On the evening of September 1, 2020, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, together with many clergy and faithful of the Connecticut Deanery of the Diocese of New England, served the memorial service for His Eminence Archbishop Nikon on the one year anniversary of his falling asleep. The memorial service was held in the large pavilion at Three Saints Park, Bethany, CT, which is owned by Three Saints Church, Ansonia, CT. All clergy present served, and the hymns were beautifully sung by a small mixed choir. The service was streamed on the Facebook page of Three Saints Church.
Following the service, His Beatitude offered some words in memoriam of Archbishop Nikon, observing that His Eminence “was a priest in his whole being.” Archpriest John Hopko, the Dean of the Connecticut Deanery, thanked everyone for helping to organize the memorial and for being present in memory of His Eminence, and offered thanks for the beauty of the outdoor service. His Beatitude’s comments are below.
His Eminence Archbishop Nikon, for many years, was entrusted with the leadership of two dioceses, the Albanian Archdiocese and the Diocese of New England. His Eminence is deeply missed by the clergy and faithful of both dioceses he administrated. His personal warmth and pastoral care have been recently noted in a reflection by Archpriest Sergius Halvorsen.
Remarks of His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon
Three Saints Orthodox Church
September 1, 2020
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
We gather today to honor the ever-memorable departed servant of God Archbishop Nikon. We offer the hymns of this memorial service with the confidence that he has found rest and peace in the mansions of heaven.
The Holy Apostle Paul reminds us that: None of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.1
The ever-memorable servant of God, Archbishop Nikon lived, preached, and served with the heart of one who longed to make real these words of the Apostle. He always care for others more than he cared for himself, as a shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep.
He was a priest in his whole being, as a brother and concelebrant to the members of the Holy Synod, as Father and Archpastor to Diocese of New England, as well as to the Albanian Archdiocese and, as locum tenens, to the Diocese of the South.
Archbishop Nikon entered into his rest on September 1st, the day which marks the beginning of the Ecclesiastical New Year. We gather on that same date, one year later and we are mindful both of the sorrow that his parting has brought and of the joy that his life and ministry has given to us.
It is fitting that the Lord should have taken him from us on that day of renewal, the day on which we bless the crown of the ecclesiastical new year, reminding us that, though he has departed from our midst, we ought to pay attention to the new beginning that is offered to all of us, the new beginning that is revealed, not only in the Church New Year but in the light of the resurrection of Christ and in the hope of our own resurrection.
On behalf of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, I extend the condolences of our entire Church to the family and friends who have gathered here today on behalf of the entire Diocese of New England, which Archbishop Nikon served so faithfully. I am certain that he would be humbled and perhaps a little embarrassed to know that the first occasion for a large number of his clergy to gather around the locum tenens in person during this pandemic would be his own memorial service. But for all of us it is a great honor and a moving testimony to his ability to gather clergy and faithful together in the love of Christ and the unity of the Holy Spirit.
May we all remain grateful for his person, his ministry, and his great example, and may we heed what surely would have been his exhortation to us today: to place our hope and our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.
May Archbishop Nikon’s memory be eternal!
1 Romans 14:6-9, Epistle V, page 34.