Alumnus Archimandrite Warsonofiusz (Varsonufry) Ordained Bishop of Siemiatycze, Poland

Author: 
Mat. Deborah Belonick

On Sunday, October 8, 2017, in the Orthodox Church of Ss. Peter and Paul in the city of Siemiatycze, a historic event for the Orthodox regional community as well as the entire Orthodox Church in Poland occurred. Archimandrite Warsonofiusz (Doroszkiewicz), became Bishop of Siemiatycze. His was the first episcopal ordination in the 586-year-old history of the parish.

Archimandrite Warsonofiusz (then Fr. Basil Doroszkiewicz) graduated from St Vladimir's with a Master of Theology degree in May 1987. His thesis was "The Problem of Unification of the Easter Orthodox Chalcedonian and Oriental Orthodox Non-Chalcedonian Churches."

On the eve of October 7, the new bishop, who is under the omophorion of His Eminence Metropolitan Sava, met with the Holy Council of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in Poland. First, the decision made by the Holy Council of Bishops of Church on August 24, 2017, regarding the appointment of Archbishop of Warsonofiusz as the Bishop of Siemiatycze was read. A service of thanksgiving (Molieben) followed, and then Archimandrite Warsonofiusz addressed the worshippers:

Your Eminence Wladysko, and Fathers, Your Excellencies!
With great emotion and inner fear, I stand before your Eminence and wise archpriests who gathered in this temple. My anxiety is to you, a spiritually experienced bishop, who knows and understands.
In accordance with the decision of the Holy Council, I was chosen to accept, through the chancellery of the great, saintly, and awakening of the service of the Archbishopric. The merciful God calls me to a new, heavenly and very responsible ministry.
How can I answer this decision of our Orthodox Church? First and foremost, I confess to you with all my heart the extreme unworthiness and human impotence. As the Apostle Paul says, "I shall not glory for myself, except of my weakness" (2 Cor 12.5). Understanding my unworthiness and the depth of the episcopal service disturbs me and confuses my sinful soul.
At the beginning of my monastic life I promised obedience to the Holy Church. So today I can once again testify my readiness to follow this path. With full humility I accept the will of God, the decision of Your Eminence, the Council of Bishops of our Orthodox Church, and enter the new path of the Archbishop's ministry.
Looking back on my life’s path, I can continually thank God for everything I have experienced and received from life. For the multiple mercies I did not deserve. Thank you for the people who God has sent to me, who have solidified and taught me. After graduating from high school I decided to join the Warsaw Seminary. To this day, my venerable teachers, such as Fr. Mikołaj Lenczewski, Sr., Mikołaj Sendulski, Piotr Domańczuk, Ks. Vyacheslav Rafalski, and Fr. Athanasius Semeniuk. In 1976 our seminary was moved to the monastery of St. Onufrego in Jabłeczna. This was my first meeting with the Orthodox monastery, at which time the vicar and rector of the seminary was Archimandrite Sava, the present Metropolitan of our Orthodox Church.
In 1979 God again brought me to the monastery of St. Onufrego, but already in the role of a monk. The monastery became my spiritual haven, where under my Wladysko’s direction I began to learn the monk's life.
Years spent in the seminary and the Christian Theological Academy gave me the opportunity to start exploring theology. With the blessing of our clergy authorities I continued to study theology abroad.
In those days, I had the opportunity to learn and gain spiritual wisdom, and knowledge and life experience, from the great fathers of the Orthodox Church. Protopresbyter John Meyendorff expounded the mysteries of patristic theology in front of me. Father Alexander Schmemann deepened my liturgical knowledge.
Divine Providence also directed me to Greece. God has allowed me many times to go to the Holy Mountain of Athos, where I had the opportunity to meet the great old Paisius the Hagrid and other wise monks. Their ascetic life has become for me a living and true testimony of the action of Divine Providence and the endless love of God to man. Their activities confirmed me on the belief that a true monk should reject his own will and stay in constant prayer.
I also recollect fond memories when I return to my time in the Warsaw seminary. Therefore, I cordially greet all of my colleagues and graduates who are currently engaged in pastoral work in our Orthodox Church.
With great pleasure and joy, I tried to fulfill the duties entrusted to me by your Eminence in the established monastic community in the Sakas. Under the protection and patronage of the great martyr and miracle worker Dmitri Solovinski, I devoted myself to the service of the local parish and the monastic fold. I was fortunate enough to pray, and to create a community in this sacred place for almost ten years. Thanks to these years, I gained invaluable pastoral experience in contact with our faithful.
With the blessing of your Eminence, I dedicate my humble work to the good of our Orthodox Church. Under the care of the Supra Icon of the Mother of God and with the active help of the governors of Lavra and the brothers there, I was able to deal with all this.
You too, Wladysko, sent me three times to the Holy Land, where I could experience the great miracle: the descent of the Holy Fire. It was a special blessing and happiness that will remain in my heart and soul for the rest of my life.
I think back to my childhood. I cannot but remember my dear parents today, Wlodzimierz and Helena. They are the seed of love for our Orthodox faith. They were the true heroes of the spirit and servants of the Church of Christ. I give them my low obeisance.
Greatly contributing to the process of my development and close to my heart is the late Archpriest Athenazy Semeniuk. His boundless love for the people serves me as an example of pastoral service. I will always remember his instruction and guidance as a humble and good shepherd.
All my life and all the events in it were filled with spiritual contact and saving me wisdom from each of today's bishops. Distinguished Archbishops and Fathers, all of you are dear to my heart, thank you for the help and support you have shown me in difficult times.
Your Eminence! I would especially like to thank you for the honor and the choice of me as Bishop of our highly knowledgeable Orthodox Church. You, as a wise and loving Father, have looked after me, directed me and raised me unworthy—and here I am—I am sinful standing before you, and I only dare hope for your archpastoral prayers so that I may carry the cross worthily and properly. Church of Christ, hope in me.
Divine Providence decided that my ordination fell on the day of the memory of the great St. Sergius of Radonezh. He is also a patron of the Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris, where I also studied.
Before his death St. Sergius instructed his disciples: "Brothers, take care of yourself. First of all, have the fear of God, the purity of the soul, and the undying love. " These words speak to me— as a newly elected bishop —with a loud echo and as a main motto.
We pray to you, the Blessed One, the Most Merciful Archbishops and Pastors of Christ, the Orthodox monks living on our earth and those carrying on their monastic work on Holy Mount Athos, and all of the monks in this temple today; the heavens and the Advocate, and especially to St. Sergius of Radonezh, for I am very sinful and weak.
Pray for the descent of the Holy Spirit on me, who am unworthy and sinful. I ask for intercession and support so that I can serve God and our Orthodox people in a dignified and impeccable manner.

[photo credit: Official Website of the Orthodox Church of Poland]