On Monday April 13th, the festive day of Bright Monday, the clergy of Holy Cross Monastery in Wayne, WV, led by His Grace George, Bishop of Mayfield, celebrated a festal Divine Liturgy. A multitude of Orthodox faithful and clergy from areas surrounding the monastery came for this Liturgy and the festive meal following in order to bid farewell to Bishop George, as this was his last Divine Liturgy at the monastery before leaving for his new appointment as Bishop of Canberra in the Diocese of Australia & New Zealand. His Grace departed for Australia on the following morning, April 14th.
During Divine Liturgy, His Grace was co-served by monastery clergy: Igumen Seraphim (Voepel), Hieromonk Alexander (Frizzell), Hieromonk Andrew (O’Leary), Hieromonk Nektarios (Merry), Hieromonk Hilarion (Heagy), Hieromonk Gabriel (Hooten), Hierodeacon Sergius (Wilson), and Deacon Jeremiah Davis. Also co-serving with His Grace was Priest Jonah (Campbell) of Christ the Savior Orthodox Church (ROCOR) in Wayne, WV, and Priest Mark (Tyson) of the Dormition of the Mother of God Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church in Bluefield, WV. Also praying in church during the liturgy were Archpriest John Dixon of Holy Spirit Antiochian Orthodox Church and Priest Mark Elliott of St. George Greek Orthodox Church, both in Huntington, WV.
During the Liturgy, Igumen Seraphim was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite, and Subdeacon-monk Paisios was ordained to the deaconate.
At the conclusion of the Liturgy, Bishop George officially installed Archimandrite Seraphim as Abbot of Holy Cross Monastery and handed over to him the Abbot's staff. After speaking some words of gratitude to Bishop George for the many years of love and care shown to the monks of the Hermitage of the Holy Cross, Abbot Seraphim presented Bishop George with a beautiful Bishop’s Panagia, saying: "You will always be a part of the Hermitage of the Holy Cross." Bishop George likewise addressed the Hermitage brotherhood and the multitude gathered in the church with words of love and gratitude, and gave his blessing to all present.
The feeling of the monastery brotherhood and the assembled friends and pilgrims during this festive Bright Monday was one of exuberant Paschal joy and triumph mixed with sadness at the departure of Vladyka George, who has been such a part of the monastic community, and the Orthodox community in North America at large, for so long a time. Vladyka George's care and support will be sorely missed, and the prayers of the monks of Holy Cross--and of all the faithful of the Eastern American Diocese--will surely accompany him during his time as the shepherd of the Australian flock.