OCA Holy Synod of Bishops Concludes Fall Session; Bishop Nikon to Fill Vacant Albanian Archdiocesan See; Archimandrite Tikhon Elected Auxiliary to Metropolitan

His Grace, Bishop Nikon of Baltimore was elected ruling Bishop of the Boston-based Albanian Archdiocese during the fall session of the Orthodox Church in America’s Holy Synod of Bishops.

The hierarchs met under the presidency of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, at the OCA Chancery here October 20-23, 2003.

Since his consecration to the episcopacy in 2002, Bishop Nikon has served as Auxiliary to Metropolitan Herman. In October 2003, he was nominated as a candidate for the vacant see by delegates to the Albanian Archdiocesan Assembly, held in Jamaica Estates, NY. For years His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, and later Metropolitan Herman, served as Locum Tenens of the Archdiocese. Bishop Nikon also will oversee the administration and the life of the Diocese of New England, which has also been without a ruling bishop since 1993. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman will continue to serve as Locum Tenens.

Members of the Holy Synod of Bishops also elected Archimandrite Tikhon [Mollard], Senior Lecturer in Old Testament at Saint Tikhon Seminary and Deputy Abbot of Saint Tikhon Monastery, as Bishop of South Canaan, PA, and Auxiliary to Metropolitan Herman. A biography of Archimandrite Tikhon may be found at the end of this release.

The fall session opened on Monday evening, October 20, with a Service of Thanksgiving, after which Metropolitan Herman addressed the Holy Synod of Bishops.

“The manner in which we, as bishops, serve Christ and His Church can be seen as our personal response to the Lord’s question: ‘Who do you say that I am?” Metropolitan Herman said. “Our archpastoral ministry, our service to the Church, is our response to that question which Christ now directs to us. Through our presiding at the celebration of the Holy Mysteries, through our preaching and teaching, and by our diligent administration of the life of the Church, we make the solemn proclamation of our faith in the Lord Jesus as the ‘Christ of God.’”

Metropolitan Herman also reported on his recent official visits to the sister Autocephalous Churches of Constantinople, Russia, Poland, and Ukraine; expressed his joy at the growing enrollment at the OCA’s seminaries; and highlighted a number of issues affecting the life of the Church.

Protopresbyter Robert Kondratick, OCA Chancellor, delivered his report on Tuesday, October 21. He highlighted the ongoing work of the Chancery staff and shared preliminary information on the 14th All-American Council, slated to convene in Toronto, Ontario in 2005.

In addition to the episcopal elections and a thorough review of the work of the OCA’s numerous departments, boards, and commissions, the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops pursued a number of other issues.

The Holy Synod received a thorough report presented by Archimandrite Zacchaeus on the work of the OCA’s Representation Church of the Great Martyr Catherine in Moscow.

The importance of the OCA’s archives and the need for proper preservation of the valuable collection currently housed at the Chancery was the subject of a report by Dr. Jaroslav Pelikan, Chairman of the Department of History and Archives. In response to Dr. Pelikan’s report, the members of the Holy Synod approved a professional feasibility study to explore the possible construction of appropriate archive facilities in Syosset, NY. Further, Metropolitan Herman requested that diocesan bishops appoint archive consultants within their respective dioceses.

In the area of interchurch relations, His Eminence, Archbishop Peter of New York and New Jersey presented a paper titled “The Meaning of Autocephaly,” while the Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky, on behalf of Prof. John Erickson, Dean of Saint Vladimir Seminary, presented a paper titled “The Canonical Situation of Orthodoxy in America Today.” The hierarchs also were briefed on ongoing efforts to minister to new immigrants, especially from central and eastern Europe; on the ongoing work of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas; and on a number of other matters affecting the life of world Orthodoxy.

After the report of the OCA Treasurer, the Very Rev. Dimitri Oselinsky, the hierarchs approved the OCA’s 2004 budget for presentation to the Metropolitan Council.

With regard to the 14th All-American Council [AAC], it was noted that the project team has begun its work by discussing possible themes and topics for presentation to the Holy Synod. Members of the Holy Synod will offer suggestions for possible AAC themes for presentation at their spring 2004 session.

In response to a report by His Grace, Bishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada, the members of the Holy Synod approved the establishment of the Blessed Arseny Institute, Winnipeg, Manitoba, for the training of readers and deacons for the Archdiocese of Canada. The hierarchs also instructed Bishop Seraphim to continue researching the life of Bishop Arseny for possible consideration of the Holy Synod.

Metropolitan Herman reported that he will receive the former Byzantine Rite Catholic Holy Protection Monastery, Miami, FL under his omophorion, with the full concurrence of the Holy Synod.

The hierarchs heard a report by the Rev. Alexander Rentel, a member of the Commission on Canons and Statutes, concerning the ongoing reveiw of the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America. In response, the hierarchs instructed the commission to continue its review of the Statute in light of canon law, the structures of the sister Autocephalous Churches, and the civil laws of the US, Canada and Mexico. It was noted that it is in the latter area that difficulties are most likely to arise. A preliminary report will be presented at the 2004 spring session of the Holy Synod.

His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of San Francisco and the West, with the concurrence of the Diocesan Council, proposed the election of an Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of the West.

Mr. Michael Herzak reported on the urgent need for parishes to comply with the procedures on sexual abuse and molestation, promulgated by the Holy Synod in March 2003, to safeguard children as well as parish communities as a whole. He recommended that all parishes include their dioceses and the Central Administration in their insurance policies. Metropolitan Herman will send a letter to all parishes urging them to implement these critical procedures.

The Holy Synod of Bishops meets twice each year, in the fall and spring, under the presidency of Metropolitan Herman.

In addition to Metropolitan Herman, Archbishop Peter, and Bishops Tikhon, Seraphim, and Nikon, other hierarchs participating in the session included His Eminence, Archbishop Kyrill of Pittsburgh and West Virginia; His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas and the South; His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate; His Grace, Bishop Job of Chicago and the Midwest; His Grace, Bishop Nikolai of Sitka, Anchorage and Alaska; and His Grace, Bishop Irineu, Bishop of Dearborn Heights, Auxiliary to the Romanian Episcopate.

Biography of Archimandrite Tikhon (Mollard)

Archimandrite Tikhon was born Marc R. Mollard in Boston, MA on July 15, 1966, the oldest of three children born to Francois and Elizabeth Mollard. After brief periods living in Connecticut, France, and Missouri, he and his family settled in Reading, PA, where he graduated from Wyomissing High School in 1984. In 1988 he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and Sociology from Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, after which he moved to Chicago.

In 1989 he was received into the Orthodox Church from Episcopalianism and, in the fall of the same year, he began studies at Saint Tikhon Seminary, South Canaan, PA. One year later he entered the monastic community at Saint Tikhon Monastery as a novice.

After receiving his Master of Divinity degree from Saint Tikhon Seminary in 1993, he was appointed instructor in Old Testament at Saint Tikhon Seminary. He continues to serve as Senior Lecturer in Old Testament, teaching Master level courses in the Prophets and the Psalms and Wisdom Literature. He is also an instructor in the seminary’s Extension Studies program, offering courses in the lives of the Old Testament saints, the liturgical use of the Old Testament, and the Old Testament in patristic literature.

Archimandrite Tikhon collaborated with Igumen Alexander (Golitzin) in the publication of “The Living Witness of the Holy Mountain,” published by Saint Tikhon Seminary Press, by illustrating this classic book about Mount Athos.

In 1995 he was tonsured to the Lesser Schema by His Eminence, Archbishop Herman, and given the name Tikhon, in honor of Saint Patriarch Tikhon, Enlightener of North America. Later that year he was ordained to the Holy Diaconate and Holy Priesthood at Saint Tikhon Monastery. In 1998 he was elevated to the rank of Igumen, and in 2000 to the rank of Archimandrite.

In December 2002, he was appointed by Metropolitan Herman to serve as Deputy Abbot of Saint Tikhon Monastery.