BOSTON – Bishop Ioannis of Phocaea was ordained to the High Priesthood on Saturday December 19, at the Church of St. George in Piscataway, New Jersey by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, assisted by Bishops Apostolos of Medeia, Chief Secretary of the Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese, and Ierotheos of Efkarpia, Abbot of St. Irene Chrysovalantou Patriarchal Monastery in Astoria, New York. Also participating were Archimandrite Nektarios Kotrotsios, presiding priest of the Piscataway parish, and other priests form the New Jersey area.
Speaking to The National Herald the newly ordained Bishop Ioannis said that “I was trembling during the ordination because I was living the history of the Church and the descent of the Holy Spirit.” He added that “it took me half an hour to calm down because of the intensity and the importance of the day.”
Archbishop Elpidophoros, in his homily, said among other things the following: “Beloved Bishop-Elect of Phocaea, Your Grace Ioannis, today, we have assembled in this wonderful Parish of Saint George the Great-Martyr and Trophy-Bearer to bring you into the fullness of the ministry of the Great High Priest – our Lord Jesus Christ – and, together with our Brother Hierarchs, to elevate you to be the Bishop of Phocaea.
We intended to do so in the Metropolis of San Francisco, where you now serve as Chancellor to His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos, and where you will continue to serve. But the times made other plans for us all. Instead, by a blessed happenstance, we find ourselves here in Piscataway, in the parish that you served when you were first ordained a priest.”
In another instance he said “you are called to be a Bishop of the Church of God, a Bishop of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and our Sacred Archdiocese with the precious title of ‘Phocaea’. It may surprise many of those assembled today to know that Phocaea, on the coast of Asia Minor, was a center of Hellenic life and thought over two-thousand-five-hundred years ago. The city is nestled in the region we call Ionia, where the greatest philosophers of the age before Socrates emerged. Names like Thales, Anaximander, Heraclitus and Anaxagoras revolutionized the way people thought about the world with their speculative and critical analysis.”
In his response Bishop Ioannis said:
“Your Eminence, Archbishop Elpidophoros, for the past three months I have been trembling in deep contemplation of my election and now elevation to the Episcopacy. This is the sacred call of the Holy Spirit and the will of the Church as expressed by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
“Today, my ordination to the Episcopacy takes place in a time of pandemic across this nation and across the world. My ordination was to take place at St. George Church in Downey, California, the community I have shepherded for the past 19 years. They have been my joy and sacred charge as well as being my close-knit Church family. They are saddened today that because of the Coronavirus restrictions in California, they could not host this ordination. Sad also are those of my fellow clergy in the Metropolis of San Francisco and the many faithful who could not be at this ordination. Yet, they are present today, not only through their prayers, but through Technology and many are watching at this moment thousands of miles away.
“I believe truly that it was under the guidance of the Holy Spirit that 10 years ago I found myself as a guest of His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch at the Phanar to become acquainted with the inner workings of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”
Bishop Ioannis also said: “I stand before Your Eminence and Your Graces with grateful appreciation and gratitude to the 270th successor of the Apostle Andrew, our Ecumenical Patriarch His All Holiness Bartholomew, under whose authority I have been elected to the Holy Diocese of Phocaea by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Great Church of Christ. May God grant to him many years as our Chief Shepherd, Authentis and Despotis. I am grateful to Your Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros for your support and wise counsel over the years from the time I sojourned at the Patriarchate ten years ago and for your blessing and concurrence on my nomination to the Episcopacy by His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco.”