Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Bishop for Kodak...

The new bishop, Andreas Mar Cassian, on the right, receives the pastoral staff from his consecrator, Victor Mar Michael.

Another annual convocation has come and gone. Each year, the clergy of the ACCA gather at St. Demetrios, Knoxville on the first weekend of October to meet, assess the year past, and to consider the coming year. The final event, each year, is the Sunday evening Qurbana, Eucharist. This year, during Qurbana, a new member, Parasceve Cheryl Beasley, was chrismated; Sister Luke Panteleimon was tonsured a Reader; Sister Miriam was made a Sub-deacon; and Chorepiscopus (Archpriest) Andreas Richard Turner, Chancellor of the ACCA and Pastor of St. Elias, Kodak, Tennessee, was consecrated a bishop, taking the name Mar Cassian. He assumes the role of syncellus, that of suffragan, or assistant, bishop to Mar Michael. (Andreas Mar Cassian’s titular see is someplace in Palestine, a city which has been in ruins for almost two millenia.)

In the end, chains were not required. Avva presented himself voluntarily, if not altogether willingly, for consecration. Prior to that, at 2 PM Sunday, Avva Andreas taught a class in the ongoing “Orthodoxy 101” series at St. Demetrios. He spoke on a subject near and dear to his heart, that of the Didache: the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, a late First Century document. It can be found online here, and a paper Mar Cassian wrote on the subject some time ago can be found here.

After Mar Cassian’s consecration, the liturgy continued with the celebration of the Qurbana proper, the most holy sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ. Over several convocations and other meetings, the clergy of the ACCA have developed what seems to be a unique form of concelebration. The altar at St. Demetrios is freestanding, and during the celebration, the new bishop and the presbyters (Avva Zakkai, Amma Caitlin, and myself) rotated around the altar, each taking a portion of the liturgy, then moving to the side for the next concelebrant, and so on. All pronounced the Words of Institution and the Epiclesis together, and at the elevation (“The Holy Mysteries are for the Holy”), all participated in elevating the paten and chalice. It is always a profoundly moving experience, both for the celebrants and for those in the congregation, manifesting the inherently conciliar nature of the Christian priesthood and of the Church itself, as does the joint discernment which occurs yearly in the deliberations at Convocation. Others who participated in serving the Liturgy this year include the Deacons Mother Shirley and Sister Jackie and Subdeacon Yeremyah. Also, a big thank you to the laypeople at St. Demetrios who helped make Convocation possible, including Jeff and Anna, John and Parasceve Cheryl, Mary Lou, and Tom as well as all the members, both clerical and lay, of the Sisterhood of the Holy Myrrh-bearing Women. Please forgive me, y’all, if I have failed to mention anyone that I should have.

Finally, a word of thanks to Andrew, a special friend to Khouria Susan and myself. He has been very generous to us with his time and financial contributions. This year, he provided us with transportation and financial support in attending Convocation and we are very appreciative. Thank you, Andrew, and we hope to be chrismating you soon.


Anonymous said...

Avva, Greetings from Kodak.
It was a delight to visit with you and Susan. I am glad to have had some time to visit with you Susan, and Andrew. Thank you for your frindship, fellowship, and spiritual advice. Yours in service to the Lord. Jeremiah/
Jay King

FrGregACCA said...

Hey, Yeremyah. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Good to see y'all as well. Would you please E-mail me any pictures you have from the weekend? Thanks.