His Grace, Bishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada, represented the Orthodox Church in America at the installation of His Eminence, Archbishop Leo as Primate of the Autonomous Finnish Orthodox Church at the New Valamo Monastery on December 17, 2001.
Protopresbyter Robert Kondratick, OCA Chancellor, also attended the installation, which took place two months after Archbishop Leo, who had for several years served as Metropolitan of Helsinki, was elected by a Church-wide council.
Archbishop Leo succeeds His Eminence, Archbishop John, who announced his desire to retire in late summer 2001. His retirement was accepted by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which also confirmed the election of Metropolitan Leo to the Primatial See.
Representatives of many of the world’s Orthodox Churches also were present at the celebration, together with Finnish President Tarja Halonen.
The Finnish Orthodox Church, which numbers some 60,000 faithful throughout the country, is the nation’s second state religion, along side the Evangelical Lutheran Church, to which the vast majority of the population belongs.