On Sunday, May 10, 2015 His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon traveled an hour west of Dallas to spend an evening with parishioners and friends of St. Barbara Orthodox Church in Ft. Worth, Texas. His Beatitude's visit came at the end of a long weekend of hierarchical services and meetings at St. Seraphim Orthodox Cathedral in Dallas.
Along with Metropolitan Tikhon, St. Barbara's was pleased to host the following OCA, Diocesan and Deanery clergy: Archimandrite Gerasim (Eliel) DOS Diocesan Administrator; Archpriest Marcus Burch (Diocesan Chancellor); Archpriest Thomas Moore (Dean, Carolinas Deanery); Archpriest John Anderson (St. Seraphim Cathedral, Dallas, TX); Archpriest Justin Frederick (St. Maximus Church, Denton, TX); Priest Photius Avant (St. Sava Church, Plano/Allen, TX); Priest David Bozeman (St. Nectarios Church, Waxahachie, TX); Protodeacon Joseph Matusiak (St. Vladimir Seminary); Deacon Gregory Norris (St. Seraphim Cathedral, Dallas, TX); and Subdeacon Roman (Assistant to the Metropolitan).
The evening began at 5 pm with the Entrance of His Beatitude. No liturgical services were scheduled that night. Even so, the faithful who were gathered greeted the Metropolitan at the door in the customary manner, with a bouquet of flowers, bread and salt, and the Cross. As the procession moved into the Church, the choir sang, "The Angel Cried..." His Beatitude venerated the Altar and blessed those present. The people responded with, "Eis Polla Eti Despota." The clergy then retired into the Church library for a meeting. The Metropolitan addressed priests and deacons as the new Diocesan Locum Tenens. Time was allotted for OCA, Diocesan and Deanery related questions.
Immediately after the clergy gathering His Beatitude blessed the food at the main reception. Approximately 115 people were present on a day when heavy storms had already been a strong factor in parts of the DFW Metroplex. Visitors from neighboring Churches and missions were among the faithful gathered.
During the meal His Beatitude offered words of greeting and opened a Q & A with those present. Several diverse questions were asked of the Metropolitan. In the beginning, however, the group seemed hesitant to address His Beatitude, until one brave teenager asked for a description of a "typical day" in the life of a Metropolitan. It was a perfect question to get things started. From that point, the questions came easily.
Following a final prayer and blessing, many people went into the Church for photos with the Metropolitan. Individual and family photos were taken, as well as group shots with clergy and children. A particularly delightful moment was experienced when His Beatitude took time to explain the meaning of the bishop's walking staff to three very inquisitive children. They seemed intensely fascinated as the Metropolitan revealed to them the secret of traveling with an Episcopal staff, by unscrewing and thus dividing it into three distinct sections.
The theme for the evening's banquet was, "A Texas Welcome." The servers, kitchen crew, greeters and organizers indeed made everyone feel welcome. The Western theme decorations, from cowboy boot toothpick holders, to the saddle, bluebonnet aprons and Lone Star floral arrangements, provided a most appropriate atmosphere within the hall. The menu was quite diverse, yet unmistakably "Texas." In spite of the weather, spirits were high: it was Pascha all over again.
Following final farewells His Beatitude headed back to Dallas in the rain to prepare for an early morning flight. The faithful of the DFW Metroplex wish to thank Metropolitan Tikhon and the many visiting clergy and laymen for a delightful weekend of prayer, business gatherings, and fellowship.
Unless otherwise noted, photos by St. Barbara's parishioners.