With great joy and liturgical grandeur the ordination of Bishop Raphael of Ilion took place at the Church of St Panteleimon and St Paraskevi in Harrow, North-West London, on the feast of the Forty-Martyrs of Sebaste. It was the first ordination of a bishop in our archdiocese for 25 and the first time since 1982 that someone based outside London has been consecrated to serve as a Bishop in the Archdiocese.
The Divine Liturgy was presided by His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain and concelebrated by their Eminences Metropolitans Athanasios of Koloniea and Silouan of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch.
It truly was an honour to not only be present but to serve at this historic event. His Grace Bishop Raphael of Ilion has been a friend of Father Stephen’s and mine for many years. His Grace is a deeply humble man. He said of his ordination:
“I did not seek it, I am not prepared for it, and certainly do not deserve it … However, I am encouraged and strengthened by the fact that my acceptance of this high call was made—I hope—out of obedience, first and foremost, to the Holy Triune God, Whose inscrutable Providence brought me to this point and Whose holy will is the only thing I want to do in my life, despite my many weaknesses and mistakes. To Him only is due all glory, honour, worship and thanksgiving.”1
His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas said in return:
“You left your native land, the island of Lesvos … you have become one with the people of Scotland and the faithful of the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain. You have demonstrated the true qualities of a priest … and in every aspect of his life because your soul is decorated with the virtues of humility, love, prayer and inner peace…”2
This is a great moment for our archdiocese. It clearly demonstrates His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas’s commitment to the pastoral care of our archdiocese and his mission to urgently spread the gospel to the people of this land. In the words of Bishop Raphael:
“His Eminence has earned our love and trust with his affection, kindness and care for us all, but also with his education, evangelical view of events, and his vision for a local Church that will manifest Christ, and embrace and transform all without discrimination.”
On the 21 March, the Sunday of Orthodoxy, His Grace Bishop-elect Iakovos of Claudiopolis will be ordained at the church of the Holy Apostle Andrew, Kentish Town. Please pray for both our new bishop and bishop-elect that they may be given great strength to perform their episcopal duties.
For a gallery of photographs and the full text of the addresses of His Grace Bishop Raphael of Ilion and His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira please see: https://www.thyateira.org.uk/news/events/ordination-of-bishop-raphael-of-ilion/
Axioi!!! Axioi!!! Axioi!!!