Source: Orthodox Church in America
BOSTON, MA [OCA] On Saturday, December 2, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, hierarchs of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America, and hierarchs of other sister Orthodox Churches gathered at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Boston, MA, along with clergy and faithful of the Diocese of New England for the ordination to the Holy Episcopate of Bishop-elect Benedict (Churchill), as Bishop of Hartford and the Diocese of New England.
The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America elected Archimandrite Benedict as Bishop-elect of Hartford at their regular Fall Session on November 7, 2023.
On Friday evening, December 1, His Beatitude presided at the Service of Thanksgiving and the Nomination and Proclamation of a Bishop. Before the service began, Archpriest Alexander Rentel, Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, read the official announcement of the election. Bishop-elect Benedict offered words of acceptance, reflecting on the sacredness of the episcopal ministry. Following the service, the Bishop-elect served the daily Vespers.
On the morning of December 2, Metropolitan Tikhon presided at the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. Concelebrating with His Beatitude were His Grace Bishop John of Worcester of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, His Grace Bishop Irinej of the Diocese of Eastern America of the Serbian Orthodox Church, His Eminence Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the Diocese of the West, His Eminence Archbishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, His Eminence Archbishop Michael of New York and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey, His Grace Bishop Nikodhim of Boston and the Albanian Archdiocese, His Grace Bishop Andrei of Cleveland and Auxiliary to the Romanian Episcopate, and His Grace Bishop Gerasim of Fort Worth and Auxiliary to the Diocese of the South. Concelebrating were also clergy from the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America, of the Diocese of New England, and the Diocese of the South, where Bishop Benedict spent the past ten years of his priestly ministry. Among the clergy from the Diocese of the South was Archpriest Marcus Burch, Chancellor, who represented His Eminence Archbishop Alexander of Dallas. Protopresbyter John Maheras, who represented His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of Boston of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, was also in attendance.
Before the liturgy, Bishop-elect Benedict offered his statement of faith, proclaiming the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, and offered a detailed explanation of the Church’s Trinitarian and Christological doctrines in the presence of Metropolitan Tikhon and the assembled hierarchs, clergy, and faithful.
During the Trisagion at the Divine Liturgy, Bishop-elect Benedict was led to the altar for his ordination by Archpriest Alexander Rentel, OCA Chancellor, and Archpriest John Kreta, Chancellor of the Diocese of New England.
In his homily, Metropolitan Tikhon reflected on the Nativity fast and reminded the faithful that, “To help us, the Lord has given us not only special times of year, but shepherds and overseers to keep watch over us. Just moments ago, Bishop Benedict was consecrated to the holy episcopate and tasked with keeping watch over his flock here in New England. But because the bishop’s flock is one of rational sheep, his task of keeping watch consists primarily of teaching his people to keep watch over themselves, rousing them to Christian zeal and vigilance through his words and, especially, his deeds—his example. Like all Christians, the bishop is tasked first with keeping watch over himself.”
After the Divine Liturgy, the hierarchs and clergy assembled on the ambo where Metropolitan Tikhon welcomed the gathered bishops and addressed the newly-ordained bishop. Metropolitan Tikhon congratulated Bishop Benedict on behalf of the Orthodox Church in America, and welcomed him to the Holy Synod of Bishops. His Beatitude also offered words of gratitude to the clergy and faithful of the Diocese of New England: “Thank you to the clergy and faithful of the Diocese of New England, who have so often welcomed my presence during my locum tenency. I have some degree of sorrow in relinquishing that locum tenency but it is a sorrow that is transformed into joy and an expression of congratulations on the consecration of Bishop Benedict, your new diocesan hierarch.” His Beatitude then presented the pastoral staff to Bishop Benedict, who ascended his cathedra and blessed the clergy and faithful.
Following the Divine Liturgy, the Diocese of New England hosted a festive banquet at the DoubleTree Hotel in Boston in the presence of various hierarchs, esteemed guests, and clergy and faithful from throughout the Diocese. A number of speakers offered words of congratulations to His Grace Benedict during the afternoon program.
On Sunday, December 3, Metropolitan Tikhon presided at the hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Cathedral, serving with Bishop Benedict and Bishop Andrei.