Election of a new primate of the Orthodox Church in America

31.07.2002 · English, Архив 2002  


Foto: Election of a new primate of the Orthodox Church in America

The 13th All-American Orthodox Council took place from July 21 to 27 in Orlando, USA. The most important actions of the Council were the election a new First Hierarch of the American Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the celebration in honor His Beatitude Metropolitan Theodosius, retired now, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his primatial ministry.

On July 22, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America elected His Eminence Herman, Archbishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, new Primate of the American Orthodox Church.

Foto: Election of a new primate of the Orthodox Church in America Participating in the work of the Council from the Russian Orthodox Church were Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, and Bishop Mercurius of Zaraisk, administrator of the Moscow Patriarchate Parishes in the USA.

His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia sent a message to the newly-elected Metropolitan Herman, which was read out by Metropolitan Kirill. The message stated in particular, “The destinies of our sister Churches has been indissolubly bound up in history. The work and feats of St. Herman of Alaska, St. Innocent the Metropolitan of Moscow, St. Tikhon the Patriarch of All Russia and the Holy Martyr Alexander Khotovitsky represent a precious part of our common heritage… With grateful memory we pay homage to your worthy predecessors, His Beatitude Metropolitan Ireneius, who passed away in the Lord, and His Beatitude Metropolitan Theodosius who has done so much for strengthening fraternal relations between our Churches. As wise builders by God’s grace they laid a foundation of a God’s building (1 Cor. 3:10) and the Lord has put further building in your firm and tested hands”.

His Eminence Kirill also stressed the great significance of the work of the Representation of the American Orthodox Church in Moscow and the Representation of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USA for church building.

Foto: Election of a new primate of the Orthodox Church in America On behalf of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia, Metropolitan Kirill gave to His Beatitude Metropolitan Herman holy panagias and a cross – symbols of primatial dignity and ministry.

His Beatitude Metropolitan Herman (his secular name Joseph Swaiko) was born in 1932 in Pennsylvania. In 1963 he graduated from St. Tikhon’s Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania, In 1964, he was ordained presbyter. On December 4, 1970, he took monastic vows with the name of Herman in honour of St. Herman of Alaska.

On February 10, 1973, Archimandrite Herman was consecrated Bishop of Wilkes-Barre, vicar of the diocese of Philadelphia and South Pennsylvania. He has been the ruling bishop of this diocese since March 17, 1981. In 1994 he was elevated to the rank of archbishop.

From May to September 2001, His Eminence Herman was temporary administrator of the Orthodox Church in America as Metropolitan Theodosius suffered from a serious disease.

The enthronement of His Beatitude Metropolitan Herman will take place on September 7-8, 2002, at St. Nicholas’s Cathedral in Washington.

Foto: Election of a new primate of the Orthodox Church in America During the festive reception on July 26, given by the American Autocephalous Orthodox Church on the occasion of the election of a new First Hierarch and the 25th anniversary of the primatial ministry of his retired predecessor, Metropolitan Kirill addressed those present, noting the importance of the All-American Council for forming one Local Orthodox Church in America. He also emphasized the responsibility placed by divine providence on the newly-elected Primate and wished to His Beatitude Herman blessed spiritual strength from the Lord he would need for such an important primatial ministry, adding, “the way in which mother Churches will consider the question of independence of their dioceses in the territory of the USA will be determined by the way in which bearers of various ethnic-religious traditions will form their relationships within the American Autocephalous Church. Therefore, any cultural-historical tradition, be it Greek, Arab, Romanian, Russian or other, should be carefully preserved and multiplied in the fold of the American Orthodox Church. This is precisely how the contents of this process of spiritual unification was seen by our great predecessors: St. Tikhon, Father Alexander Khotovitsky, and Metropolitan Nikodim of Leningrad of Novgorod of the blessed memory”.

The speech of His Eminence Kirill was repeatedly interrupted by applause and at its end the audience gave him standing ovation.

Press service of the Moscow Patriarchate
Representation in the USA