(OCA) - Archimandrite Alexander [Golitzin] was consecrated Bishop of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese during a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy here at Saint George Orthodox Cathedral on Saturday, May 5, 2012.
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, presided at the consecration Divine Liturgy. Concelebrating were His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel; His Grace, Bishop Nikon; His Grace, Bishop Tikhon; His Grace, Bishop Benjamin; His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek, who served as Locum Tenens of the diocese; His Grace, Bishop Michael; His Grace, Bishop Matthias; His Grace, Bishop Irineu; His Grace, Bishop Mark; and His Grace, Bishop Irenee.
Joining members of the Bulgarian Diocese were clergy and faithful from sister OCA dioceses, other Toledo-area Orthodox parishes, monastics from Saint John of Shanghai Monastery in Manton, CA, Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Elwood City, PA, and Holy Dormition Monastery in Rives Junction, MI, together with representatives from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, including seminary Dean, Archpriest John Behr, and a number of Bishop Alexander’s former students from the USA and Canada.
A special guest taking part in the consecration was Bishop Alexander’s brother, Protodeacon George Golitzin, who was representing Bishop Alexander’s family. Also in attendance were representatives from the Theology Department of Marquette University. Another special guest at Friday evening’s service was Bishop Leonard Blair, Roman Catholic Bishop of Toledo.
A choir including singers from parishes throughout the Bulgarian Diocese and guests from other OCA parishes sang the liturgical responses.
During the Liturgy, Bishop Alexander ordained Subdeacon Basil Frenchek to the diaconate.
On the evening of Friday, May 4, prior to celebrating Great Vespers, Bishop-elect Alexander made his public acceptance of his election. In his address he stated that, “when standing before the holy altar at the anaphora, the bishop images forth the one and unique High Priest, Christ, Who acts through His celebrant.” He then added that, “while it is true that our Lord Jesus is true God and true King, it is also true that He did not come to us, His creatures, with the pomp and splendor of the King, attended by the legions of heaven, but rather in humility He emptied Himself and was found in the likeness of a servant.”
Bishop-elect Alexander continued by saying, “They are very different images, the first set revelatory of the splendor of heaven, and the second of the humility, long-suffering, and charity of our Lord’s life and ministry. My first conclusion is that I must keep this difference firmly in mind throughout my life as bishop, by which I mean the glory of the liturgical iconography should have no place in my office and day-to-day demeanor. My actions, my patterns of speech, my service in short, is to be determined by the example given us by God the Word Himself.”
In June 2010, the Bulgarian Diocese initiated a search for a candidate to succeed His Eminence, Archbishop Kirill who reposed in the Lord in 2007. “Of the 22 possible candidates reviewed in the first phase of the search, after an intensive review process, two candidates were presented to the diocese’s Fifth Congress-Sobor in June 2011,” noted the diocesan Consecration Committee Chair, Archpriest Andrew Jarmus. “Bishop Alexander was the candidate elected by the Congress-Sobor’s clergy and lay delegates.”
In October 2011, the members of the OCA’s Holy Synod of Bishops elected Archimandrite Alexander Bishop of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese.
Raised at Saint Innocent Church, Tarzana, CA, Bishop Alexander received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Divinity degree from Saint Vladimir’s Seminary. He spent seven years pursuing doctoral studies at Oxford University in England under His Eminence, Metropolitan Kallistos [Ware]. During this time, he also spent two years in Greece, including one year at Simonos Petras Monastery on Mount Athos.
After receiving his D.Phil. in 1980, Bishop Alexander returned to the US. He was ordained to the diaconate in January 1982 and to the priesthood two years later. In 1986, he was tonsured to monastic orders. He served OCA missions in northern California and headed the Diocese of the West’s mission committee.
In 1989, Bishop Alexander took a teaching position with the Theology Department at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI, a position which he left at the end of April this year. While teaching at Marquette University, he had been attached to Saints Cyril and Methodius Church, Milwaukee, WI. For 22 years he preached, taught and served at Saints Cyril and Methodius Church, and witnessed to the Gospel and to Orthodox Christian theology at Marquette University. He helped attract a dozen Orthodox Christian students to doctoral work in theology at Marquette.
Bishop Alexander becomes the second Bishop of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese. He succeeds His Eminence, the late Archbishop Kirill [Yonchev]. Archbishop Kirill had overseen the diocese from 1964 to 2007; in 1976, Archbishop Kirill brought the diocese under the omophorion of the Orthodox Church in America.
The Bulgarian Diocese includes 19 parishes and missions and one monastery.
A photo gallery of the consecration Liturgy may be viewed here.