Your Grace Bishop-Elect Ambrosios of Eudokias
Following the proposal of our Modesty and the subsequent canonical election by the Holy and Sacred Synod of our Apostolic Throne, you were recently elected Bishop of the ancient Episcopal See of Eudokia, and thus today, in the Holy Church of Saint Alypius in Attaleia, you will receive the grace of Archpriesthood.
The Holy and Great Church of Christ rejoices and is glad at the worthy promotion and ordination of one of her dedicated sons, who has been called to minister to the Holy Metropolis of Pisidia and its God-sustained flock as Auxiliary Bishop to our dearly beloved brother, His Eminence Metropolitan Sotirios of Pisidia. Metropolitan Sotirios holds you in high esteem for your service to this devout community, for your many pastoral skills, your piety and solemnity, and your respect for the Ecumenical Throne.
We praise the Builder of the Church, for He has given unto her His Eminence Metropolitan Sotirios of Pisidia, the apostle and missionary, quick to sacrifice and love, the friend of saints and of people, the ascetic, the man of prayer and the spiritual father, who is to his children a loving archpastor, who knows their true needs and bears and treats their ailments. Metropolitan Sotirios is a fervent preacher of the Gospel, who has brought and still brings the “words of eternal life” (John 6:68) to the depths of people’s souls and unto the ends of the oikoumene. He has bore and still bears witness to the “hope that is in us,” according to the manner laid out by the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church (Crete, June 2016): “not aggressively or by different forms of proselytism, but in love, humility and respect towards the identity of each person and the cultural particularity of each people” (Preamble, The Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today’s World). We exhort you to follow the bright example of your Metropolitan and take inspiration from his spiritual and missionary zeal, to illumine the hearts and minds of people, young and old, cultivating in them the holy desire for eternity.
After your theological studies in Thessaloniki, Boston and Saint Petersburg, you joined the holy ranks of the clergy in 2008, serving the Holy and Great Church of Christ as Grand Synkellos beginning in 2013, always fulfilling your many duties with exemplary dedication, and ministering to the Slavic-speaking Orthodox faithful, especially those residing in the Holy Metropolis of Pisidia. We would also like to take this opportunity to commemorate our dearly departed brother Metropolitan Pavlos of Sissanion and Siatista, who was a gifted shepherd and who greatly loved God, his fellow man, holy monasticism and asceticism. Metropolitan Pavlos lovingly looked after the young people of his flock for their growth in Christ, and who, when the time came, he gladly released a priest of his Metropolis, Archimandrite Ambrosios, to come and serve the spiritual needs in south-western Turkey and everywhere in this country where Russian-speaking faithful reside. May his memory be eternal!
Around the world, the clergy of the Ecumenical Throne, in their liturgical, spiritual and pastoral work, have the duty to represent and express the spirit of the First Throne of Orthodoxy, which has been blessed by the Giver of good to be inheritor and guardian of the Tradition of the Apostles and Fathers. This Tradition is made up of the Saints and Martyrs of our Faith, its dogma and ecclesial ethos, the proclamation of the Gospel “to the ends of the earth,” the devout character and piety of clergy, the ascetic struggles of monastics, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection that characterize the life of its Christ-loving flock, a liturgical life of thanksgiving, its blessed pastoral ministry, and the foretaste of the ineffable joy of the Kingdom of God in the Holy Eucharist: the “eucharistic reality of the Church,” which stands against the “temptations of history” and the distortion of its eschatological identity.
Your Grace, today you are elevated to the rank of bishop of the Church. Saint John Chrysostom reminds bishops of the great significance of their boundless dedication to their flock and their great care in guiding the faithful to return to Christ, since the salvation of a single soul is “of such great worth, that the Son of God became man and suffered” (PG 60, 40). The bishop does not belong to himself. He is never idle or careless, he does not rest, he does not await in his “room,” for he realizes that “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Matthew 9:37). Whatever he does, he does it with all of his soul, with a love that does not “seek its own,” with voluntary self-offering in accordance to the Gospel — “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).
You are being called to serve the Church of Christ in a setting and context with special circumstances. You must be simple, meek and sensitive to people’s suffering, being both caring and loving. “The proof of a true shepherd is love. It was for love that the Great Shepherd was crucified” (The Ladder of Divine Ascent). “Whatever you do, may it be for the glory of God and the building up of the faithful. May your voice be strong in calling out the only name under heaven “by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12), “the name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9) of our Savior Christ. Whatever we are and whatever we have is a gift of His grace. Whatever we do is a work of the Lord who works through us in His Holy Church.
To conclude our words on this sacred day, we have often underscored and repeated that a bishop of the Church is first and foremost a “liturgist,” the head of the Eucharistic Synaxis. All of his efforts, ministry, spiritual and pastoral work, are an extension of the grace and blessing of the eucharistic experience, the inexhaustible source from whence all of ecclesial life is nourished. Let us pray, holy brothers and beloved sons in the Lord, that the mercy of God may uphold this new Bishop in the work of ministering to His people.
Come now, Your Grace. Enter with thanksgiving and the fear of God into the Holy of Holies to receive from the Comforter, the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and abides in the Son, through the hands of our Modesty and our brother concelebrants, the grace beyond understanding and the gift of the third rank of the priesthood, to become a Bishop of the Holy and Great Church of Christ.