OCA consecrates bishop for Albanian Archdiocese

Boston, September 18, 2023

The newly consecrated Bp. Nikodhim is on the left of Met. Tikhon. Photo: oca.org The newly consecrated Bp. Nikodhim is on the left of Met. Tikhon. Photo: oca.org     

On Saturday, September 16, hierarchs of the Orthodox Church in America celebrated the episcopal consecration of a new bishop for the autocephalous Church’s Albanian Archdiocese.

The previous hierarch, Archbishop Nikon, reposed in the Lord in September 2019. In October 2022, clergy and lay representatives of the Archdiocese, which consists of 11 parishes mainly scattered throughout New England, voted for Archimandrite Nikodhim (Preston) as their next hierarch. In April of this year, the OCA Holy Synod formally approved Fr. Nikodhim as Bishop-elect.

Photo: oca.org Photo: oca.org     

The consecration took place this weekend at St. George Cathedral in Boston. On Friday evening, the primate of the OCA, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of Washington led the hierarchs in a moleben of thanksgiving and the liturgical nomination and proclamation of a bishop.

On Saturday morning, the Divine Liturgy with the episcopal consecration was celebrated by Met. Tikhon together with six other OCA hierarchs: Their Eminences Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco, Archbishop Mark of Philadelphia, Archbishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh, Archbishop Irénée of Ottawa, Archbishop Michael of New York, and Archbishop Daniel of Chicago, and numerous priests and deacons, the OCA reports.

Before the Liturgy, Bishop-elect Nikhodim proclaimed the Nicene Creed and the Church’s Trinitarian and Christological doctrines and pledged to uphold the sacred canons and teachings of the Holy Fathers, and to preserve unity with his fellow hierarchs.

Photo: oca.org Photo: oca.org     

The Bishop-elect was consecrated as the newest hierarch of the Orthodox Church in America after the singing of the Trisagion in the Divine Liturgy.

Met. Tikhon offered a homily emphasizing the Christian. Calling to do nothing but the will of God the Father, as did Christ. He preached:

Jesus Christ is the perfect Image, the Seal, the Radiance of the Father: he does nothing of himself; he is from the Father, and all that the Father has is his, and all that is his comes from the Father.

Thus, when he came into the world, he did nothing but his Father’s will, and spoke nothing but his Father’s words.

This our calling, too.

This high calling applies foremost, and in a special way, to bishops, the shepherds and guides of the Church. This is the duty of the newly-ordained Bishop Nikodhim: to do nothing but the will of God and to speak nothing but the word of God.

When he received the monastic tonsure, he died, and his own will was buried with him under the black shroud of the monastic garb; now, he is filled with the charism of the episcopate. The space left behind by his buried will are now to be filled with the activity and word of God himself.

This is especially true when it comes to his words. A bishop is the mouthpiece of God, the voice of Christ. To him is entrusted the apostolic preaching and the patristic and conciliar dogmas and the tradition of the saints. He must guard these jealously and share them freely, proclaiming the Gospel to the world and ruling over his flock in accordance with the divine words we have received through the saints. He is the leader and ruler of his people, the little ones, the precious souls for whom Christ died, and a chief steward of God’s treasures, the priceless pearl of the Gospel.

And emphasizing that this is the duty of all Orthodox Christians, not only the hierarchs, he concluded:

Therefore, let us all die to this dying world, to our fallen will, to our narrow ego, and let us live to God, in God, for God, through God, doing his works and speaking his words always and everywhere, living not for ourselves but for Christ and for our neighbor. This is life indeed.

If we live in this way, giving everything up to God, then our death will be no death, but a passage to life, a life that we are already living even while the world dies around us.

Photo: oca.org Photo: oca.org     

Following the Liturgy, Met. Tikhon congratulated the newly consecrated Bishop Nikodhim, welcoming him to the Holy Synod of Bishops of the OCA, and offered a word of edification:

Christ has called you to follow him, to feed his sheep and to pasture his lambs. This is an impossibly high calling, and yet for those who discharge the duties of this sublime ministry with faithfulness, care, courage, and zeal, it is can be an incomparable crucible of sanctity.

Of course, the standard to which all bishops aspire is that of Christ himself, and after him, that of the holy hierarchs whom we venerate in the Church…

This mission of the Church is your mission as a bishop of the Church. You are called to govern your flock in accordance with all the traditions of the Church, but this government is a means, not an end. This government is always oriented towards ordering the Church well so that the Gospel may be preached, the nations might be called, and the people of God might achieve sanctity and salvation, the holy destiny for which mankind is made.

Met. Tikhon then presented Bp. Nikodhim with his episcopal staff, and the new hierarch blessed the flock entrusted to him.

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