New primate of Japanese Church enthroned

Tokyo, October 23, 2023

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The new primate of the autonomous Japanese Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate was enthroned in Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Tokyo yesterday.

His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk, the head of the Department for External Church Relations, represented the Russian Church in the enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim, formerly the hierarch of Sendai. They were joined by clerics from throughout Japan, reports

Met. Seraphim was elected the next primate of the Japanese Church on September 29, following the repose of His Eminence Metropolitan Daniel, who had led the Church for 23 years.

The Divine Liturgy with the enthronement was celebrated in Japanese, Church Slavonic, and English.

At the Small Entrance, the chancellor of the Japanese Church, Archpriest Mark Koike, read the resolution of the Council of the Japanese Church of September 28 on the election of Abp. Seraphim of Sendai as Metropolitan of Tokyo and All Japan. Met. Anthony of Volokolamsk then read out the decree of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill on the canonical approval of the election.

Following the singing of the Trisagion, Met. Anthony proclaimed:

The Divine grace, which always heals that which is infirm and fills up that which is lacking, and ever working His providence for the His Holy Orthodox Churches, places our father Seraphim, His Eminence the Archbishop of the God-saved city of Tokyo and Metropolitan of All Japan upon the throne of the Holy Hierarch Nikolai of Japan, in the name of the Father. Amen. And the Son. Amen. And the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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During the repeated singing of “Axios,” two of the oldest clerics of the Japanese Church, Archpriest Mark Koike and Archpriest Pavel Oikawa, placed Met. Seraphim on the episcopal throne thrice, after which Met. Anthony placed two Panagia and a cross on him—gifts from Pat. Kirill.

At the end of the Liturgy, Met. Anthony presented Met. Seraphim with the blue metropolitan mantia, a white klobuk, and the primate’s staff. The DECR chairman then read out the congratulatory address of Pat. Kirill and presented Met. Seraphim with episcopal vestments.

In response, Met. Seraphim expressed his gratitude to Pat. Kirill for his paternal care for the Japanese Church and thanked Met. Anthony for his participation in the service. He also spoke about the importance of preserving the unity of the Japanese Church with the Russian Church.

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Following the service, a festive reception was held.


His Eminence Met.. Seraphim was born on March 23, 1951, in Akita City, Akita Prefecture. He was baptized into holy Orthodoxy in 1987.

From 1987 to 1990, he studied at the Tokyo Orthodox Seminary. He was ordained to the diaconate in October 1989, and to the priesthood in August 1991. He was appointed the inspector of the Tokyo Seminary.

He was tonsured as a monastic on August 20, 1999. He was elevated to the rank of Igumen on September 6, 1999, and to archimandrite on January 9, 2000.

He was consecrated as the Bishop of Sendai on January 15, 2000. On July 8, 2012, he was elevated to the dignity of archbishop. The Council of the Japanese Orthodox Church held July 6-7, 2019, awarded him the title of Vicar of Tokyo.

He was elected locum tenens of the Japanese primatial throne on August 11, 2023, the day following the repose of His Eminence Metropolitan Daniel. He was elected as the next Metropolitan of Japan on September 28.

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