Where the Bishop Is There Is The Church

On Tuesday, November 27th, the long-awaited and much-anticipated consecration to the episcopacy of His Grace, Bishop-Elect Gregory will take place at our Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Johnstown. This will be the third time in our storied history that this ancient ceremony will take place in the Mother Church of our Diocese. Bishop Peter was consecrated here in 1963 and Bishop John in 1966, with Archbishop Iakovos being the Main Consecrator for both hierarchs. Once again, we will have a Chief Shepherd—the Diocesan Episcopal Throne, vacant since the passing of our beloved Metropolitan Nicholas some 18 months ago, will finally be filled.

 St. Ignatius of Antioch, whose life spanned the latter years of the first century and the early years of the second, is credited with these profound words: “Where the bishop is, there is the Church.”  The clergy and laity alike of our Diocese have grown to appreciate the wisdom of this quote over the past year and a half. Symbolically, the Church is often referred to as a “ship” navigating us through the turbulent waters of life on the journey to salvation. To be sure, we have “stayed the course,” largely through the efforts and spiritual guidance of His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios, our Locum Tenens and the day-to-day supervision of Diocesan business by Protopresbyter Frank P. Miloro, our Chancellor, with assistance from the priests of the Consistory and the Board of Trustees. Our Diocese has remained healthy, both spiritually and materially. Still, something has been lacking. To put it plainly, our ship has been without a “captain” much too long. Throughout our 75 years of existence, our bishops had always been highly visible contributors to all aspects of Diocesan life. They visited our churches frequently for celebrations and anniversaries. They were present at ACRY Conventions and Bowling Tournaments, as well as summer sessions with our children at Camp Nazareth. They were part of the life of our Christ the Saviour Seminary, taking an active role in the nurturing of our future priests. They were that much-needed “connection” between our parishes and the larger body of the Church. They were truly “archpastors” and we, their faithful flock, all knew their voice.

We eagerly look forward to hearing the voice of our new Shepherd and having that vital “connection” with the Diocese reestablished. Soon His Grace will be traveling the length and width of our far-flung Diocese, consecrating churches, making archpastoral visitations, giving retreats and lectures and making his presence felt among our faithful. This will be an exciting time for us as he leads us into a new phase of our history and “brings the Church” to us again. May we all join in offering fervent prayers to our Heavenly Father for the health of Bishop-Elect Gregory as he begins his episcopal ministry.

Protopresbyter Michael S Rosco