On Saturday, February 2nd, 2020, clergy and faithful of the Romanian Episcopate of the Orthodox Church in America gathered at Saint George Cathedral here for the celebration of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, during which Bishop-elect Andrei (Hoarste) was ordained to the Episcopacy as Bishop of Cleveland, Auxiliary to His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel.
The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America elected Archimandrite Andrei as Bishop-elect of Cleveland during its Regular Fall Session on Tuesday, November 12, 2019.
On the eve of the ordination, Archimandrite Andrei celebrated Great Vespers for the feast of Holy martyr Tryphon. Immediately following Great Vespers His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, together with the other bishops, celebrated the Nomination and Proclamation of a Bishop.
Concelebrating with His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon were His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit, His Eminence Metropolitan Gregory of Nyssa of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of North America, His Eminence Metropolitan Nicolae of the Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of America and Canada of the Patriarchate of Romania, His Eminence Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco, His Eminence Archbishop Irénée of Ottawa, His Eminence Archbishop Michael of New York, His Eminence Archbishop Alexander of Dallas, His Eminence Archbishop David of Sitka, His Grace Bishop Paul of Chicago, and His Grace Bishop Alexis of Bethesda.
Before the beginning of the Divine Liturgy on Saturday morning, Bishop-elect Andrei offered his statement of faith, proclaiming the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, and offered a detailed explanation of the Church’s Trinitarian and Christological doctrines in the presence of Metropolitan Tikhon and the assembled hierarchs, clergy, and faithful. He pledged his commitment to uphold the Church’s canons and the teachings of the Holy Fathers and to preserve unity with his brother bishops.
During the singing of the Trisagion at the Divine Liturgy, Archpriest Alexander Rentel, Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, and Archpriest Laurence Lazar, Dean of Saint George Cathedral and Secretary of the Episcopate Council, presented Bishop-elect Andrei to the bishops in the altar. With the open Gospel Book placed over Bishop-elect Andrei’s head Metropolitan Tikhon proclaimed, “By the election and approbation of all the Venerable Bishops of the Holy Synod, the Grace Divine, which always heals that which is infirm and fulfills that which is lacking through the Laying-on-of-Hands, elevates you, most beloved of God, Archimandrite Andrei, to be the Bishop of Cleveland, which enjoys the protection of Almighty God…. O Lord our God Who, in that it is impossible for the nature of man to endure the Essence of the Godhead, in Thy Providence hast provided for us teachers of like nature with ourselves to maintain Thine Altar, that they may offer to Thee sacrifices and oblations for all Thy People. O Lord, make this man also, who has been proclaimed a steward of the Episcopal Grace, to be an imitator of Thee, Who art the True Shepherd, Who laid down Thy Life for Thy sheep. Grant that he will be a leader of the blind, a light to those in darkness, a reprover of the unwise, a teacher of the young, a lamp to the world. Grant also that he, having perfected the souls entrusted to him in this present life, may stand unashamed before Thy Throne, and that he may receive the great reward which Thou hast prepared for those who have fought with valor for the preaching of the Gospel.”
In his homily, Metropolitan Tikhon asked all the faithful to pray daily for Bishop Andrei and offered this personal prayer for the newly ordained bishop, “ We pray that he may be the bishop that God has called him to be, a bishop who preaches the Gospel at all times. We pray that his flock and indeed the entire world might see Christ through him. And in this way, in seeing Christ through the bishop, the entire world will be inspired and enlivened to struggle more and more in their daily lives.”
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Tikhon presented Bishop Andrei with the pastoral staff, signifying his responsibility and authority as Bishop of Cleveland, and offered the following words of exhortation:
Your Grace, Bishop Andrei, newly ordained bishop of the city of Cleveland:
On behalf of all the bishops, clergy, monastics, and faithful of the Orthodox Church in America, and on behalf of all those who have gathered here today to give expression to the fullness of the Church: I wholeheartedly congratulate you on your ordination as auxiliary bishop to His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel. His Eminence has faithfully served as the Father of this Episcopate for 40 years and it is fitting for him now to receive an auxiliary bishop to assist him in the heavy pastoral and administrative burdens that belong to a diocesan bishop. His Eminence has brought you forward, has prepared you, and now will guide you with his fatherly care and brotherly encouragement as you embark on this sacred work for the Episcopate and for the Orthodox Church in America.
Through the mystery of the All-Holy Spirit and the laying on of hands, our Lord has bestowed upon you the apostolic grace for your Episcopal ministry and labors.
My dear brother, I pray that our Lord will grant you good health and the fullness of spiritual gifts so that you may with patience and humility nourish the people of God and be a witness to all those who are searching and seeking for the healing offered by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Archimandrite Roman Braga, of blessed memory, reminds us that, “The unity of the Orthodox Church as we see it today is not explained only through the fact that in our Church we can prove genealogically how one bishop follows another since the time of the Apostles. The authenticity of faith is realized first of all in sacramental communion. Apostolic succession takes place in the context of the sacramental life of the local church, and not only through individual transmission. True succession is given, therefore, through the continuity of faith and of the life of each successive generation of Christians who were in communion with the Church. Only in this way does Apostolic succession keep and transmit the fullness of the faith, actualized and recognized as the work of the Holy Spirit Himself.”
Your Grace, Bishop Andrei of Cleveland, you are now called to be an uncompromising guardian of this living tradition, but you do not stand alone or in isolation in this task. You have with you today, and before you in the past, countless examples of good, kind, and faithful pastors. Follow their examples, both in strength and in weakness. Among the first, look to Saint Andrei Shaguna, your patron saint, and the martyr Tryphon whose memory we celebrate on this day, to find your inspiration and consolation, and a model of humility and gratitude for God’s divine blessings in your life.
Following the exhortation of Metropolitan Tikhon, Bishop Andrei addressed His Beatitude, all the bishops, clergy and faithful noting that he begins this ministry of the Church, “with a sincere trembling of heart, but also with a youthful hope, knowing that the Lord desires that all man should be saved and come to the knowledge of Truth.”
Bishop Andrei, who is especially known for his good work, and close bond with young people, offered a special note to the youth of the Church, “To the young people especially, I say with all my heart, do not fear the Mother – our Church, do not have fear of asking and inquiring in your quest to know the Truth. Turn to the Church for wisdom, for guidance, for protection, for love and compassion… No one does it better than Christ our Lord in His Church.” His Grace went on to encourage young people to, “…not be afraid of this world for God is with us. I am young as well. We all have fears. But let us walk together and as the words of prophet Micah show us clearly: The Lord has shown you what is good. He has told you what he requires of you: You must act with justice. You must love to show mercy. And you must be humble as you live in the sight of your God (Micah 6:8).”
Bishop Andrei continued his address by thanking those who have helped him along his path in the Church. Most notably His Grace thanked the Lord for his parents Mariana and Florin and his sister Iuliana, “who have always been a patient support and loving refuge for me. Thank you, mom and dad.” His Grace went on to recount his family’s journey to the United States with the following words, “Only the Lord knew why, we left Romania 23 years ago and came to an unknown world, here in the United States. The Church, through the parish of Saints Peter and Paul in Dearborn Heights, Father Romey and Preoteasa Mary Ellen, received us lovingly here and helped us establish our new home. The courage and perseverance of my parents, along with the prayers and support of my grandparents Eugenia and Augustin and of aunts, uncles, cousins and the rest of my family from Europe, made difficulties a bit easier to bear and gave us hope when hope seemed to be lost in the new world.” You can read Bishop Andrei’s address in its entirety in English and Romanian.
On Sunday, February 2nd, the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple, His Grace celebrated the Divine Liturgy in his cathedral of Saint Mary, Cleveland, Ohio. His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel, and His Eminence Archbishop Benjamin prayed in the altar during the Divine Liturgy.