Enthronement of His Grace Bishop Alexander
Enthronement of His Grace Bishop Alexander
Bishop of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York
St. Elias Cathedral, Ottawa
Sunday June 12, 2005
On June 12, Ottawa witnessed a marvellous weekend blessed by the presence of our beloved Hierarchs, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip and His Grace Bishop Alexander. On Saturday afternoon, the day before the Enthronement, Bishop Alexander met in the Cathedral Hall with the Youth of the Cathedral. His Grace was able to answer the questions of our youth and parishioners interested in learning more about their faith. The meeting was ended so that Vespers could begin. At 6 p.m. His Eminence Metropolitan Philip was met in the narthex by Bishop Alexander and all of our diocesan Clergy who came for the occasion. There were also several other clergymen representing our ecumenical brothers in Ottawa. Great Vespers was presided by His Eminence Metropolitan Philip and concelebrated by His Grace Bishop Alexander, and assisted in the Altar by the V. Rev. Fr. Ghattas Hajal, Dean of the Cathedral and the Rev. Fr. Mark Wyatt, assistant Priest of the Cathedral.
Sunday Morning began with Matins and led into the Divine Liturgy with Metropolitan Philip presiding and Bishop Alexander concelebrating once again. Assisting were the clergy of the Cathedral together with the V. Rev. Economos Antony Gabriel pastor of St. George, Montreal, Fr. Terence Baz pastor of St Elias, Syracuse, Archdeacon Hans and Deacon Mark O’Dell of Holy Cross in Linthicum, MD. The Church was crowded with the clergy and the faithful who came to participate in this historic event. In addition to the faithful who travelled from all the churches of the Diocese were relatives of Bishop Alexander from the US and Canada and some of his previous parishioners from Baltimore. The Enthronement took place at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy which was beautifully chanted by the choirs of the Cathedral. At that point, Bishop Alexander was given hisPastoral Staff by Metropolitan Philip to “Shepherd the obedient and discipline the disobedient”. He was then escorted, amidst much cheering and applause, by Fr. Ghattas Hajal, the Dean of the Cathedral and Fr. Antony Gabriel, the Senior Priest of the Diocese to officially ascend his Throne as the first Bishop of Ottawa, East Canada and Upstate New York. Bishop Alexander then delivered his enthronement speech.
In his speech, Bishop Alexander spoke about our embracing Antiochian heritage of “liturgy, art and music that has the capacity to inspire and transform lives”. He continued to say: “Being enthroned in this priestly throne on this Sunday of the Holy Fathers, I am mindful of the responsibility which the church entrusts to me. At the same time, I know my weaknesses. For under the glitter of the mitre and behind the shine of the staff is a human being who firmly believes in the help of God….” His Grace went on to explain the role of the bishop in the church as leader of the faithful and teacher and protector of the faith “he (the bishop) is sent to the faithful of his diocese to nourish them spiritually, in as much as they want to be fed with the bread of life, to protect them in as much as they want to be protected by the teachings of the Gospel, and to lead them, also in as much as they want to be led into the kingdom of heaven”. Bishop Alexander concluded his speech asking for the support of all the faithful of the Diocese, thanking them for participating in his enthronement and invoking God’s blessings on them.
Twenty-two new members were inducted into the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch by His Eminence Metropolitan Philip. A coffee-hour hosted by the Cathedral followed the Enthronement.
In the early evening a cocktail party preceded the Enthronement Banquet at the St. Elias Banquet Centre. The mood was festive. Several speeches were given. Metropolitan Philip aroused the crowd with laughter by his unusual humour before he introduced Bishop Alexander who spoke about his life journey into the service of the Church thanking the Metropolitan for his vision and for allowing himself to become “an instrument in the hands of God” leading the Archdiocese into the great one it has become. Delicious food was served, guests were welcomed and made to feel at home, and our Bishop Alexander became part of the “St. Elias Ottawa-Family”.
God grant you many years, O Master!
Eis Polla Eti Despota!
Among the distinguished guests who were in attendance at either or all of the events of the weekend was H. E. Archbishop Gervais of the Roman Catholic Church of Ottawa), the Most Rev. Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim of the Melkite Archdiocese of Canada, Rev. Thomas Cassidy, OMI and Monseigneur Michael Crosty both representing the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Luigi Ventura, Rt. Rev. Archbishop Soliren Kataroyan of the Armenian Orthodox Church, Archpriest Alex Michalopoulos representing H.E. Metropolitan Sotirios of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto, H.E. Mr. Jamil Sakr (Ambassador of Syria) and Mrs. Hend Sakr, Mr. Oussama Khachab (Consul of Lebanon) representing the Ambassador of Lebanon, H.E. Mr. Raymond Baaklini, , H.E. Mr. Fouad Ayoub (Ambassador of Jordan) & Mrs. Marie Ayoub, and Mr. Ernest Saykaly (Vice-Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Trustees).