OCA Primate Celebrates 30th-Anniversary of Episcopal Consecration

The Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, His Beatitude, Metropolitan THEODOSIUS, celebrated the Divine Liturgy in St Sergius Chapel today, as he commemorates the thirtieth anniversary of his episcopal consecration. He was elevated to the episcopacy on May 6, 1967 at the Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection in New York.

He was consecrated Bishop of Washington, DC by the following hierarchs: Metropolitan IRENEY, Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All America and Canada, Bishop SILAS of Amphipolis (Greek Archdiocese), Archbishop NIKON of Brooklyn, Archbishop SYLVESTER of Montreal and Canada, Bishop MARK, Titular Bishop of Levke, Head of the Albanian Diocese (Ecumenical Patriarchate), and Bishop KIPRIAN of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania.

Metropolitan THEODOSIUS (Lazor) was born in Canonsburg, PA (1933) to immigrant parents from Galicia (then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire). He completed undergraduate studies at Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, PA and a Master of Divinity degree (1960) from St Vladimir’s Seminary, Crestwood, NY. He spent the next year attending the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, Switzerland, touring the Holy Land, and visiting Orthodox centers throughout Europe and the Middle East.

Upon returning home in 1961, he took monastic vows and was ordained a deacon and priest. He served five years (1961-66) as rector of Nativity of the Virgin Mary Church in Madison, IL, and as an assistant military chaplain. Elected Bishop of the Diocese of Alaska in 1967, Bishop THEODOSIUS oversaw the rebuilding of St Michael’s Cathedral,
Sitka, the first Orthodox Church in the new world.

He headed the Orthodox Church in America’s delegation (May 1970) to Moscow that formally accepted the Tomos of Autocephaly (decree of self-governance) from the Russian Orthodox Church. Bishop THEODOSIUS hosted ceremonies in Alaska for the solemn canonization which made Fr Herman the first saint of the Orthodox Church in America

The Holy Synod of Bishops transferred Bishop THEODOSIUS in 1972 to the Pittsburgh Diocese, where he instituted a diaconal training program. On October 25, 1977 he was elected Metropolitan of All America and Canada at the 5th All-American Council in Montreal, assuming leadership of one of the 15 self-governing bodies of the world-wide communion of Orthodox Churches.

In 1981 the Holy Synod of Bishops established a new diocese as the seat of the American Primate. Metropolitan THEODOSIUS serves as Archbishop of the Washington, DC, diocese—small in size, but due to its location, prestigious in mission. Metropolitan THEODOSIUS has met with Church leaders including Pope John Paul I, Pope John Paul II, Orthodox Church Patriarchs, Coptic and Armenian Church officials, and American Roman Catholic and Protestant leaders. He was the first Orthodox Church leader to be invited by the newly-enthroned Patriarch ALEKSY II of Moscow in 1990, and was also invited to participate in the 600th anniversary of the repose of St Sergius of Radonezh (1992)

Metropolitan THEODOSIUS has been a frequent guest at the White House in Washington, having been called upon by Presidents Bush and Clinton for advice on religious and political affairs in Russia and eastern Europe.

Georgetown University awarded Metropolitan THEODOSIUS an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree (1988), while St Vladimir’s Seminary (1986) and Washington and Jefferson College (1973) awarded him honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees

As an honored guest of many national and foreign religious leaders, Metropolitan THEODOSIUS has traveled to Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, throughout eastern and western Europe, Georgia, Ukraine and Russia. He has taken part in official dialogues with His All Holiness Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW I of Constantinople, at the headquarters of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul; with His Holiness Patriarch ALEKSY II of the Russian Orthodox Church, where he was one of the first hierarchs to serve in the newly re-opened Dormition Cathedral in the Kremlin.

On September 28, 1995 he was the guest of Dr James Billington at the Library of Congress in Washington, at the opening of a display highlighting the contribution of the Russian Church and native Alaskan cultures to North America. During that ceremony Metropolitan THEODOSIUS was greeted by US President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

The Orthodox Church in America’s chancery and Metropolitan’s residence are located in Oyster Bay Cove, NY.