Archimandrite Irineu consecrated Bishop of Dearborn Heights, auxiliary to OCA Romanian Episcopate

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman presided at the consecration of Archimandrite Irineu [Duvlea] to the episcopacy at Saint George Cathedral here November 1-2, 2002.

Archimandrite Irineu was nominated to the episcopacy by delegates to the Church Congress of the Orthodox Church in America’s Romanian Episcopate at Vatra Romaneasca, the Episcopate’s headquarters, on June 28, 2002. His nomination was subsequently forwarded to the Holy Synod of Bishops, which canonically elected him to the episcopacy at a special session held during the 13th All-American Council at the end of July. Bishop Irineu will serve as Auxiliary to His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate with the title of Bishop of Dearborn Heights.

The consecration weekend began at Saint George Cathedral, Southfield, MI, on Friday evening, November 1, with the celebration of a Memorial Service for the late Bishop Policarp and Archbishop Valerian, both of whom guided the Episcopate during its early years. During the Vesper service which followed, the Proclamation of Archimandrite Irineu’s election was announced. Standing before Metropolitan Herman and the other consecrating hierarchs, Archimandrite Irineu offered his Declaration of Acceptance. A reception followed the service in the cathedral cultural center.

On Saturday, November 2, Matins was celebrated at the cathedral at 8:00 a.m., after which Metropolitan Herman, Archbishop Nathaniel, and the other co-consecrators entered the cathedral for the consecration Liturgy, prior to which Bishop-elect Irineu made his Profession of Faith in the presence of the hierarchs and faithful.

At the conclusion of the consecration Liturgy, Metropolitan Herman presented Bishop Irineu with the archpastoral staff.

“In accepting this staff—a shepherd’s staff—may you also accept the call to imitate the one True Shepherd,” Metropolitan Herman told Bishop Irineu. “I exhort you to carry this staff with confidence—with confidence that the Lord Himself will guide you. I also encourage you to carry it with humility and with the awareness that all that you may accomplish will only be accomplished by the mercy and blessing of the Lord Himself. Serve God’s people with love and generosity—love and care for all who come to you in need with the love of Christ Himself.”

A banquet followed the consecration Liturgy at Saint John Armenian Cultural Center, Southfield, MI, after which Vespers was celebrated at the Descent of the Holy Spirit Church, Warren, MI.

“Today is a joyous day for the Orthodox Church in America,” Metropolitan Herman said in his banquet remarks. “Most especially, it is an important, historic, and joyous day for the Romanian Episcopate, an integral part of the Orthodox Church in America, as it receives a new bishop to assist His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel, in continuing to work for the building up of Christ’s Holy Church. The Lord has blessed us today for, through the laying-on-of-hands, the Holy Spirit has given the Church a new archpastor.”

“Our coming together for this celebration is truly the fruit of our love and obedience to the All-Holy Spirit who makes present here and now the living Body of Christ,” Metropolitan Herman continued. “Our prayers for His Grace, Bishop Irineu and for those he will serve as bishop affirm our oneness in the saving truth of the Gospel. This morning’s concelebration of the Banquet of Immortality has confirmed our unity in the undivided Christ who is the very expression-the very incarnation-of divine love and reconciliation.”

On Sunday morning, November 3, Bishop Irineu celebrated his first hierarchal Divine Liturgy at Saints Peter and Paul Church, Dearborn Heights, MI.

“During the 1990s, the Romanian Episcopate experienced explosive growth with the arrival of thousands of new immigrants from Romania,” according to the Very Rev. John Matusiak, OCA Communications Director. “Dozens of new parishes and missions have been organized, and in 1999, the Episcopate Congress recommended that Archbishop Nathaniel explore the possibility of electing an auxiliary bishop to assist him in his archpastoral duties.”

Archimandrite Irineu was born April 19, 1962 in Alba Iulia, Transylvania, Romania. In 1981, he enrolled in the Theological Seminary in Cluj Napoca. After graduating from the seminary in 1987, he continued his studies at the Andrei Saguna Theological Institute in Sibiu, from which he graduated in 1991.

In 1980, he entered the Brancoveanu Monastery at Sambata de Sus, Brasov County, Romania, where he was ordained to the Holy Diaconate by His Eminence, Archbishop John of Helsinki, Finland, on behalf of His Eminence, Metropolitan Antonie [Plamadeala] of Transylvania, on May 3, 1983. Three weeks later he was tonsured to monastic rank by His Grace, Bishop Lucian of Fagaras. He was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by Metropolitan Antonie in Sibiu on November 17, 1984.

On January 1, 1993, he was appointed Hegumen of the Brancoveanu Monastery and given the responsibility for overseeing the life of 15 neighboring monasteries and 10 sketes. In this capacity, he tonsured 30 monks and 15 nuns and installed most of the abbots and abbesses in the Sibiu Diocese. On August 15, 1993, he was named Archimandrite of the monastery. The Holy Synod of Romania awarded him the right to wear a mitre in 2000.

As head of the Brancoveanu Monastery, Father Irineu hosted several patriarchs, including His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew; His Holiness, Patriarch Parthenius of Alexandria; His Holiness, Patriarch Ignatius of Antioch; His Holiness, Patriarch Pavle of Serbia; and His Holiness, Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria.

When Archbishop Nathaniel established the Center for Orthodox Christian Studies at Saint Andrew’s House in Detroit in the late 1990s, it was his dream to provide a monastic presence. On February 23, 2001, Archimandrite Irineu and several monks from Romania were granted a canonical release from the Patriarchate of Romania to establish a monastic community in honor of the Holy Ascension at the Center. Archimandrite Irineu was appointed Abbot of the new community, where he has labored tirelessly to offer hospitality and comfort not only to the Romanian community, but to the entire Orthodox population of Detroit and the Midwest.

Concelebrating with Metropolitan Herman and Archbishop Nathaniel at the consecration Liturgy were His Eminence, Archbishop Kyrill of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania [OCA]; His Eminence, Metropolitan Christopher of Midwestern America of the Serbian Orthodox Church; His Eminence, Archbishop Nicolae of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and Canada; His Grace, Bishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada; His Grace, Bishop Demetri, Auxiliary of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America; and His Grace, Bishop Nikon of Baltimore, Auxiliary to Metropolitan Herman.