Serbien: Consecration of Bishop Jerotej of Toplica, Vicar of the Patriarch

His Holiness Porfirije, Serbian Patriarch, officiated the Holy Hierarchical Liturgy and the solemn rite of consecration of the elected and proclaimed Very Venerable Archimandrite Jerotej (Petrovic) to the rank of Bishop of Toplica, Vicar Bishop of the Serbian Patriarch, in the Memorial Cathedral of Saint Sava in the Vracar district, on 4 July 2021. The Primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church was concelebrated by His Beatitude Jovan, Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje and Their Graces Bishops Vasilije of Srem, Lukijan of Budim, Nikanor of Banat, Irinej of Backa, Dositej of Britain-Scandinavia, Pahomije of Vranje, Fotije of Zvornik-Tuzla, Atanasije of Mileseva, Teodosije of Raska-Prizren, David of Krusevac, Jovan of Slavonia, Ilarion of Timok, Arsenije of Nis, Siluan of Australia-New Zealand, Heruvim of Osek-Polje and Baranja, Isihije of Valjevo, David of Stobi, Stefan of Remesiana and Bishop Emeritus Georgije.

At the beginning of solemn rite of consecration, the oldest archimandrite and protodeacon led the elected and proclaimed Bishop through the royal doors unto the soleas, where the hierarchs stood around the Patriarch.  On that occasion, after having been introduced  three times, holding in his hand a handwritten exposition of the Orthodox faith, to the question of His Holiness Patriarch Porfirije: "Why have you come and what do you want from Our Humbleness?”,  Bishop Elect answered: "The consecration of episcopal grace, Your Holiness, with the consent of the clergy of the holiest Diocese of Toplica." Then, the Patriarch and the hierarchs examined the elected and proclaimed Bishop on what kind of faith he professed, to which he responded with the Nicene Creed and the more extensive confessions of faith expounding dogmas of the Holy Church with vows of fidelity to the Church.

Then the elected and proclaimed Bishop took the Holy Gospel and the signed Confession of Faith and offered them to the Patriarch, who placed it into the Gospel. After that act, Patriarch Porfirije handed over the Gospel to the elected and proclaimed Bishop, and they then introduced him to the altar through the south door.

Immediately afterwards, the Holy Hierarchical Liturgy began, and, according to the sacred liturgical practice, after the Treisagion two archpriests took from the diaconicon the elected one for consecration and brought him to the soleas in front of the Royal doors, from where he was led by two bishops and introduced into the altar, where he circled the Holy Table three times. Each time, the proclaimed and elected Bishop kissed the Holy Table, whereupon the Patriarch blessed him with the Holy Cross. After that, the bishops brought the elected Bishop before the Holy Table, where the Patriarch placed the end of the omophorion on his head, and the Gospel was opened by the hierarchs.Then every hierarch laid their hands on him, while Patriarch Porfirije read the prayers of consecration.

After the prayers, the Patriarch dressed the newly consecrated Bishop Jerotej in a saccos and omophorion, and then placed  a cross, encolpion and hierarch's mitre on him, solemnly proclaiming: "Axios!" and "Worthy!", which all the clergy and congregation sang joyfully. Thereafter the newly consecrated Bishop Jerotej was kissed by Patriarch Porfirije and the hirarchs, and he for the first time blessed the congregation with episcopal candlesticks (thrikirion and dikirion).

After the end of the Holy Hierarchical Liturgy, Patriarch Porfirije gave from the ambo a short instruction to the newly consecrated Bishop Jerotej, teaching him about the importance of the ministry he had obtained.

Thereafter, Patriarch Porfirije handed bishop's sceptre to Bishop Jerotej, saying: "Receive this sceptre to feed the flock of Christ entrusted to you! Let it be a support and strength to the obedient, and guide the disobedient and unsubmissive with rebuke and meek upbringing, in Christ Jesus our Lord."

The special beauty of the Holy Liturgy and the first consecration in the new Cathedral church of the Archbishopric of Belgrade-Karlovci and our local Church were enchanced by the united Serbian Byzantine choirs conducted by Deacon Dr. Vladimir Antic and Dr. Georgios Konstandinou.

Besides many faithful people, the Liturgy was attended by the director of the Office for Cooperation with Churches and Religious Communities Dr. Vladimir Roganovic, Apostolic Nuncio in Belgrade Msgr. Luciano Suriani, prominent public figures from cultural and public life of Serbia, as well as by distinguished guests from Greece. (Quelle: www.spc.rs, 4. Juli 2021)

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