On Friday, November 2, 2012, His All- Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew received the newly-elected Bishop Grigory of Nyssa (for the Carpatho-Russians of the USA) at the Phanar. The official proclamations, known as Mikro and Megalo Minima, were held in the Patriarchal Hall and at the Holy Trinity Monastery of Halki respectively. Earlier, the Holy and Sacred Synod, at the recommendation of His All-Holiness, unanimously elevated Metropolitan Anthony of Hierapolis to the rank of Archbishop as the head of Ukranian Orthodox Diocese of the USA.
His All-Holiness addresses Bishop-elect Gregory of Nyssa of the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the USA
Your Grace, Bishop-Elect Gregory of Nyssa,
It is with joy that we announce to you the unanimous election by the Holy and Sacred Synod of your beloved Grace to Bishop of Nyssa.
The elevation of a clergyman to the archpriestly degree of ordination is of itself a supreme honor. Yet, in this case, the honor and responsibility are especially significant inasmuch as you have been elected to the title of the most philosophical of the Church Fathers, St. Gregory of Nyssa, the “founder of Christian mystical thought” and brother of Basil the Great.
Therefore, your title affiliates you with this holy family as well as with the region of Cappadocia, which has given birth to numerous saints, thereby incorporating you into the choir of revered Hierarchs of this venerable Ecumenical Throne, which you will henceforth serve as head of our beloved Carpatho-Russian communities, succeeding the late Metropolitan Nicholas of Amissos of blessed memory.
You are Greek by origin and you will shepherd Orthodox faithful belonging to another ethnicity, which also received the light of faith and civilization from the Mother Church of Constantinople. This, too, is distinct evidence of the ecumenical nature of this Throne and of the historical reality that the Church of Constantinople has through the ages always embraced the words of the Apostle Paul, that “there is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3.28) …endowing these words with content, as it continues to do to this day with the “people, races, and tongues” (Rev. 11.9) under its canonical protection.
Your Grace, your archpriestly ministry in the United States of America will be exercised under the supervision of our Exarch there, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, who also sought – worthily and successfully – to bring to a conclusion the process that led to your candidacy, which was jubilantly revealed and recommended by the Communities, whose Bishop and leader you have been appointed.
Therefore, we congratulate your Grace and express our wholehearted conviction that you will fully vindicate the aspirations, expectations and confidence resting on you. May you always remain a faithful servant of the Mother Church, obedient to her commands, directions and decisions.
His All-Holiness addresses Metropolitan-elect Antony of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
Your Eminence Metropolitan-elect Antony,
Your Grace Bishop Daniel,
It is with profound pleasure and sincere love that we welcome you to this sacred Center of the Orthodox Church, the courtyard of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. We receive you warmly and paternally as beloved children of the Mother Church of Constantinople, as faithful members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States of America.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate has a history spanning seventeen centuries, during which it retained its administrative offices in this very city. It constitutes the spiritual center of all the local or independent Orthodox Churches, exercising leadership not by secular administration or external authority but rather by virtue of its historical primacy and responsibility for the ministry of unity.
Most especially, however, on this occasion, we would like to congratulate you wholeheartedly on the recent election of an experienced and competent successor to Metropolitan Constantine of blessed memory, who so lovingly and devotedly guided your Church for two decades. With the grace of the Holy Spirit, your extraordinary Sobor recently convened and deservedly elected His Eminence Archbishop Antony of Hierapolis as your new Metropolitan. We warmly congratulate Metropolitan Antony for his elevation and join in the fervent prayer and joyful wish of all members of your congregation: Axios!
As you are all aware, in recent years, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has nurtured very close relations and a genuine concern for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church both in the United States, Canada and as well as in Ukraine. We recognize the intimate bonds that unite us, whose origins may be traced to the very establishment of Christianity over 1000 years ago at the direct initiative and involvement of the Mother Church of Constantinople in the blessed baptism of the Kievan Rus’. Moreover, we recall with vividness and fondness our official visit to Ukraine for the historic celebrations in July of 2008.
Nonetheless, we also nurture foster very intimate paternal relations with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA, where we paternally encouraged the final and irrevocable unity of the existing Ukrainian jurisdictions, but above all where we personally invited the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to enter the spiritual family and canonical jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
We wish all of you a memorable visit to this remarkable and historical “queen of cities.” This entire region is filled with significance for the Christian Church. It is here that St. Andrew passed on the apostolic torch and tradition to the Apostle Stachys; it is here that many of the earliest councils of the Church formulated the doctrine of the Christian faith; and, finally, it is here that the spiritual treasures of Byzantium – its theological, spiritual and cultural legacy – have been faithfully maintained over the centuries to this day.
May God bless you and your families, as well as your Church and your spiritual leaders. And may you return home enriched and inspired to serve the “one, holy catholic and apostolic Church” in the beautiful and blessed land of the United States of America.
Photos by N.Manginas