BOSTON – His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America made an archpastoral visit to the Annunciation Cathedral of Baltimore the Sunday after Christmas where he ordained to Diaconate Hans Vomend, renaming him Sophronios. The previous evening the Archbishop tonsured him as a monk.
The new Deacon graduated last May from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology of Brookline Massachusetts. He is presently in Thessaloniki advancing his Greek and also studying Canon Law.
The Archbishop was assisted by Archimandrite Constantine Moralis, presiding priest of the Annunciation Cathedral of Baltimore and also Chancellor of the Metropolis of New Jersey, Archimandrite Athenagoras Ziliaskopoulos, chaplin of Holy Cross Theological School, Fr. Emmanuel from the Sts. Theodoroi parish, Archdeacon Dionysios, and Deacons Philotheos and Bartholomew.
The Archbishop, in his homily, said among other things that “we gather in this magnificent Cathedral to elevate into the first rank of the Holy Priesthood of Christ our beloved spiritual son, Hans Vomend, as he enters into the Holy Diaconate.
He told Father Vomend that “you have embraced the Angelic Life, a life that has its challenges and difficulties, as well as its spiritual rewards and joys. As Saint John of the Ladder says: ‘Monasticism is an angelic order in an earthly body.’ But what the Angels do with such great ease is not so easy for us, who are bound by laws, physics, and the habits of this world. That is why our calling is in accord with the Humanity of our Lord, Who was made ‘a little lower than the angels,’ but then crowned with glory and honor.”
The Archbishop also said, “and now, you are stepping into the liturgical service that is the glory of all clergy. Your ministry becomes truly angelic, for the deacons of the Holy Church serve as angels in the flesh around the Holy Altar. Therefore, Hans, my beloved spiritual son, as you ascend the spiritual ladder of the clerical ranks of the clergy, the father and Patriarch of us all, His All-Holiness Bartholomew, has chosen a name for you after an earthly angel of the Holy Mountain. Henceforth, you shall be called Sophronios, after the newly-glorified Saint Sophrony the Hagiorite, the founder of the Stavopegial Monastery of Saint John the Baptist in Essex, England. His All-Holiness selected this name for you to inspire you by the example of this great Elder of our modern days. The Holy Elder was born and raised in Russia, and studied in Paris. But it was on Mount Athos – in discipleship to Saint Silouan the Athonite – that he shone forth with the grace of the Holy Spirit.”