in the country, which is one of the reasons Alaska attracted me,” he said. “It has the same rural lifestyle.”
He graduated from Purchase Line High School in 1970, and went on to study at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He left school, got married and went to work as a mechanic for a coal company. After the company folded in 1987, he managed a car dealership.
He said he and his wife thought he would continue to work until retirement age, and then go to seminary.
“God had different plans,” Mahaffey said.
Mahaffey was born and raised in the Methodist faith, and became Orthodox when he was 23 in 1975. He and his wife, Karen, were very active in their Orthodox church.
“When I found Orthodoxy, I felt this is where I can worship God properly,” he said. He said he enjoyed the way the Orthodox worship engages “all the senses.”
He served as a deacon in the Orthodox church for 12 years before going to the Orthodox seminary in 1991, he said, “because my wife and I felt it’s what God wanted me to do.”
Mahaffey was ordained in the Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, Pa., in 1993 and served parishes in the eastern part of the state until he moved to Alaska in 2013. He has bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and theology from the University of Scranton and a master’s of divinity from St. Tikhon’s. During his time in Pennsylvania, he was an adjunct professor at Alvernia University, a Catholic college in Pennsylvania, as well as St. Tikhon’s.
His first Alaskan experience was in January 2012. He was sent to the village of Napaskiak in the Kuskokwim delta, where the mercury went to 15 below and he conducted services daily in the small church there. He said he was struck by the warmth and friendliness of the people, and enjoyed conducting services in the community of about 400.
Mahaffey said the religion is the same on both sides of the country, but there are many cultural differences. On the East Coast, parishioners are descended from immigrants from Eastern Europe who came to the U.S. more than 100 years ago. In Alaska, most of the parishioners are Alaska Natives whose faith goes back to the influx of Russian missionaries during the Russian America era.
“The Native church has its own wonderful characteristics and traditions,” Mahaffey said.
Mahaffey said he is looking forward to Sunday’s procession from the Russian Bishop’s House to St. Michael’s, when he will be walking in the footsteps of St. Innocent, who was the Russian Orthodox missionary priest Ivan Veniaminov when he came to Sitka in 1834. He was the first Orthodox bishop and archbishop in the Americas, and later became the Metropolitan of Moscow and all Russia. He was canonized in 1977.
At the end of the liturgy Sunday
, Mahaffey will be handed St. Innocent’s staff as the new bishop, which he said will be a great honor.
Those wanting to attend the installation banquet at 1 p.m. Sunday
should purchase tickets before the end of today by calling 747-8120, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Consecration of Bishop DAVID
Faithful from parishes and villages across Alaska and the dioceses of the Orthodox Church in America began arriving early at the spacious Saint Innocent Cathedral here on the morning of Friday, February 21, 2014 for the celebration of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, during which Bishop-Elect David [Mahaffey] was consecrated to the episcopacy as Bishop of Sitka and Alaska.
Over forty priests and deacons joined His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin; His Grace, Bishop Michael; His Grace, Bishop Ireneu; and His Grace, Bishop Irénée in welcoming His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon at the cathedral entrance. Joining them were the Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, Archpriest John Jillions and the Chancellor of the Diocese of Alaska, Archpriest Victor Nick.
Also present were Bishop-Elect David’s children, their spouses, and his granddaughter.
At the outset of the Liturgy, Father Jillions and Archdeacon Kirill Sokolov brought Bishop-Elect David before Metropolitan Tikhon and the bishops, seated in the center of the cathedral, where he read the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, followed by a detailed explanation of the Church’s Trinitarian and Christological doctrines. He then read his personal commitment to uphold the Church’s canons and the teachings of the Holy Fathers and to preserve unity with his brother bishops.
Referencing 2 Timothy 2:24-25, Bishop-Elect David proclaimed, “I will deal with the opponents of the Holy Church reasonably, uprightly and gently, as taught by the Apostle Paul, ‘for the servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome, but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, forbearing, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth.’ I promise to visit and watch over the flock which is now entrusted to me after the manner of the Apostles, so that they remain true to the Faith and true in the performance of good works. I will show special concern for the priests. I promise to inspect with diligence, to exhort and to restrain, in order that schisms, superstitions and unholy venerations and customs contrary to Christian teaching of piety and good morals may not arise or injure the Christian way of life.”
During the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Tikhon placed the open Gospel Book over Bishop-Elect David’s head as all five consecrating bishops place their hands upon it. The Metropolitan then proclaimed, “By the election and approbation of all the Venerable Bishops of the Holy Synod, the Grace Divine, which always heals that which is infirm and fulfills that which is lacking through the Laying-on-of-Hands, elevates you, most belovèd of God, Archimandrite David, to be the Bishop of Sitka and Alaska, which enjoys the protection of Almighty God…. O Lord our God Who, in that it is impossible for the nature of man to endure the Essence of the Godhead, in Thy Providence hast provided for us teachers of like nature with ourselves to maintain Thine Altar, that they may offer to Thee sacrifice and oblations for all Thy People. O Lord, make this man also, who has been proclaimed a steward of the Episcopal Grace, to be an imitator of Thee, Who art the True Shepherd, Who laid down Thy Life for Thy sheep. Grant that he will be a leader of the blind, a light to those in darkness, a reprover of the unwise, a teacher of the young, a lamp to the world. Grant also that he, having perfected the souls entrusted to him in this present life, may stand unashamed before Thy Throne, and that he may receive the great reward which Thou hast prepared for those who have fought with valor for the preaching of the Gospel.”
During the Divine Liturgy, Bishop David ordained Deacon Symeon Askoak to the priesthood. Newly ordained Father Symeon is from the village of Russian Mission and will be completing his studies at Saint Herman Seminary in May.
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Tikhon and the consecrating bishops, along with the clergy and faithful, venerated the Cross and greeted His Grace, Bishop David. The cathedral thundered with the singing of “Many years, O Master,” after which the clergy and faithful joyously sang traditional hymns in Yupik and Slavonic until everyone had the opportunity to receive Bishop David’s blessing and offer their personal congratulations.
Metropolitan Tikhon delivered the homily and offered an exhortation to Bishop David as he presented the newly consecrated bishop with the archpastoral staff. The texts of his homily and exhortation appear in their entirety below.
The Consecration Liturgy was streamed live on the OCA web site.
A photo gallery of the Divine Liturgy may be found on the OCA web site and Facebook page. Updates and additional galleries will be posted as they are received.
Metropolitan Tikhon’s Homily at the Consecration Divine Liturgy
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today is a day of great rejoicing for the Diocese of Alaska as we gather in this sacred Cathedral of Saint Innocent to participate in and witness the ordination of the Right Reverend David as the new Bishop for this diocese, the Mother Diocese of the Orthodox Church in America—the diocese which guards the relics, the teachings and the examples of so many of the inspired and great saints of North America.
On this day, we commemorate the leavetaking of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple, the Great Feast of the Church in which we honor both the Mother of God, whose womb was sanctified by the birth of her Son, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself Who, as we sing, “has now come to save us through love.”
At the same time, having entered into the period of the Lenten Triodion, we find ourselves in that time of the Church’s liturgical calendar during which we prepare ourselves to enter the season of Great Lent. As happens each year, the appointed scripture readings for the days preceding the Sunday of Forgiveness take us through the Gospel account of the Passion and Death of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
And so, in today’s Gospel reading, we have walked with our Lord to Golgotha, the place of a skull, where He was given wine mingled with myrrh to drink, where His garments were divided and lots cast, where He was crucified on the Cross and where, after having cried out with a loud voice, He breathed His last.
So we have today both a reminder of the Passion and Death of Christ and an expression of His divine love, through which He has saved us. This is indeed fitting for this day in the life of the Diocese of Alaska and in the life of the newly ordained Bishop David because, as we know so well and as we sing so often in the Church, “through the Cross joy has come into all the world.” Today, Bishop David and the clergy and faithful of this diocese receive the joy of the fullness of the Church: a bishop elected and appointed to be the Archpastor and High Priest to safeguard the unity, identity, integrity, unanimity, continuity, solidarity and harmony of the churches of this diocese.
This same joy was manifest in the amazement of the Centurion who, when he saw the manner in which the Lord died, said, “truly this Man was the Son of God!” This same joy was contained within the hearts of the women who stood, looking on from afar, wondering about that to which their following of and ministering to the Lord had led them. Their particular joy of each of these may have been hidden, buried under the immediate sorrow that seemed to overwhelm them, their eyes veiled to the truth that “through the Cross, joy has come into all the world.”
And yet the joy of the Lord was present in them, waiting to be released by the news of the third day Resurrection which would make clear to them that their Paschal joy was made possible through the pain and sorrow of the Cross. The intimate connection between the Cross and joy works both ways: Joy preserves us in the midst of the sorrow and temptations of life, while the Cross preserves our sobriety when we are filled with joy.
And so it is today, on this day of the Consecration of Bishop David, on this day in which the Diocese of Alaska receives a new shepherd, a new father, that our joy is also made stronger by the remembrance of the Cross and Death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, through which life and resurrection have been given to all of us.
How do we preserve the Cross and the joy of the Resurrection in a healthy balance? The Apostle John, in his second epistle which we heard today, writes to “the elect lady and her children” and reminds her, even pleads with her, as he reminds us and pleads with us not as though he wrote a new commandment, but “that which we had from the beginning: that we love one another.”
To preserve the joy of the Lord, to remain in the Truth of the Gospel, to give thanks for the unity and integrity of our local diocese, we need to love one another. This is a love that is simple, yet is based on our faithful and constant adherence to the commandments of Christ: “This is love, that we walk according to His Commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.”
It is the Bishop who, above all, is given this sacred task of guiding his flock to abide in the doctrine of Christ and to preserve the Truth of this doctrine through love, just as Saint John “loves in truth” the elect lady to whom he addresses his epistle. The Bishop offers his love to his clergy and his flock, just as he is supported by their prayers and their love for him.
The joy we feel today should be an inspiration for all of us, an inspiration to bear with courage the crosses that are placed upon us, to love one another and, as Saint Herman so piercingly reminds us, to love God above all every day, every hour and every minute.
May our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is going to His voluntary Passion in the flesh, strengthen us, encourage us and fill us with His love, so that we may walk with Him to the light of the Resurrection, the joy of life eternal, and the glory of the heavenly Kingdom. Amen.
Metropolitan Tikhon’s Exhortation to the newly consecrated Bishop David
It is a great blessing for all of us to be gathered here, from near and far, for this joyous event, to have served with so many clergy from the Diocese of Alaska, together with the faithful of the region, and to welcome the clergy and faithful of many of the dioceses of the Orthodox Church in America and other jurisdictions.
I am grateful to the members of the Holy Synod who have concelebrated with us today: His Grace, Bishop Michael of New York and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey; His Grace, Bishop Irénée of Quebec City, Administrator of the Archdiocese of Canada; and His Grace, Bishop Ireneu, of Dearborn Heights.
Especially, I would like to express, on behalf of the Holy Synod of Bishops, their sincere thanks to His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin, who has labored sacrificially and with great love for the clergy and people of Alaska during his time as Locum Tenens. I am sure that I speak for all the clergy and the faithful in expressing the deep appreciation for his willingness to serve, to bring the diocese to a place of stability and solidity, to a place where today’s event, the Consecration of a new father and Archpastor, Bishop David, was made possible.
To His Grace, the newly consecrated Bishop David, I offer these few words on behalf of the Holy Synod and all the clergy, monastics and faithful of the Orthodox Church in America: I wholeheartedly congratulate you on your consecration and enthronement as the ruling Bishop of the See of Sitka, and the Diocese of Alaska.
Through the mystery of the All-Holy Spirit and the laying on of hands, our Lord has bestowed on Your Grace the apostolic grace to strengthen you in your Episcopal labors. Your election and consecration come at a time when the faithful of Alaska are in great need of a good pastor and capable shepherd who knows his people, and is known by them.
There is much to do in this land, which received the Word of our God through the great missionary saints Innocent and Herman, and their companions, and through the sacrificial examples of the martyrs who shed their blood in this land. Chief amongst your concerns must be the training of young men and women who will become the future of the Orthodox Church here in Alaska, so that the love and missionary zeal of the entire Church may be kindled anew.
My dear brother, I pray that Our Lord will grant you good health and the plentitude of spiritual gifts so that you may, in peace and love, nourish the People of God and be a witness to all who are searching and seeking for the Truth as offered by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. From my heart I wish you inexhaustible energy, peace and joy as you undertake this awesome ministry as a Bishop of Christ’s Church.
To the clergy, especially the newly-ordained Priest Symeon, we offer our congratulations and deep gratitude for the great number of you who have come here today to serve with us and to participate in this great event. I exhort you to prayerfully and lovingly offer your love, support and encouragement to your new Archpastor, and to learn from him as he leads you and guides you in your pastoral ministries.
To the faithful of the diocese, I also ask you to offer your prayers for Bishop David, so that his ministry might truly bear fruit a hundredfold and that he, working together with all his clergy, may lead all of you in the direction of the heavenly Kingdom and into the glory of God.