Sunday, November 02, 2008

Many Years to Bishop JONAH of Fort Worth!

My wife, two daughters, and I were blessed to attend the consecration of Archiman-drite Jonah to the episcopacy of the Orthodox Church in America yesterday morning. We are doubly blessed in this, for his see will be our parish in Fort Worth. Here to the right we see the laying on of hands by four other bishops. Along with his consecration, we witnessed the ordinations of a priest and a deacon, the blessing of a subdeacon, and the tonsuring of a reader. When the reader was tonsured yesterday, I cringed as I was reminded of how short of my calling I fall daily. Lord, have mercy. Many years to all God's newly-appointed servants. Αχιοι, αχιοι, αχιοι!

The word αχιοι is Greek for "[they are] wor-thy" ("αχιος" being shouted for only one person), as the candidate, who has arisen from among the assembly, is deemed worthy of his office by the λαος, or the people at large, as well as the πρεσυτεροι, or the ordained leaders of the λαος. We always bear in mind, however, that they are seen as worthy only because the Holy Spirit has been seen in the life of the man to be "that which completes that which is lacking." Following the three-hour long service there was a lot of great, Texas-style BBQ (brisket, chicken legs, sweet tea, mac and cheese and tater salad...yessir...), and the atmosphere was one of a family reunion. Folks who hadn't seen each other since seminary days, priests and former parishioners (who had moved for various reasons) were seen embracing and catching up, and, perhaps most touching, a priest whose daughter is now a matushka was able to thank in person the bishop his son-in-law serves under for his much-appreciated pastoral care. The day seemed to highlight much of what is good about the Faith.

Vladyka DMITRI is still the Archbishop of Dallas and the South. Bishop JONAH is actually the Abp's auxiliary bishop, but since every bishop, auxiliary or not, has to have a see somewhere, he was given the next largest city adjacent to Dallas -- namely, Fort Worth. Following this, it was good to hear at Vespers last night and at Divine Liturgy this morning, "For his Eminence DMITRI...and for his Grace our Bishop JONAH..." We're the only church where that's said, because he's only really bishop of our parish.

May God grant both of our widely-beloved and respected overseers and vladykas (our "masters," seen in the old sense as literally, "teachers") many blessed years!

(Pictures from OCA website. For a short article on Orthodox clergy ranks, see HERE, and for an explanation of vestments, see HERE.)


Joshua said...

Axios, Axios, Axios! Sounds like it was a wonderful day. May God grant Bishop JONAH many, many good years!

Anonymous said...

Many, many years, with prayers from the Antipodes.

Mimi said...

Axios! It sounds like an amazing thing to have been there, I've seen Priests be ordained but never a bishop.

John said...

Yes, it was a glorious occasion, and what a great blessing to be able to experience it. I enjoyed having a few minutes to chat with you there. And you are right, it was very much like a family reunion. Nice.

s-p said...

I am sooo jealous! But we had to stay home in AZ that weekend for a good reason, we were moving our Mission to a new location. Indeed, AXIOS!