Friday, 14 June 2019
Let us, the flock of Christ,
… cry out: Remember us all,
who sing your praises!
The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate has appointed a new Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain. At a meeting in Constantinople this week [12 June 2019], Metropolitan Nikitas (Lioulias) of Dardanelles was elected unanimously.
At the same time, the Holy Synod decided thanked the former Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain, Archbishop Gregory, who has retired after many years of ministry due to advanced age.
Metropolitan Nikitas takes over a large diocese with more than 100 churches and monasteries in England, Scotland, Wales, the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands.
Metropolitan Nikitas has served in numerous capacities in the Orthodox Church worldwide, and more recently he has been the Director of the Patriarchal Institute of Orthodox Theology in Berkeley, California.
Before that, he was appointed Metropolitan of Hong Kong in 1996, a Metropolis that was created by the Ecumenical Patriarchate a year earlier to help expand the Orthodox presence in Asia.
His appointment completes what many in Orthodox circles are calling the ‘shake up’ of the three As, all large regions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate where the senior bishops were advanced in age and or where there had been public controversy – England (Αγγλια), America and Australia. Metropolitan Makarios was elected Archbishop of Australia last month, and Metropolitan Elpidophoros will be enthroned Archbishop of America in New York on 22 June.
All three jurisdictions have new archbishops who have been appointed unanimously by the synod of bishops at the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Metropolitan Nikitas was born in Tampa, Florida, in 1955. He studied at the University of Florida, where he received his degree in Religion (1976). He then attended the Theological School of the Holy Cross of Boston, where he graduated in 1980, and completed his postgraduate studies at the Theological School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (1982).
He was ordained a Deacon in 1985 by Archbishop Jacob of America and in the same year was ordained priest.
He served in the Church of Saint Constantine and Saint Helen in Merriville, Indiana, and in 1987 became the secretary of the Diocese of Chicago. In 1988 he received the office of Archimandrite and became a Protosyncellus in the same diocese.
He completed his studies in History and Russian language in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Later, he taught courses in Orthodoxy at the Loyola University of Chicago.
On 2 December 1996, he was unanimously elected the first Metropolitan of Hong Kong and South-East Asia, and he was ordained bishop at the Patriarchal Church of Saint George.
When he moved to California as Director of the Patriarchal Orthodox Institute in Berkeley, he was also appointed Metropolitan of the Dardanelles Metropolis in 2007.
We first met at San’Anselmo, the Benedictine abbey and university in Rome, when I was chair of the Dublin University Far Eastern Mission and took part in a conference in Rome in September 2005 on the Church in China.
We met again when I accompanied the then Archbishop of Dublin, Dr John Neill, on a visit to China and Hong Kong in 2006 to meet Church leaders, visit theological colleges and to build links between the Church of Ireland and the Church in China.
In Hong Kong, Archbishop Nikitas presented me with a scroll that says in rich Chinese calligraphy:
The Apolytikion of the Chinese Saints Martyred 11 June 1900 at the Boxer Uprising, Tone Three:
Let us, the flock of Christ, with love and piety now glorify with hymns and truly joyous odes the faithful Martyrs of the truth who suffered for Christ in China. For having confessed the Faith, they all bravely went unto death as lambs which were sacrificed for our Shepherd and Master Christ. And therefore to the Martyrs we cry out: Remember us all, who sing your praises!