The Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania celebrated a historic event this past Friday –Saturday (May 9-10) with the enthronement and installation of His Grace, Bishop Mark.
On Friday evening, May 9, Great Vespers was served in the presence of His Beatitude, Met. Tikhon, together with their Eminences, Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit, and Archbishop Melchisedek of Pittsburg, and His Grace, Bishop Mark. Vladyka Nathaniel preached at the end of Vespers on the need to continue to enthusiastically preach the message that “Christ is Risen” in a world that desperately needs to hear it. A wonderful meal was served in the cathedral hall following the service.
On Saturday morning, May 10, His Beatitude Met. Tikhon was greeted by their Eminences, Archbishop Nathaniel, and Archbishop Melchisedek, together with their Graces, Bishop Michael of New York, and Bishop Mark. Eight priests, and three protodeacons also concelebrated making the joyful Paschal Liturgy that much more full. The responses to the Primatial Liturgy were sung by a combined choir of St. Nicholas Church, Bethlehem and other members of the diocese who joined them. They were led under the talented direction of Rdr. Nicholas Lezinsky. His Grace Bishop Mark offered an inspiring homily encouraging all to acquire attributes conducive to a healthy diocese.
At the end of the Liturgy, His Beatitude, Met. Tikhon presented Bishop Mark with the Episcopal Staff. This is a special staff as it was Met. Tikhon’s staff when he was installed at the cathedral some 9 years prior. His Grace, Bishop Mark then ascended the cathedra and offered his blessing to the full cathedral and to his new diocese.
The event was attended by Ecumenical guests representing the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Philadelphia and Scranton, as well as the Indian Orthodox Church.
A festive banquet was held at the Trevose Radisson with several gift presentations offered. As a special gift, the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania presented a new bishop’s miter to His Grace as a token of their love and joyful anticipation of the future.
The Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania rejoices with the entire Orthodox Church in America in this celebration, and looks forward to many years of fruitful service of their new father and Archpastor! Eis polla eti dhespota!