As a prelude to his Enthronement as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, spent the better part of Friday, September 6, meeting with the clergy and staff of Saint Nicholas Cathedral here and priests and deacons from the Diocese of Washington, DC.
Elected Primate of the Orthodox Church in America in July 2002 upon the retirement of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, Metropolitan Herman will be enthroned in special services at the cathedral on Saturday evening and Sunday morning, September 7 and 8. In addition to members of the OCA Holy Synod of Bishops, numerous hierarchs representing autocephalous, or self-governing, Orthodox churches around the world are expected to participate in the Enthronement.
The day began with a breakfast meeting between Metropolitan Herman and the cathedral clergy staff. The Very Rev. Constantine White, Dean of Saint Nicholas Cathedral, welcomed Metropolitan Herman to the cathedral. In his remarks to the clergy and staff, Metropolitan Herman related that he hoped to build upon the strong foundation of faith found among the cathedral faithful and to working together with them for the building up of the Church. In thanking them for their ministries, Metropolitan Herman observed that the weekend Enthronement is not being held merely to honor him personally, but that it is a celebration honoring the entire Orthodox Church in America. He expressed his enthusiasm for ministering together with the clergy, staff and faithful of the cathedral for the greater glory of God.
On Friday evening, Metropolitan Herman delivered a similar message at a dinner meeting for members of the Cathedral Council, at which he was once again welcomed to the cathedral by Father White, Candice Johnson, council president, and others in attendance. Metropolitan Herman complimented the council on their outstanding work, not only in support of the cathedral parish, but of the Orthodox Church in America in general.
Earlier in the day, Metropolitan Herman met with the clergy of the Diocese of Washington, DC. The diocese, which consists of several parishes in the immediate vicinity of the nation’s capital, is traditionally headed by the Primate of the OCA, who oversees its life in addition to his primatial duties and ministry.
Metropolitan Herman was also received at the Embassy of the Russian Federation by His Excellency, Yuri V. Ushakov, Russian Ambassador to the US, with whom he discussed a number of issues of mutual concern, including the growing number of immigrants from Eastern and Central Europe which continues since the early 1990s. Metropolitan Herman presented Ambassador with an exquisite icon of Our Lady of the Sign.
While hierarchs from around the world were still arriving in Washington throughout the day on Friday, Metropolitan Herman met with His Eminence, Metropolitan Daniel and the delegation from the Autonomous Orthodox Church of Japan. Two years ago Metropolitan Herman, then Archbishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, together with Metropolitan Theodosius, participated in the Enthronement of Metropolitan Daniel at Holy Resurrection Cathedral, Toyko.
Metropolitan Herman’s schedule for Saturday, September 7, includes a wreath laying ceremony at the Pentagon, at which time the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops will join him in remembering the over 3000 individuals who perished in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the celebration of the Vigil Service marking the Great Feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God, slated to begin at Saint Nicholas Cathedral at 5:00 p.m. On Sunday, September 8, the Divine Liturgy will begin at the cathedral at 9:30 a.m., during which the Rite of Enthronement will take place.