On Saturday, September 17, at the All-Night Vigil in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City, Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan ‒ elected First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad on Tuesday, September 13 ‒ was elevated to the rank of metropolitan.
The enthronement of the new First Hierarch was scheduled for Sunday, September 18; thus, some of the many clergy who gathered in the cathedral for Vigil, as they would need to serve at Divine Liturgy in their own parishes the following morning.
The service was held under the aegis of the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora – the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God ‒ which was greeted before the start of the service by cathedral dean Archpriest Andrei Sommer. The expanded Synodal Choir sang beautifully under the direction of Vadim S. Gan.
The church was filled with worshippers: students from Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY came to pray on this historic day, along with monastics, parishioners, and faithful from other churches and cities.
Upon completion of the service, the rite of elevation of Bishop Nicholas to the rank of metropolitan took place. Under the triplicate singing of "Lord, have mercy" by the choir, the hierarchs exited the altar. On the ambo, on either side of the newly elected First Hierarch stood the two senior-most hierarchs: Metropolitan Mark of Berlin & Germany and Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco & Western America. To the exclamation of "Axios!" ("He is worthy!"), Metropolitan Nicholas was first given the blue metropolitan mantle and then the white klobuk. The choir responded thrice: "Axios!"
Metropolitan Nicholas addressed the faithful, calling on them to pray for their hierarchs, for those who serve the Church, and for one another, and thus fulfill the Law of Christ, proceeding along the path to salvation.
His Eminence gave everyone his archpastoral blessing. The service concluded with the protodeacon exclaiming: "Eis polla eti, despota!" ("Many years, master!"), wishing long life for the new First Hierarch.
A group photograph was then taken of the bishops who had taken part in the divine service.
New York City: New First Hierarch of Russian Church Abroad elevated to Rank of Metropolitan in Synodal Cathedral - 09/17/22
Photos: Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese - G. Konyev