On the eve of the consecration, at a prayer service sung by the consecrating bishops, the announcement of the canonical election of Archpriest Stephen Fitzgerald as Bishop of San Francisco by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America was read by the Chancellor, Fr. Daniel Hubiak. (Fr. Stephen was given the name Tikhon at the time of his monastic tonsure, after his election by the Holy Synod.) Bishop-elect Tikhon gave his acceptance speech (see page six) and was the celebrant of the Vespers service immediately after the announcement of his election.
On the day of the consecration, before the Divine Liturgy was begun, Bishop-elect Tikhon made his public confession of faith. After the Thrice-holy was sung in the Divine Liturgy, the celebrating bishops laid the open book of the Holy Gospels on the head of the bishop-elect, and then laid their hands on his head, while Metropolitan Theodosius as presiding bishop read the prayers of the order of consecration. As the episcopal vestments were placed on Bishop Tikhon, the presiding hierarch and other consecrating bishops, the clergy, and the choir and people exclaimed "Axios" ("He is worthy").
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy Metropolitan Theodosius first delivered his exhortation to the new Bishop of San Francisco (see page seven) and then presented to him the episcopal staff, with which Bishop Tikhon ascended the episcopal cathedra to give his blessing to his diocese and the clergy and people of the diocese.
Thirty vested priests of the Orthodox Church in America, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, and the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, including Fr. Peter Gillquist of the Evangelical Orthodox Mission, took part in the Divine Liturgy. Over 450 worshipers were present and partook of Holy Communion.
Among the invited guests were Bishop Swing of the Episcopal Diocese of San Francisco, and the personal representative of Archbishop Quinn of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco.
The Diocese of the West
The Orthodox Church in Americašs Diocese of the West is comprised of twenty-eight parishes and missions in eleven western states. It is, territorially, the largest diocese in the Orthodox Church in America. After the sale of Alaska to the United States by Russia in 1867, the diocesan see of the Orthodox Mission for North America was moved to San Francisco in 1870. Although the diocesan see was moved to New York in 1903, San Francisco remained an important historic center for Orthodox Christians throughout North America, and also remained as a church center for the western states.
The huge diocese is divided into four deaneries -- Pacific Central, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Southwest, and Rocky Mountain.
The Orthodox Church, July 1987, p. 1.
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