Holy Synod celebrates Divine Liturgy at seminary chapel, issues anniversary proclamation

13 November 2019 • Yonkers, NY

On Wednesday, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) gathered at St. Vladimir’s Seminary (SVOTS) for an eventful and momentous day, celebrating Divine Liturgy for the Feast of Saint John Chrysostom at Three Hierarchs Chapel; announcing the fiftieth anniversary celebrations of the autocephaly of the OCA and the canonization of St. Herman of Alaska; and commemorating the seventh anniversary of the election of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon.

The Divine Liturgy marked a historic occasion in the life of the Seminary.

“This is the first time the Seminary chapel was blessed by the presence of the entire Holy Synod at the same Liturgy, and for that we are most thankful,” said Archpriest Chad Hatfield, president of SVOTS.

During the Divine Liturgy, Hieromonk Andrei (Hoarste)who was recently made bishop-elect of Cleveland of the Romanian Episcopate—was elevated to the rank of archimandrite. The other bishop-elect announced by the Synod the day prior, Archimandrite Alexis (Trader) was also present at Wednesday’s Divine Liturgy.

At the Liturgy’s conclusion, His Eminence, Archbishop Michael of New York and New Jersey, secretary of the Holy Synod, read the proclamation of the Holy Synod announcing anniversary celebrations for the Canonization of Saint Herman of Alaska and the reception of the Tomos of Autocephaly—two foundational events in the history of the OCA.

“The autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in America provides a moment for all Orthodox Christians to celebrate,” His Eminence read. “The venerable Russian Orthodox Church gave the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in America with the hope that this Tomos and the autocephaly it gave ‘might serve the good’ of Orthodox Christians in North America.”

“The Orthodox Church in America remains committed to this good, the canonical normalization of our common ecclesial situation in North America, as a mandate. And it is to this good, the promise of the unity of all Orthodox Christians, we hope, but also, in these fractured times, we put forward as a reason for all the Orthodox Churches in North America to celebrate.”

Archbishop Michael announced the two anniversaries will be marked by three Divine Liturgies concelebrated by the Holy Synod and guest hierarchs and clergy: at the Memorial Day Pilgrimage at St. Tikhon’s Monastery, May 25, 2020; during the annual pilgrimage to Spruce Island, AK, August 9, 2020; and at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the Fall Regular Meeting of the Holy Synod on November 14, 2020.

Following the proclamation, the hierarchs, visiting clergy, seminarians, and members of the Seminary faculty, staff, and community sang “Many Years” in honor of the seventh anniversary of Metropolitan Tikhon’s election as the fifth primate of the Orthodox Church in America.

(Photos: Michael Sellas Photography)