We are pleased to announce that on Saturday and Sunday, August 23 and 24, His Eminence the Most Reverend Nikon, will make a pastoral visit to St. Barbara Orthodox Church. Archbishop Nikon is the ruling hierarch of the Diocese of New England, and of the Albanian Archdiocese of the Orthodox Church in America. He is also the locum tenens -- the temporary episcopal overseer -- of the Diocese of the South, until we nominate and consecrate a Bishop for our Diocese.
His Eminence studied at both St. Tikhon's and St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminaries. He was ordained to the priesthood the same year as Archbishop Dmitri's episcopal consecration, 1969. He is one of the few American Orthodox hierarchs who was married during his priestly ministry. For just over 30 years both he and his wife Sarah served the Church admirably out of their love for Christ. "In the year 2000 his beloved wife reposed in Fr. Nikon's arm, after battling cancer. His Beatitude Metropolitan Theodosius presided at her funeral." (OCA Biography)
As a priest, "Bishop Nikon was well-known for his pastoral acumen and broad-based ministerial sensitivity and experience...In addition to his pastoral ministry, Archbishop Nikon served as President of the Greater Detroit Council of Orthodox Churches and Chaplain for the Wayne State University Orthodox Christian Fellowship. He is also credited with administrating a health and hospitalization insurance plan for area clergy. He also appeared on numerous live television and radio programs, broadcasting to the faithful and those interested in the Orthodox faith. Notably, he was a project coordinator for “The Voice of Orthodoxy,” established by New England’s Russian Orthodox Layman’s League, and he served as editor of “The Vine,” the newspaper of the Albanian Archdiocese, and as Dean of the Great Lakes Deanery." (Ibid)
In addition, as a priest Archbishop Nikon served under Archbishop Dmitri who was the ruling hierarch of New England at the time. He also worked with Archbishop Dmitri on the Holy Synod of Bishops, from 2002 until 2009. He was consecrated Bishop on May 25, 2002.
Activities During and in Preparation for the Visit:
In light of his past friendship and working relationship with Archbishop Dmitri, I have asked Archbishop Nikon to share with us -- during his stay -- some anecdotes and personal stories regarding His Eminence, in addition to imparting some fatherly advice with us as we continue the work of the Church in the Ft. Worth and Dallas area.
Two receptions will be held in honor of His Eminence's visit: one just after Vespers on Saturday, August 23, and the other after the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday, August 24. The Sunday reception is Potluck; a sign-up sheet may be found in the Church hall for people to designate dishes that they can bring on Sunday, August 24. The "theme" for both receptions is, "A Hearty Texas Welcome to His Eminence." Suggested dishes found on the sign-up sheet are consistent with this theme. (Please note: Vespers on Saturday the 23rd will be at 5 pm.)
In conjunction with Archbishop Nikon's visit, special rehearsals for both the choir and servers will be conducted as preparation. Servers will meet with myself and/or Vitaly Permiakov, Sunday, August 10, after the Divine Liturgy; Thursday night, August 14 after Vespers (the Eve of Dormition); Wednesday, August 20 (after Vespers and Panikhida); and then a final brief run through on Saturday evening, August 23, near the end of the Archbishop's evening reception.
Rehearsals with choir members are being coordinated with Nicholas Zebrun.
Words Concerning Protocol:
When greeting the Archbishop, before formal conversation takes place, it is traditional to extend one's hands for a blessing (right hand in the left), accompanying this gesture with the words, "Master bless." The Archbishop will make the sign of the Cross, lay his hand in ours, and we then kiss his hand.
Also, It is proper and customary that the faithful be in the Church awaiting the arrival of the Archbishop as our father in Christ. Therefore, we ask that everyone please be in the Church prior to the start of each service that weekend. People bringing food for the Sunday Potluck, please arrive at the Church no later than 9:20 am, so that we may all be in the Church at 9:30 am, awaiting the arrival of His Eminence.
We invite all of our friends and members to join us for this very important weekend and to greet and speak with the Archbishop as time allows.
As always should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me. Questions concerning the Potluck meal on August 24 may be addressed to Zach or Tiera Lueth, and to Matushka Christine Zebrun. Thank you.