by His Eminence Archbishop Hilarion of Sydney and the Diocese of
Australia and New Zealand on the 20th Anniversary of His Archpastoral
Your Excellency, Dear
Greatly respected General
Consul, George Davidovich!
Dear brothers, sisters
and children in Christ!
I wish to thank all
of you here today with all of my heart, and for all the greetings
and good wishes you expressed here today.
I feel that today's
anniversary celebratin is not so much a date in my life or my Episcopal
service, but it is a milestone of the 20-year period in the history
of our Russian Church Abroad of which I was a witness and participant.
Twenty years is not
such a long period of time, but these years comprise one generation
of human life, and over this time, a great many events took place,
joyful and sorrowful, in personal lives, in world history and the
history of the Church.
For everything I have
lived through, I give profound thanks to the Lord God, for His great
mercy towards me, an unworthy sinner, over the course of my life.
He is the source of our existence, our Creator, Providor, Chief
Pastor and Savior. Glory and honor to him for ever and ever!
It is with a feeling
of gratitude that I remember those archpastors, priests, monastics
and pious laypersons who served as examples and images of the good
Christian life. I was fortunate to serve as a bishop under the spiritual
leadership of three First Hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church
Outside of Russia, under Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky, _1985)
of blessed memory, under the now-retired Metropolitan Vitaly and
under our present First Hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus.
Upon the archpastoral
path that lay before me I always tried, and continue to try to be
guided by the example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who before
the Last Supper washed the feet of His disciples and said: __: "[W]hosoever
will be great among you, let him be your minister and whosoever
will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son
of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give
his life a ransom for many." (Matth. 20:26-28). By this He
showed his lofty example of service to one's neighbor, and humility.
Episcopal service is
apostolic service, the service of high priest, the service of looking
over the church flock, and for this reason is carries a great deal
of responsibility and is very difficult. At trying moments of service,
I often remember the words of Metropolitan Philaret, addressed to
me as he imparted to me the eiscopal staff on the day of my consecration.
This was December 10th, 1984, on the feastday of the Kursk-Root
Icon of the Mother of God. He spoke of the lofty significance of
episcopal service, and of the difficulties that will doubtless accompany
such a task. But Metropolitan Philaret encouraged me with the words:
"The Holy Spirit places His elect upon the height of episcopal
service not to simply abandon him there. No, He will always, with
the strength of His Grace, support His faithful servant. And this
grace-filled help was always necessary for those who occupy this
lofty place of service in the Church, and now, of course, more than
These words always console
me during the rough patches in my archpastoral life, and instill
within me hope for God's help. I palpably sense this assistance,
and find the needed strength to bear the heavy burden of episcopal
The Lord showed me a
great mercy when, after 12 years of service in America at the Synodal
Administration of our Church, He sent me, in 1996, to serve in Australia
and New Zealand. This is my first and only diocese, to which I was
granted the duties of ruling bishop. The years before this, spent
as a vicar bishop, that is, an assistant to the ruling bishop, gave
me the needed knowledge and experience.
I cannot fully express
the feeling of joy and satisfaction that I am here with all of you,
in this diocese, so dear to my heart. I wish all of you great and
wealthy mercies from our Lord Jesus Christ. I ask your holy prayers
and invoke God's blessing upon you.
Thanks to all those
who labored so to organize today's celebration: Fr Michael Boikov
and his assistants, and also the magnificent choir, which have spent
several months of hard work preparing the concert. A great thanks