On June 29, the feast of the Glorious Leaders of the Apostles Peter and Paul, Bishop +Benedict (Aleksiychuk) was solemnly enthroned as the bishop of Saint Nicholas Eparchy at the cathedral in Chicago, IL. Patriarch +Sviatoslav celebrated festal Great Vespers with Litya on the eve of the feast, with several bishops concelebrating and a number of priests present. On the day of the feast Festal Matins was sung. After Matins, Patriarch +Sviatoslav celebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with the rite of enthronement. At the time of the Little Entrance Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, read the Papal Bull approving the Ukrainian Synod’s selection of Bishop Benedict as Bishop of Chicago. Fr. Richard Janowicz, now-former administrator of our eparchy, read the letter from Patriarch +Sviatoslav proclaiming the decision of the Synod. Ukrainian archbishop of Philadelphia Metropolitan +Stefan then gave a word of welcome. Following these things, Bishop +Benedict made his public profession of faith and was led to his throne by the Patriarch who declared him “axios!” (worthy!). Bishop +Benedict was then greeted at his throne by the patriarch and the other Ukrainian bishops of the United States, as well as all the other bishops and clergy present.
During his homily Patriarch +Sviatoslav referenced the immense size of the Chicago eparchy, since it is the largest of our Church, and predicted that it will become our most dynamic eparchy. “But at the same moment, at the same time, Apostle Paul was saying to us that that eparchy has a specific characteristic because it unites people not only of the Ukrainian background or origins – that eparchy prays and celebrates Divine Liturgy both in English and in Ukrainian, but many tomorrow following the spirit of St Paul, you will pray even in Spanish and Chinese, because we are Ukrainian church, but not a church for Ukrainians. We are a church of Christ, with the universal message of his gospel, which is opened to everybody who wants to receive the eternal life through the ministry of the new bishop to proclaim the word of God, to sanctify the people of God with the sacraments, and to govern that church in the name of Christ.”
At the end of the Divine Liturgy Bishop +Venedykt and Patriarch +Sviatoslav awarded Fr. Richard Janowicz the jeweled cross for his service to the eparchy as Apostolic Administrator, and declared him “axios!” (“he is worthy!”) . Fr. Richard served as administrator for the ten months our eparchial see was vacant.
The Enthronement Liturgy was concelebrated by Bishop +Benedict, the other Ukrainian Catholic bishops from the United States, Metropolitan +Stefan and Bishops +Paul, +Bohdan, and +John, as well as a number of bishops from various jurisdictions from across the United States, Canada, and Ukraine. Ukrainian Orthodox Metropolitan +Anthony and Archbishop +Daniel attended the Enthronement to welcome Bishop +Benedict “in a spirit of ecumenical brotherly love.”
Our pastor Fr. David Anderson was present at the events and concelebrated the Enthronement Liturgy. Also present with Fr. David was friend of our parish, Father Andrew Summerson.
Martin Nagy, one of two seminarians for Saint Nicholas Eparchy, served Matins and Divine Liturgy, and had the opportunity to meet both Bishop +Benedict and Patriarch +Sviatoslav. Martin is a parishioner of Saint Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Catholic Church in Tucson, Arizona.
More photos of the Divine Liturgy and Enthronement can been be found here courtesy of Saint Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral.