Clergy, administration and invited guests from each deanery in the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania met on December 4, 2012 at St. Michael's Orthodox Church in Jermyn to honor his Beatitude, Metropolitan TIKHON, upon his elevation to Primate of the Orthodox Church in America.
His Beatitude was greeted with bread and salt by Father Nicholas Solak representing the Wilkes-Barre Deanery. He was then presented with flowers by children representing the Frackville, Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre Deaneries. His Grace, Bishop Mark who accompanied His Beatitude, was also welcomed with flowers.
His Beatitude was welcomed with singing, followed by a prayer led by the Very Reverend Daniel Kovalak of the Elevation of the Holy Cross Orthodox Church,Williamsport. Fr. John Kowalczyk, Chancellor of the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania, then led the gathering in a toast to His Beatitude, referencing the video address made by his Beatitude, when he said: "We your spiritual children assembled this evening on December 4th want to express our love to you by telling you we want to continue to be part of this Agenda, Mission, and Vision you have set forth for the Orthodox Church in America." Fr. Martin Browne, Diocesan Treasurer, presented a gift of a red Mitre to His Beatitude.
Following dinner and dessert, Bishop Mark, Bishop of Baltimore,
Administrator of the Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania
Synodal Liaison for Departments and Commissions of the Orthodox Church in America, greeted those gathered. Following his greetings, each deanery in turn gave their greetings - Fr. Victor Gorodenchuk of the Philadelphia Deanery, Fr. Timothy Hojnicki of the Frackville Deanery, and Fr. Nicholas Solak from the Wilkes-Barre Deanery.
His Beatitude, Metropolitan TIKHON wrapped up the evening with remarks to the Diocese. His Beatitude mentioned the many positive programs put into place, including revitalization, crisis management, and the Clergy Continuing Education Program, and his hope that they will continue and flourish. He thanked those assembled for their thoughts and prayers, and acknowledged the Diocesan Administration for their work over the years.
The evening was bittersweet - all in attendance were joyous for the elevation of TIKHON to Primate; at the same time, they were saddened to say so long to their Archbishop. May God Grant Metropolitan TIKHON Many Years!