His Grace Bishop Alexis of Bethesda nominated as the episcopal candidate for the Diocese of Sitka and Alaska
His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon presided at the 51st annual Saint Herman Pilgrimage on August 7-9, 2021. Joining His Beatitude were His Grace Bishop Daniel of Santa Rosa and His Grace Bishop Alexis of Bethesda, Locum Tenens of the Diocese of Sitka and Alaska. Traveling with His Beatitude and participating in the pilgrimage, was also Priest Alessandro Margheritino, Secretary of the Orthodox Church in America.
His Beatitude arrived in Anchorage, AK on the evening of August 6, the great Feast of the Transfiguration, and was warmly welcomed at the airport by a delegation of clergy, choir, and faithful led by Bishop Alexis.
On Saturday, August 7, the Feast of Saint Jacob Netsvetov, His Beatitude presided at the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the Saint Innocent Cathedral in Anchorage. Concelebrating with His Beatitude were Bishop Daniel, Bishop Alexis, and twenty-three priests from the Diocese of Sitka and Alaska.
On the afternoon of Saturday, August 7, His Beatitude presided at the special Diocesan Assembly convened for the purpose of nominating a candidate as Diocesan Bishop in accordance to Article VIII, section 7 of the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America. In his opening remarks, His Beatitude remembered the late Archbishop David and intoned “Memory Eternal.” His Eminence was also remembered during the Divine Liturgy earlier that morning. The Assembly unanimously nominated Bishop Alexis to be the Bishop of the Diocese of Sitka and Alaska. His Beatitude will present this nomination to the Holy Synod at its Regular Fall 2021 Meeting for canonical election. In his remarks at the conclusion of the assembly, Bishop Alexis recounted his first trip to Alaska at the invitation of the late Archbishop David, and shared that, in his first trip to Spruce Island, he was particularly moved by the unique purity of that blessed land.
Following the Diocesan Assembly, His Beatitude, the two hierarchs, and many of the faithful and clergy present at the morning celebration, headed to the Anchorage airport to board on a flight to Kodiak and begin the pilgrimage.
On Sunday morning, August 8, Metropolitan Tikhon presided at the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the Holy Resurrection Cathedral where the relics of Saint Herman are enshrined. In his homily, His Beatitude spoke about vocations, and especially the ultimate vocation for each human being to become vessels of grace.
Immediately following the Divine Liturgy, the clergy and pilgrims gathered for a meal offered by the Cathedral community. Later that day, the Vigil for the Feast of Saint Herman was celebrated, and the pilgrims were able to to venerate his relics placed in the middle of the nave.
The following morning, August 9, Metropolitan Tikhon, Bishop Daniel, Bishop Alexis, the clergy and the pilgrims departed soon after sunrise to Spruce Island by boat to celebrate the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the chapel of Saints Sergius and Herman of Valaam.
In addition to many clergy and laity from the Orthodox Church in America, specifically from the Diocese of Alaska, clergy and faithful from many other churches concelebrated at the Divine Liturgy and participated in the pilgrimage. Bishop Daniel offered the homily in which he stressed that each pilgrim for the Feast of Saint Herman comes with a unique story to share. Yet, pilgrims have in common the one story of salvation in Jesus Christ, a story they are asked to share with everyone.
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Tikhon and Bishop Daniel were once again welcomed by Bishop Alexis who also welcomed all the pilgrims who came from various parts of Alaska and North America. His Beatitude expressed his joy and thanksgiving for being able to be a pilgrim once again on this most important feast in the mother Diocese of the Orthodox Church in America.
His Beatitude and the pilgrims returned to Kodiak in the early afternoon.