Our own diocese, the Diocese of Worcester and New England has not had a bishop as it was directly under the supervision of Metropolitan +Philip. Now with the newly elected bishops, Fr. John Abdalah will be the first Antiochian Orthodox bishop for New England. Our new bishops will be consecrated next month. We plan to officially welcome Bishop John to the Diocese of New England on the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany with a Divine Liturgy and welcome banquet at St. George Cathedral in Worcester.
The Consecration [laying on of hands] of a bishop is the act by which a candidate receives the fullness of the grace of Holy Orders by the ‘laying of hands’ in succession from the Holy Apostles. The office of bishop is the highest clerical rank in the Orthodox Church. At his consecration, a bishop receives grace not only to perform the Sacred Mysteries but also to bestow the grace of ordination. The Scriptural foundation for Consecration is found in the Acts of the Apostle (Acts 1:15-26; Acts 6:2-6) and the Epistles to Timothy (1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6).
The Consecration takes place within the Divine Liturgy, prior to which the bishop-elect must make a formal and public Profession of Faith to ensure the Orthodoxy of his belief. During the Divine Liturgy, the bishop-elect kneels before the Holy Altar while the opened Gospel Book is laid upon his neck. All of the consecrating bishops place their hands on the Gospel and say the Prayer of Consecration, during which the Holy Spirit descends upon the new bishop and imparts the grace of the episcopate upon him. The bishop is then vested and presented to the people who acclaim Axios [He is worthy].
On Sunday December 11th His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS and Bishops of the Holy Synod of Antioch will consecrate Fr. John Abdalah, Fr. Nicholas Ozone and Fr. Anthony Michaels as Auxiliary Bishops to His Eminence Metropolitan +PHILIP. The consecrations will be at the Patriarchal Monastery at the Balamand in Lebanon.
Two Bishops from St. George of Boston
Two of the new bishops, Fr. John and Fr. Nicholas are ‘sons’ of St. George parish of Boston. This is perhaps the only time in history that two candidates from the same home parish are elected and consecrated bishops at the same time. Fr. John will serve as the Bishop of New England and will be moving to the Boston area before the end of the year. Fr. Nicholas will assist the Metropolitan at the Archdiocese headquarters in Englewood and we look forward to him being a frequent visitor here. Certainly, this is a unique historic honor for our parish and we congratulate the Abdalah and Ozone families who are part of our parish community. It is most fitting that as many of us as possible attend this historic event. We want to be well represented at the Balamand in December so make your reservations now.