SAN FRANCISCO: September 8, 2008
Metropolitan Hilarion’s Sermon At the Reception Honoring the Consecration of Bishop Theodosius of Seattle
Your Eminences, Your Graces, Honorable Fathers, Mr. Consul, beloved-in-Christ brothers and sisters:
Thanks be to God, the Father and Son and Holy Spirit, for this great and holy day! Today we have an indescribably joy, on this special, exceptionally happy and bright Sunday.
Our joy is manifested in many things! Today we have been visited by the great holy icons of the Orthodox Church, especially close to the heart of each Orthodox Christian: the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God; the new Myrrh-streaming Iveron-Hawaiian Icon of the Mother of God, whose streaming myrrh we are witnessing before our eyes; the kamilavka of the great podvizhnik of the Russian Church of the 20th century, the righteous St John of Kronstadt the Miracle-worker, the hundredth anniversary of whose death we mark this year. Let us not forget that the Cathedral of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow” contains the righteous relics of the saint of the Russian diaspora, St John of Shanghai and San Francisco the Miracle-worker, who is an intercessor before the Lord for all of us faithful children of the Russian Church Abroad. Here also is the belt of St John of Kronstadt.
These holy things by their mere presence witness the unusual greatness of Orthodox Christianity and of the Truth—which is Christ.
Our joy is great also because today, a new brother has joined the episcopal family of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia—His Grace Bishop Theodosius of Seattle, who during his first hierarchal Liturgy made his own first ordination, that of Subdeacon Philip to the deaconate.
We are happy that His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill and the Western American Diocese have acquired for themselves a most worthy helper in the harvest fields of Christ. “The harvest is great but the laborers are few,” said the Savior to His disciples, and our Russian Church Abroad today feels especially keenly this need for zealous laborers, conscientious and theologically-trained pastors and archpastors, who can provide spiritual guidance and skillfully lead people upon the path towards salvation.
Each pastor must be able to give the correct, edifying answer to those who ask, to preserve even unto death the purity of the Holy Orthodox Faith and protect his flock from the snares of the devil, which devours souls and lead to eternal death.
“Tend my sheep,” said the Savior to Apostle Peter after he thrice confessed his faith. And so do we, by beloved ones, together witness the triple confession of the faith of the newly-consecrated Vladyka Theodosius, who has embarked today upon the apostolic service.
With all my heart I congratulate His Grace Vladyka Theodosius with his receiving the grace of the episcopal rank and we wish that the Lord God grant him great and bountiful mercies, giving him wisdom, sagacity, and strength in his lofty archpastoral service as a successor to the Holy Apostles.
We also congratulate Deacon Philip, for whom this day is special in its own way, and also I congratulate all the reverend fathers who were deemed worthy to receive church awards from the selfless service to the Holy Church.
Many good years to you all!