The morning sun climbed slowly over the skyscrapers of Manhattan as hundreds of clergy and thousands of Orthodox faithful assembled near Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral September 21, 1996, for the enthronement of a new Archbishop.
His Eminence, Archbishop SPYRIDON, newly-elected primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, was installed today by His Eminence, Metropolitan JOACHIM of Chalcedon, during a solemn but colorful ceremony witnessed by thousands. A native of Warren, Ohio, SPYRIDON, who is 52, most recently headed the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Italy under the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He was elected by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on July 30, 1996 by the 12 hierarchs who comprise the sacred synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The new Archbishop is the first American-born leader of the Greek Archdiocese.
Hierarchs from the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in the Americas led the procession along Second Avenue, along with government and ecumenical leaders such as Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore, the Rev Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee, in addition to numerous dignitaries from the diplomatic corp.
Representing His Beatitude, Metropolitan THEODOSIUS of the Orthodox Church in America at the Enthronement were His Eminence, Archbishop PETER of New York, Protopresbyter Robert Kondratick, OCA Chancellor, Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky, Assistant to the Chancellor for External Affairs, and Fr. Gregory Havrilak, Director of Communications. Because of a previous commitment, Metropolitan Theodosius was consecrating a church in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and chairing the annual Diocesan Assembly of the Diocese of Alaska in Sitka.
As Metropolitan of Italy since 1991, SPYRIDON established himself as a wizard of technology, where his diocese became one of the first to go on-line with a home page over the World Wide Web. Fluent in four languages, Spyridon completed high school in Florida and is a graduate of the famous School of Theology on Halki, Turkey. He has become the fifth hierarch to head the Greek Archdiocese of America.
The territory of SPYRIDON’s canonical authority has been changed, however, since the retirement of his predecessor, Archbishop IAKOVOS on July 29, 1996. Subsequent to the election of SPYRIDON as Archbishop for the Greek Archdiocese of America, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate decided to restructure the Archdiocese of North and South America into four diocesan entities. In addition to the Archdiocese of America lead by SPYRIDON, new metropolitanates were created in Buenos Aires (for South America), Mexico City (for Central America), and Toronto (for Canada).
Although new metropolitans are expected to be named for these Sees, it is expected that incumbents in one or more of these cities will be elevated to head these eparchies.
Following the formal enthronement at Holy Trinity Cathedral, more than 2000 guests participated in the Enthronement Luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.