NEW YORK: August 13, 2008
41 Years Ago Today, Metropolitan Laurus of Blessed Memory Was Consecrated to the Episcopacy
From the biography of His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus:
On Saturday, August 12, 1967, in accordance with a decision of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Archimandrite Laurus was consecrated Bishop of Manhattan. We cite his address from the time of his consecration:
"During these holy moments which are at the same time terrifying for me, when by the will of God, you, holy Bishops, and the Holy Sobor of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia call upon me, the unworthy one, to the episcopal service: what can I, the great sinner, say? Fear and trembling come upon me."
But of course, Archimandrite Laurus could not think of disobeying the call to his episcopacy, though he bore in mind that "unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required." Yet, he added,
"I witness the immeasurable mercy of God to me, the sinner, which I sense has been granted to me my whole life."
Speaking of this, that it would be difficult for him to leave Holy Trinity Monastery, in which he grew up and gained spiritual strength, and yet he understood that his new duties would be the fulfillment of the legacy he was given by Vladyka Vitaly (Maximenko), who indicated his future path to him. For this reason, he added:
"Embarking now on a new service to the Church of Christ, it is good and joyful for me to realize that I will continue the apostolic mission,"
though he understood that this new task will be bound to new temptations and even persecutions. In his concluding words, the newly-consecrated humbly asked:
"Archpastors of divine wisdom, pray that the Lord helps me be a strong, incorruptible keeper of the life- bearing laws and traditions of the Orthodox Church, not only in word, but more importantly, in deed. I pray that you do not cease strengthening me, who is inexperienced, with your directions."
"In laying your episcopal hands upon me, a sinner, to invoke upon my head the flame-like grace of the Spirit, pray, God’s bishops, that upon me will come 'Divine grace, ever healing the ailing and fulfilling the needy,' and would help me 'rightly administer the word of Thy truth.'"
The following day, on Sunday, August 13, on the eve of Dormition Lent, five bishops: His Eminence Archbishop Nikon (Rklitsky, +1976) of Washington and Florida, His Eminence Archbishop Averky (Taushev, +1976) of Syracuse and Holy Trinity, Bishop Kirill of the Bulgarian parishes and Bishop Anthony (Medvedev, +2000) of Melbourne, headed by His Eminence Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky, +1985), performed his consecration at the Synodal Cathedral in New York. In his address while bestowing the episcopal staff, Metropolitan Philaret said:
"We bishops, who lay our hands upon you in the holy sacrament of the Consecration, rejoice now with you, and now with love we accept you into our archpastoral family, the clergy rejoices, prayerfully participating in the mystery of Consecration; the multitude of your followers and spiritual children rejoices, the flock rejoices—the flock that is now both mine and yours. But I think, more than anyone, Archbishop Aveky and the brethren of Holy Trinity Monastery rejoice."
The church was overfilled with worshipers, since the humble archimandrite already gained the love and respect of many pilgrims to Holy Trinity Monastery. The local parishioners said that the Synodal cathedral had not seen such a splendid and endearing church celebration since the day of the glorification of St. John of Kronstadt in 1964, and with such an unusually large gathering of people.