Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Holy Toledo! A surprise synodal selection for the South

Prayers for Fr. Gerasim as he moves into another chapter after this unexpected decisions. He's a good and faithful servant to Christ and His Church who will continue to shepherd regardless of where he goes next.

(OCA) - The members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America elected His Grace, Bishop Alexander of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese to fill the vacant See of Dallas and the South during their Spring Session here on Tuesday, March 29, 2016.

Bishop Alexander succeeds His Eminence, the late Archbishop Dmitri, who in retirement fell asleep in the Lord at the age of 87 on August 28, 2011.

A letter addressed to the clergy of the Diocese of the South, signed by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, reads as follows.

“Dearly Beloved in the Lord: I am pleased to inform you that the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, at its session held in Oyster Bay Cove, New York, on the Twenty-Ninth day of March in the year of Our Lord Two Thousand Sixteen, elected the His Grace, the Right Reverend Alexander, Bishop of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese, as Bishop of Dallas and the Diocese of the South.

“You are to immediately begin to commemorate Bishop Alexander by elevating his name at all Divine Services after that of the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America Metropolitan Tikhon, as is the approved practice of our Church.

“Bishop Alexander’s new title, as blessed by the Holy Synod, is “His Grace Alexander, Bishop of Dallas and the South” when serving in the Diocese of the South. The date and place of his installation to the See will be determined in due time.

“Assuring you of my prayers for Bishop Alexander, and for all the clergy and faithful who have been entrusted to his archpastoral care, I remain

“With love in Christ,
“+ Tikhon
“Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada”

Concurrently, a similar letter to the clergy of the Bulgarian Diocese, informing them of the election, was also issued. Bishop Alexander will continue as Bishop of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese. Archpastoral Letters to the faithful of the Diocese of the South and the Bulgarian Diocese and additional particulars will posted on the OCA web site as they become available. His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon has been in contact with the administrator, chancellor and deans of the Diocese of the South on this matter.

Bishop Alexander [Golitzin] was born in Burbank, CA in 1948 and was raised at Saint Innocent Church, Tarzana, CA. He 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, he accepted a position with the Theology Department at Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, a position that he left at the end of April 2012. While teaching at Marquette, 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.

In June 2010, the Bulgarian Diocese initiated a search for a candidate to succeed His Eminence, Archbishop Kirill [Yonchev], who reposed in the Lord in 2007. In October 2011, the Holy Synod of Bishops elected Archimandrite Alexander as Bishop of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese. He was consecrated to the episcopacy as Bishop of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese during a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Saint George Cathedral, Rossford, OH on May 5, 2012.


  1. What will become of Archimandrite Gerasim?

  2. This seems kind of out of left field...


  3. Not really. After what Rod Dreher wrote the synod felt it needed to get somebody down there fast. Why not somebody very close to the dept of external affairs.

  4. But how can +Alexander be Bishop of BOTH Toledo and Dallas? Isn't that noncanonical?

  5. The Holy Synod as the Supreme Canonical Authority in the church is the only body with the facilities to appoint a bishop to a diocese also they have the authority to establish, combine, or suppress any diocese, also the Bulgarian diocese is not a territorial church but rather an ethnic diocese with parishes in the mid west, Canada , and California

  6. The Bulgarian Orthodox Diocese of Toledo is rather small, I imagine the overwhelming part of this equation for Bishop Alexander will be the Diocese of Dallas :-). It makes sense to combine oversight though, the Bulgarian Orthodox Diocese is a little small to be funding a bishop. (The Albanian Orthodox Diocese of Boston - the OCA's other small ethnic diocese - also has a ruling hierarch who does double duty, in its case with the territorial Diocese of Boston and New England.)