Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness, and let thy saints shout for joy.
The wise Providence of God, Who governs and brings all things towards the salvation of humankind, exhibited once more on this day His magnificent philanthropy. The ancient and breathtaking temple of the Wisdom of God, the cathedral church of Ohrid’s Archbishops, the undisputed witness of our ecclesiastic history – became the host and a monument of another heavenly event. Namely, in the course of a nationwide social and spiritual celebration, at St. Sophia church in Ohrid, on the Feast of the Holy Renowned and Supreme Apostles Peter and Paul, our beloved spiritual Father, Elder and Abbot Parthenius took upon his shoulders the cross of apostolic ministry and was ordained to the highest priestly rank – the episcopal one, with the new title Bishop of Antania. The background of his episcopal title is the ancient town Antania, which used to be an Episcopal See in the late Roman era.
The Holy Apostles, the “wise fishermen of the Universe”, the “golden mouths of the Word and the Divine Truth”, the “pillars of the Church”, the “instruments of grace” sent their apostolic blessing to the Elder, and through the wise enlightenment of the Hierarchs of the Holy Synod of the MOC-OA, ordained him as a successor of God’s grace. Indeed, it was a new Pentecost, which in various ways continues to send even in these times the grace of the Holy Spirit in tongues of fire. And this personal Pentecost of our Abbot, the Bishop of Antania Mr Parthenius, took place in the contemplative “upper chamber” – the lavishly decorated Hagia Sophia in the centre of our symbolic Jerusalem – the Holy City of Ohrid, which gave birth to many saints. The overall atmosphere and the noble mood of the multitude of believers and guests who came for the event made the City of Ohrid a truly outstanding centre of Christian splendour. That unusual joy impressed greatly our esteemed Hierarchs, headed by the Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia, Mr Stephen, and by our very respected and beloved Pastor and Bishop, Metropolitan of Debar and Kichevo Mr Timothy, who proved to be a true father, a hospitable and generous host. Numerous clerics from all the dioceses of our Church attended, as well as esteemed guests from Bulgaria, Greece and Albania. Among the present were also many distinguished representatives of the social, cultural, scientific, political and public sectors in our country. Furthermore, the festive atmosphere was complemented with the presence of special flag bearers from most of the villages in the Miyak region, dressed in their traditional folk costumes, carrying ecclesiastic banners, together with the faithful Miyak guard and the glowing faces of the many guests, spiritual children and friends. Unfortunately, due to the global unfavourable situation in the world, many of our friends from abroad were physically prevented from participating in the ceremony, but this did not diminish their prayerful and heartfelt support, expressed through sincere congratulations and blessings, for the newly ordained Bishop of Antania.
The ceremonious character of today’s unique celebration was increased by the rejoycing of the numerous spiritual children of the Elder and Bishop, who with their kindness and spiritual beauty gave an especial glow to the whole ambience, turning Ohrid into a metropolis of a rare pan-Orthodox festival. Simply, the whole city, as if with one soul, exclaimed: for such a high priest became us… (Heb. 7:26)
At the end of the festive spiritual joy, His Eminence, the Bishop of Antania and Abbot of the Bigorski Monastery Mr Parthenius was congratulated with an appropriate gift, first by our most beloved Metropolitan Mr Timothy and the clergy of the Diocese of Debar and Kichevo, then also by the God-loving Hierarchs of the Holy Synod, our monastic fraternity represented by Hieromonk Dositeos, representatives of the Government, the Municipality of Ohrid, the political parties, numerous spiritual children from many cities, as well as members of institutions and esteemed individuals.
Finally, we will say that today the Church of Christ presented the faithful with a truly worthy shepherd and witness of the Resurrection!
For many years, Bishop of our hearts!