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NEW YORK: May 12, 2008
Archbishop Hilarion Is Elected First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

On May 12, 2008, at 12:00 noon, at the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign in New York, His Eminence Archbishop Hilarion of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand was elected Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and shall be elevated to the rank of Metropolitan. In accordance with the Act of Canonical Communion signed on May 17, 2007, the Council of Bishops will send the Act of Election, drawn up by the Counting Committee, to His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia, with a request from the elected First Hierarch for his blessing to assume the duties placed upon him by his brother archpastors, and for confirmation by the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate of his election.

The Enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, Primate-elect of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, will be held on Sunday, May 18, 2008.

The schedule of services relating to the Enthronement of the new First Hierarch is as follows:

May 17, all-night vigil at 6 pm. At the end of the evening service, the newly-elected Primate will emerge from the Royal Doors in a black klobuk [monastic headdress] and a simple episcopal mantle and will stand on the ambo facing the people. Two senior bishops will bring the light blue mantle and white klobuk to the Metropolitan, who will don them with the help of subdeacons. During the vesting of the mantle and klobuk, the senior bishop will intone "axios" ["he is worthy"], which will be repeated first by the bishops and clergymen, then by the choir. Afterwards, the Metropolitan will bless the clergy and people.

The light blue mantle and white klobuk will first be blessed with holy water by the senior archbishop during the reading of the first hour.

May 18, Divine Liturgy at 9:30 am. After the entry prayers are read and the customary blessing, two senior bishops will lead the new Metropolitan to the vesting platform and will declare "axios," which will be repeated first by the bishops and clergy, and then by the choir.

The newly-elected First Hierarch will then be vested in the middle of the church, while the other bishops are vested in the altar. Thereafter, two senior archimandrites or protopriests will bring out the mitre and will silently present it to the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

After the moleben, the senior hierarch will bestow the staff to the First Hierarch—a gift from the Diocese of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand, which was blessed upon the relics of St Tikhon, Patriarch and Confessor of All Russia—and will declare:

"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."

The Archdeacon will then intone Many Years to the new First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. The choir will sing Many Years.

In accordance to the Rite of Enthronement, the newly-elected Primate will address his brother archpastors with the following words:

"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 sings Many Years (without an intonation by the Archdeacon).