Celebrating a saint, remembering his footsteps

Author: 
Mat. Deborah Belonick

Alumnus Archbishop Benjamin: Collegiate Division Program, ’78; M.Div., ’81; Certificate in Liturgical Music, ’80Alumnus Archbishop Benjamin: Collegiate Division Program, ’78; M.Div., ’81; Certificate in Liturgical Music, ’80On December 3, 2017, our alumnus, Archbishop Benjamin visited our campus. His Eminence is the archbishop of San Francisco and the West in the Orthodox Church in America and now presides at Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco. Currently four seminarians here at St. Vladimir’s hail from His Eminence’s Diocese.

His Eminence’s stay coincided with the 100th anniversary of the enthronement of Metropolitan Tikhon as Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus. Metropolitan Tikhon once presided in the same cathedral in which Archbishop Benjamin now presides.

Metropolitan Tikhon’s remarkable legacy included his extremely difficult labor as head of the Church of Russia from 1917, at the start of the Bolshevik Revolution, until his repose in 1925. It also included his earlier evangelical ministry as head of the Russian Orthodox Diocese in North America in the early twentieth century.

The Church of Russia glorified Metropolitan Tikhon as a saint in 1989, and Orthodox Christians of many jurisdictions in North America equally venerate him. During his tenure in North America, he envisioned a future Orthodox Church in the New World, that would include all the national Orthodox communities—Russian, Arabic, Greek, Serbian, Romanian, et cetera—united in one Archdiocese.

During his visit Archbishop Benjamin served the Divine Liturgy in Three Hierarchs Chapel and delivered a homily, reading the Salutatory Address offered by St. Tikhon on December 23, 1898, in San Francisco, upon his accession to the Episcopal See of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. (Read the entire text of St. Tikhon’s address, titled, “On Cooperation in the Church,” here.)

We thank our alumnus, Archbishop Benjamin, for his visit, and wish His Eminence “Many Years.”