NEW YORK: May 18, 2008
The Rite of Enthronement of the Primate of the Russian Church Abroad
All-night vigil is customarily performed by a protopresbyter or protopriest, or archimandrite and archdeacon. One bishop emerges for the litiya. The Primate-elect comes out for the polyeleos with two or four bishops.
At the end of the reading of the first hour, the archpastors come out of the altar through the royal doors onto the ambo, and the new First Hierarch follows them, wearing a black klobuk and a regular episcopal mantle, and faces the people.
Last Saturday, His Eminence Archbishop Innokenty read the Patriarch’s ukase, and His Grace Bishop presents a white klobuk given by the His Holiness. Two senior bishops brought a light blue mantle to the Metropolitan, which was donned with the help of subdeacons. During the vesting, the senior archbishop declared “axios” [“he is worthy”] which was sung first by the bishops and clergymen, then by the choir. The Metropolitan then blessed the clergy and flock.
On Sunday, at Divine Liturgy, the bishops greeted the new Primate at the entrance to the church in their mantles, but without their staffs.
After reading the entrance prayers and the customary singing of Ton Despotin, Archbishop Innokenty ascended the ambo and read the Patriarch’s gramata [decree of blessing]. After that, Vladyka Innokenty approached the Primate, greeted his Eminence and handed him the gramata. Then the two senior bishops led the new metropolitan to the vesting place and intone “axios,” which was repeated by the bishops and clergy, then the choir.
The Metropolitan was then vested in the middle of the church as the other bishops vested in the altar. Thereupon, the mitre was brought out and silently given to the Metropolitan.
The reading of the hours proceeds, and Divine Liturgy was celebrated as usual. A moleben to the Mother of God and All Saints of Russia was then performed.
A greeting from the Patriarch was then read, and gifts from His Holiness presented: a cross and panaghia [icon on a chain worn by a bishop] which the new First Hierarch put on himself. His Eminence Archbishop Mark then handed Metropolitan Hilarion the staff and said:
"May the Almighty and Life-giving Trinity, Boundless Sovereignty and Indivisible Kingdom, grant to you this great throne of episcopacy, to be Metropolitan and Primate of the Russian Church Abroad, through the election by your brethren, the bishops of the Russian Church Abroad. And now, lord and brother, accept this pastoral staff, and ascend the throne of the episcopal seniority, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and beseech His Most-Pure Mother for all Orthodox Christianity and for the Russian people in the diaspora entrusted to you and save them as a good pastor will, and may the Lord God grant you health, well-being and many years." A brief speech about the staff was then spoken.
Archdeacon Eugene Burbelo then intoned Many Years to the our great lord and father Alexy, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and Hiero-archimandrite of Holy Trinity-St Sergius Monastery; and to His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion. The choir responded by singing Many Years.
The Metropolitan replied:
"May the Almighty and All-Sovereign Right Hand of the All-Highest preserve and strengthen us all. May He grant peace and calm to His Holy Church and save our Fatherland from enemies visible and invisible, and grant strength to Orthodoxy. And to you, brother archpastors of the Russian Church Abroad, and to all Russians in the diaspora, and all Orthodoxy Christians, may He grant health and many years."
The choir then sang Many Years (without the Archdeacon’s intonation). This was followed by a greeting by Archbishop Mark and the Primate’s response.
At the conclusion, the choir sang We Praise Thee, O Lord.