The ceremonial ordination of Bishop Elect Nikodhim will take place in the historical seat of the Albanian Archdiocese at the Saint George Albanian Orthodox Cathedral in Boston, Massachussets from the 15th to the 17th of September. The three day event comes fives months after the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) meeting under the presidency of His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, canonically elected the Very Reverend Archimandrite Nikodhim the Bishop of Boston and the Albanian Archdiocese. Twenty years ago, almost to the day, His Grace Nikon was installed in the same position.
Friday, on September 15 at 5 pm, the faithful of the Archdiosese present their candidate as the next ruling bishop to the Albanian Archdiocese. The ceremonial announcement marks the beginning of the ordination. This part of the evening service is conducted in the presence of the Primate of Holy Synod Tikhon, Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of all America and Canada, and six Diocesan Bishops: Most Reverend Mark, Archbishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, Most Reverend Benjamin, Archbishop of San Francisco and the West, most Reverend Melchisedek, Archbishop of Pittsburgh and Western Pennyslvania, Most Reverend Irénée, Archbishop of Ottawa and the Archdiocese of Canada, Most Reverend Michael, Archbishop of New York and New Jersey, Most Reverend Daniel, Archbishop of Chicago and the Midwest.
This evening service will be condensed into roughly 15 minutes followed by an RSVP requested dinner.
On Saturday morning at 9 am before the Liturgy starts there will be a service that runs for about 40 to 45 minutes. It begins with Orthros service. In this particular occassion, at the end of Orthros comes the Profession Faith (also known as the Declaration). The bishops will ask Archmandrite Nikodhim to recite the creed. He will relay the creed of the faith stating what the Church believes and celebrates for 2000 years. Upon conclusion, Metropolitan Tikhon blesses him on the head saying three times: The Grace of the Holy Spirit through my humility, elevates you, most beloved of God, Archmandrite Nikodhim, to be Bishop of Boston.
Saturday, September 16 at 10 am the Liturgy begins with the Metropolitan presiding. Just before the Scripture reading, as choir sings Trisagion prayer the candidate is brought forward for the Ordination. Two priests bring Archmandrite Nikodhim to the royal doors – the central set of doors of the iconostasis. At that point, the bishops bring him inside and lead him around the altar three times. Bishop Elect then kneels before the altar as the Metropolitan opens the Holy Gospel book and places it on his head while all the other bishops place their right hands on the Gospel book. The laying on of hands at the ordination is part of the Apostolic succession as a symbolic transfering of authority that was conferred upon Bishops ordained through time, tracing all the way back to the original apostles.
Metropolitan says: By the election and approbation of all the Venerable Bishops of the Holy Synod, the Great Divine which always heals that which is infirm, and fulfills that which is lacking through the Laying-on-of-Hands, elevates you most beloved of God, Archmandrite Nikodhim, to be the Bishop of Boston, which enjoys the protection of Almighty God; therefore, let us pray for him that the Grace of the All-Holy Spirit may come upon him.
Bishop-Elect Nikodhim rises and then piece by piece he is ceremonially clothed in the vestments of Bishop. With each piece, Metropolitan says: He is worthy! The clergy and parishioners repeat after him: HE IS WORTHY! It will be repeated in Greek and in Albanian: AXIOS! I DENJE! This will be the only Albanian word spoken during the ceremony as English is the common Lithurgical language in the OCA.
The Liturgy proceeds. Metropolitan directs Bishop Nikodhim to the episcopal throne with the words:
Blessed are you that sit on the cherubim, you that are on the throne of the glory of your kingdom, always, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
While handing the Pastoral Staff, Metropolitan says: Receive this staff to shepherd the Flock of Christ entrusted to you.
This marks the conclusion of the ordination ceremony. The reception follows and then the post-liturgy luncheon at Saint George’s. There will be no Saturday evening service.
The planning team at the Cathedral have announced that the reservations have been filled and they are expecting close to 250 people. “We look forward to welcoming over 250 people to experience the ordination of Bishop Nikodhim and the celebratory luncheon following,” said David Kosta, President, Advisory Board of Saint George Albanian Orthodox Cathedral.
On September 17th, Sunday morning at 9 am, the normal Sunday service schedule resumes. It is followed by the 10 am hierarchical liturgy presided by the newly ordained Bishop Nikodhim at Saint George’s Cathedral.
The Albanian Archdiocese was received into the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) 52 years ago. The last ceremonial ordination at Saint George Albanian Orthodox Cathedral was Reverend Nikon’s, Archbishop of Boston, New England, and the Albanian Archdiocese. He passed away on September 1, 2019. Currently Bishop Mark of Philadelphia fills that position at the Albanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America.
*Ceremony information input and photos credit of Barry Migyanko, Diocesan Administrative Assistant, OCA