By Hierodeacon Savvas
Upon the completion of eight years since your episcopal ordination, we your spiritual children, greet you, wish you "Many Years" and ask for your blessings and prayers.
It was not by chance that you received Apostolic succession in the Apostolic city of Corinth on the Feast Day of the Apostles Aquila and Priscilla who became Apostles and preachers of the Gospel in that very city, having harkened unto the preaching of your patron Saint Paul. Rather it was a divine confirmation of your election. We remember how you turned to the congregation at your ordination immediately after the "AXIOS" and the "Many Years Master" and said, "Pray that I do not sin." On the contrary, we should ask forgiveness of you since we have many times disobeyed you, not hearing the Apostle saying, "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." Truly, it would not be to our benefit to be a burden to you rather than a help and comfort. With your prayers, we will continue to progress in the Faith, upholding Holy Orthodoxy, for if we can show the world by our actions that we are Orthodox we will be able to pass Orthodoxy on to the next generation.
According to the word of the Apostle of the nations, "For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel." You have begotten us in Christ; or rather, you are still begetting us, for Christ has still not been formed in us. But if we remain steadfast in our obedience to you we shall find spiritual rest in this life and in the next, for "he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." As we have heard many times, the place of the Bishop in the Church is identified with Christ and it is a gift from God that we have in your person a living example to imitate. You dedicated you life to the Church twenty-seven years ago and even now, you sacrifice your personal comfort for the sake of others.
We who look to you for spiritual guidance thank you for your ceaseless efforts on behalf of our souls. Once again, we wish you wholeheartedly and piously:
"Many Years Master!"
Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church is a beautiful mission parish near downtown Tucson, a city in southern Arizona. It was started in 1997 by Father John Bockman, who was a missionary Priest formerly serving missions in Tennessee and Massachusetts since 1990. Father John served the faithful in Tucson and the surrounding area in his home Chapel until his repose in November of 2000. His wife, Presbytera Valerie, continued to make her home Chapel available for the mission, with clergy from Saint Nectarios Orthodox Church in Seattle and His Eminence, Metropolitan Moses of Toronto (then of Portland), visiting to provide the Divine Services.Read more...