February 27, 2016
Our joy today is tremendous for the little flowers that began as young plants in London, and now, through a special grace of God, have become an aroma of sweet fragrance in different parts of the British Isles and Ireland.
Just as the Church started in Jerusalem and spread to the rest of the world, likewise this beloved Metropolis, which began in London with only a few refugee families, has been strengthened by God to grow in an ancient land, which has gifted Christianity with its own native-born saints throughout history.
This is how the Church of Antioch has grown little by little in Britain to bring us to this very special day: the celebration of the enthronement of its first Metropolitan. Truly, the whole Church cries out, “This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)
His Beatitude, our Father and Patriarch, the Most Blessed JOHN X, along with his brother Metropolitans, the members of the Holy Synod of the Church of Antioch, have become aware of the growth of your blessed Metropolis, God’s providence over it, and your pious guardianship of the Orthodox Faith. It seemed good to them through the Holy Spirit for this Metropolis to become complete and therefore they elected one of our best priests to become her chief shepherd.
Today we gather together rejoicing in him and in you. On behalf of His Beatitude, our beloved Patriarch and the Holy Synod of the Church of Antioch, I congratulate you on your new chief shepherd and offer our blessings and prayerful best wishes.
My beloved brother Silouan, we desired you to be in these blessed lands amidst these pious and God-loving people, because of what we know about your zeal in spreading the word of God, your compassionate embrace of the people of Christ, your simple and ascetic way of life, and your focus on “the one thing that is needful, which shall never be taken away from you.”
Take charge of your flock today and lead it to the pastures of salvation. Evangelize, preach, and teach, because the people are in need of the word of Christ.
You are called to work to bring Christ back into a land that has in many ways drifted far from Him, and to souls that have gone astray from His path.
Your blessed commission is not going to be easy. But the Lord of the Church Who has shepherded you from your youth, and laid you close to His breast, will be with you and will never desert you.
And you, the people of this God-protected Metropolis, who through your efforts and love have become worthy to have a father, have gained one of the best fathers.
Stand by his side and work with him, with a mind open to every good work that will benefit this vineyard. You are the image of your Mother Church of Antioch which has over its history taken to her bosom many nations, and made them one in Christ.
You are called to ensure the continuity of the inclusive character of the Church of Antioch, and the harmony of her children regardless of their varied backgrounds. This Church, which has kept the faith Orthodox, and remained through the grace of God loyal to its Lord, is called to continue carrying her message to all people.
By cooperating with our Orthodox Sister Churches and building bridges to the other confessions of this hospitable country, especially the Church of England, you can raise the proclamation of the resurrection, for this land that used to be called a Christian nation needs desperately to hear again this message and to enter into the experience of its joy.
Be assured that your task with your dignified shepherd is nothing less than the salvation of the world.