(UOC-USA) - His Eminence Archbishop Antony and His Grace Bishop Daniel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA in addition to His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of the Greek Orthodox Metropolitanate of Central America and His Eminence Archbishop Alejo of Mexico City of the Orthodox Church in America, about a dozen of clergy and several hundreds of Orthodox Christians from Mexico, Venezuela, and other Latin American countries traveled to Holy Wisdom Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Mexico to participate in and witness the consecration to the episcopacy of Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Pankratiy (Dubas).
Upon their arrival to Mexico, the hierarchs of the UOC of the USA were greeted at the Mexico City International Airport by His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras and Archimandrite Pankratiy on Saturday, September 8, 2012. Both hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA arrived to Mexico City to assist His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras in consecration of Archimandrite Pankratiy to the espiscopal rank, to which he was formally elected by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on July 10, 2012. Until recently, Archimadrite Pankratiy served as a pastor of St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL. Earlier this year, the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, Metropolitan Constantine of blessed memory, upon the request of Metropolitan Athenagoras, granted a canonical release to Archimandrite Pankratiy and presented him as a candidate for episcopacy.
Among the numerous clergy from the countries of Latin America, with the blessing of the eparchial bishop of the Western Eparchy of the UOC of the USA His Grace Bishop Daniel, Very Rev. Fr. Bodan Kalynyuk of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Bensenville, IL and Dean of Chicago Deanery, as well as Protodeacon Andriy Fronchak of St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL escorted the hierarchs of the UOC of the USA and participated in the joyous elevation of Archimandrite Pankratiy.
Following the Vespers service on Saturday, September 8, 2012, His Eminence Archbishop Antony and His Grace Bishop Daniel visited His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras at the chancery offices of the Greek Orthodox Metropolitanate of Central America, learning about the ministry of the Metropolis among the faithful of Latin America. The hierarchs of the UOC of the USA learned from Metropolitan Athenagoras about the constant growth of the diocesan boundaries through the reception of converts to the Holy Orthodoxy as well as the arrival of many Orthodox Christians from such countries as Ukraine, Romania, Greece, Russia, etc.
On Sunday morning, Archimadrite Pankratiy, escorted by the Protodeacons, was led in front of the hierarchs of the Church and presented himself for the episcopal elevation through the laying on of hands of His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras, His Eminence Archbishop Antony, His Eminence Archbishop Alejo and His Grace Bishop Daniel.
His Eminence Archbishop Antony, prior to the sacred moment of consecration of a new bishop, offered a sermon in Ukrainian language, calling upon Archimandrite Pankratiy to offer himself unconditionally to the flock, which he is called to serve. Following the Archbishop’s remarks, Metropolitan Athenagoras spoke to the bishop-elect and the congregation in Spanish language, reflecting upon the office of a bishop in the Holy Orthodox Church.
Archimandrite Paul of the Greek Orthodox Metropolitanate of Central America and Very Rev. Fr. Bohdan Kalynuyk escorted Archimandrite Pankratiy to the Holy Doors of the Sanctuary, while His Eminence Archbishop Alejo and His Grace Bishop Daniel received the candidate and escorted the bishop-elect for consecration.
As the moment of consecration approached, the silence and whispers of prayers filled the sacred space of Holy Wisdom Cathedral. The bishops read the prayers of consecration, and suddenly the joyful and solemn proclamation: AXIOS! AXIOS! AXOS! Over and over again the exclamations were pronounced, as Bishop Pankatiy was vested in his archpastoral vestments.
Following the Divine Liturgy, His Eminence Archbishop Antony presented Bishop Pankratiy with the Archpastoral staff, while Bishop Daniel escorted the new bishop to his Archpastoral seat in the cathedral.
At the conclusion of the prayer service, Bishop Pankratiy offered his first blessing to the flock of the cathedral.
The day concluded with a formal reception in the courtyard of the spiritual headquarters of the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Central America in Mexico City, Mexico, while the hierarchs of the UOC of the USA departed for the United States of America in order to participate in the plenary sessions of the 3rd annual Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America in Chicago, IL.