Archimandrite Nikon [Liolin] was consecrated Bishop of Baltimore and Auxiliary to His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, on Friday and Saturday, May 24 and 25, 2002, in conjunction with the annual pilgrimage to Saint Tikhon Monastery here.
Archimandite Nikon was elected to the episcopacy by members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America during their Spring Session at the OCA Chancery, Syosset, NY during the first week of April 2002.
On Friday, May 24, at 4:00 p.m., after the singing of the Akathistos Hymn before the wonder-working icon of Our Lady of Pochaev, which was brought to the monastery pilgrimage from its home in southwestern Ukraine, the Rite of Election and Acceptance and the All-Night Vigil were celebrated in the Monastery Church of Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk. Archimandrite Nikon stood before His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius and members of the Holy Synod of Bishops as Protopresbyter Robert Kondratick, OCA Chancellor, read the formal announcement of his election. After the hierarchs celebrated a Service of Thanksgiving, Archimandrite Nikon delivered his acceptance speech.
On Saturday, May 25, at 9:00 a.m., the Consecration Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Metropolitan Theodosius. Concelebrants included His Eminence, Archbishop Kyrill of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania; His Eminence, Archbishop Peter of New York and New Jersey; His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas and the South; His Eminence, Archbishop Herman of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania; His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate; His Grace, Bishop Job of Chicago and the Midwest; His Grace, Bishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada; and His Grace, Bishop Nikolai of Sitka and Alaska. Also concelebrating were His Grace, Bishop Mark, Former Bishop of Boston, and His Grace, Bishop Basil [Essey] of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of San Francisco and the West, was unable to participate due to illness.
Among those who filled the monastery church to capacity were Archimandrite Nikon’s mother, Helena; his brother, the Very Rev. Arthur Liolin, Chancellor of the OCA’s Albanian Archdiocese; and many of the bishop-elect’s family and friends. Numerous faithful from parishes of the Albanian Archdiocese, in which Bishop Nikon was raised, were also present, as his consecration marks the first time in history that an American born individual of Albanian descent was consecrated to the episcopacy.
“It is significant that your consecration to the episcopacy has taken place in the presence of the wonderworking icon of the Mother of God of Pochaev,” Metropolitan Theodosius told Bishop Nikon as he presented him with the episcopal staff at the conclusion of the consecration Liturgy. “For more that four centuries, this venerable icon of the Mother of God has been the source of hope, joy, consolation, and comfort to thousands upon thousands of faithful who have sought her motherly intercession. And so, we rejoice with you today in the presence of this wonderworking icon, for you begin your archpastoral ministry with a special blessing from the Mother of God. Accept this singular blessing from her also as a challenge and invitation to imitate her own life of faithful and obedient discipleship. Following her example, always be obedient to the Will of God. As the Holy Theotokos said ‘yes’ to God’s Will in the moment of the Annunciation—and as she accepted the Will of God as she stood at the foot of the Cross on Calvary—always strive to accept God’s will for you. Imitate her holy example and allow yourself to become an instrument through which the Lord’s saving presence enters the world. And do so in a manner that will inspire, guide, and bless those who are entrusted to your care.”
Metropolitan Theodosius concluded by saying, “This staff is a sign of your episcopal authority and of your episcopal service. In accepting this staff—a shepherd’s staff—may you also accept the call to imitate the one True Shepherd. I exhort you to carry this staff with confidence—with confidence that the Lord Himself will be you staff and your shield.”
During the Consecration Divine Liturgy, Deacon Antony Gori of the Diocese of New England and Oliver Herbel, a student at Saint Vladimir Seminary, Crestwood, NY, were ordained to the Holy Priesthood and Holy Diaconate respectively.
A native of New York, Bishop Nikon had served for many years as rector of Saint Thomas Albanian Orthodox Church, Farmington, MI. As Bishop of Baltimore, he will serve as Auxiliary to Metropolitan Theoodsius and will have administrative oversight of the OCA’s Albanian Archdiocese and the Diocese of New England.