Speech by Archbishop Laurus of Syracuse and Holy Trinity during the presentation of the staff to the newly-consecrated Bishop Agapit of Stuttgart
Christ is Risen!
Beloved in the Lord Fellow Bishop Agapit:
By the decision and nomination of our most recent Council of Bishops in 2000, you were unanimously selected to be Bishop of Stuttgart, Vicar of the German Diocese.
And so, in fulfillment of this Conciliar election, today, by God’s will, we performed your episcopal consecration. You are now listed among the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church, and since our Church is a part of the Ecumenical Church of Christ, you are a member of the general host of bishops who received their legacy from the Chief Pastor of our Church, Christ the Savior, through His Holy Apostles.
There is no higher calling on this earth than the archpastoral and pastoral service, for it is service to the greatest and most holy objective: the salvation of human souls. This service is established by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and such service is the continuation of His service, which He passed on to His Apostles and their successors, who received Grace from the Lord along with the commandment: to teach, preach, resolve and weave together. And today, on the day of the Holy Pentecost, with the descent of the Holy Spirit, when the Church was founded, the Holy Apostles went to preach throughout the world as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself directed them. Thus from the time of the Holy Apostles until our day, the Holy Church contains the grace of priesthood, passed down through episcopal consecration.
Today, you have also received this Grace. Now you, as a bishop, are entrusted with performing the Mystery of ordination to priesthood.
Now you, vested with the Grace of episcopacy, ascend to your cathedra, given to you fromon high, and spread the news to your flock and the whole world of the greatness of God, as the Holy Apostles did on the day of the Pentecost.
We live in terrible times, when people have turned away from their Creator, went to distant lands and do not wish to return to the path of righteousness as shown by our Savior.
Now there are troubles in the midst of the people of the Church, and you as a young archpastor must lift the voice of prophesy and declare the Truth of Christ, Christ’s teachings, Christ’s commandment of love, which alone can renew and invigorate mankind, which is now doomed.
In your archpastoral sevice you must first of all prayerfully appeal to our Chief Pastor, the Lord Jesus Christ, asking Him to strengthen you and grant you wisdom in your work. May the Most-Holy Virgin Mother of God be your help and your intercessor, always pray to Her. She even today, in the image of this miracle-working Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign" prays for you today. You must always be guided by Holy Scripture, the example of the Holy Apostles, the example of the Saints of God. Especially the bishops of God, whom we prayerfully glorify today: St Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow, St Ignaty (Bryanchaninov) and St Theophan the Recluse, as well as St Theophilus of Kiev. You should also seek counsel and advice from your superior, Archbishop Mark, and must in difficult circumstances seek the guidance of your brother archpastors.
Now during the entire time of the episcopal service you fact, you must remember that your flock is the flock of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Pastor, Ruler, Master of this flock, and you are a servant, obliged to guide and teach this flock, so that these sheep would fulfill the Will of God and would live by Divine commandments and the Holy Gospel.
On this important day for you I wish to congratulate you on behalf of our First Hierarch, Metropolitan Vitaly, on behalf of our brethren archpastors, who did not personally participate in your consecration, but prayerfully with us today. I also congratulate you on receiving the Grace of archpastoral consecration and on behalf of all the clergymen and worshipers who prayed for you today.
By the established ancient rite, as you are crowned with the honor of episcopacy, we entrust you with the episcopal staff. Accept it from our humble hands with faith that the Chief Pastor, Christ Himself, is invisibly handing it to you. This staff is the symbol of your new standing and authority; use it to lead your flock to the City of our God, to New Jerusalem, the Kingdom of Heaven. And now ascend the ambo and offer everyone your first Apostolic blessing. Amen.
Munich, May 1, 2001.