Clergy, administration and invited guests from each deanery in the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania met at Saint Michael Church here on December 4, 2012 to honor their former diocesan archpastor, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, upon his elevation to Primate of the Orthodox Church in America.
Metropolitan Tikhon was greeted with bread and salt by Priest Nicholas Solak, who represented the Wilkes-Barre Deanery. He was then presented with flowers by children representing the Frackville, Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre deaneries. His Grace, Bishop Mark of Baltimore, the Diocesan Administrator and Liaison for Departments and Commissions of the OCA who accompanied Metropolitan Tikhon, also was welcomed with flowers.
Archpriest Daniel Kovalak of the Elevation of the Holy Cross Church, Williamsport, PA led the opening prayer, while Archpriest John Kowalczyk, Chancellor of the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania, offered a toast, in which he referred to Metropolitan Tikhon’s video address. “We your spiritual children assembled this evening on December 4th want to express our love to you by telling you we want to continue to be part of this Agenda, Mission, and Vision you have,” Father John said. Priest Martin Browne, Diocesan Treasurer, then presented a gift of a red miter to Metropolitan Tikhon.
Following dinner and dessert, Bishop Mark greeted those gathered, after which greetings were offered by representatives of each deanery—Archpriest Victor Gorodenchuk of the Philadelphia Deanery, Priest Timothy Hojnicki of the Frackville Deanery, and Father Solak from the Wilkes-Barre Deanery.
Metropolitan Tikhon closed the evening with remarks to the Diocese. He mentioned the many positive programs put into place, including revitalization, crisis management, and the Clergy Continuing Education Program, and shared his hope that they will continue and flourish. He thanked those assembled for their thoughts and prayers, and acknowledged the diocesan administration for their work over the years.
The evening was bittersweet; while all in attendance rejoiced for the elevation of their former Archbishop to the office of Primate, they were saddened to offer farewells.
A photo gallery of the events may be viewed here.