OCA Elects Archbishop Tikhon as Next Metropolitan

(Photo Credit: Orthodox Church in America)Archbishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania speaks in Parma, Ohio where he was elected as Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in America on November 13, 2012.

Orthodox Church in America on Tuesday elected Archbishop Tikhon, Archbishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania as its next Metropolitan.

Archbishop Tikhon, born Marc R. Mollard, was elected at the 17th All-American Council of the OCA at Holy Trinity Church in Parma, Ohio. He succeeds Metropolitan Jonah as leader of the church.

On hand were hundreds of hierarchs, clergy, lay delegates and observers representing OCA parishes across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The Synod's election came after no single candidate received the required two-thirds margin on the first ballot and the second ballot found 317 votes for Archbishop Tikhon and 355 votes for Bishop Michael of New York and New Jersey, the OCA said in a statement.

"The members of the Holy Synod retired into the altar where they elected Archbishop Tikhon," the OCA said.

"I humbly accept the burden that is placed upon me today by the will of God and the election of the Holy Synod, by your prayers. I ask you to help me bear this burden. I ask for your prayers, your support," said Archbishop Tikhon in accepting his appointment as Metropolitan, according to audio of the event provided by Ancient Faith Radio.

Archbishop Tikhon, who was born in Boston, received a Master of Divinity from Saint Tikhon Seminary in 1993 where he was appointed an instructor in the Old Testament. He continues to serve as a senior lecturer.

In 2002 he was appointed to serve as Deputy Abbot of Saint Tikhon Monastery. He was consecrated to the episcopacy at Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery in 2004. He was installed as the ruling bishop of the Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania in 2005. He was elevated to the rank of Archbishop on May 9, 2012.

In August, Archbishop Tikhon resigned as rector of Saint Tikhon's seminary after determining that "changing and growing administrative needs for each institution were making it more difficult for one person to adequately address those needs." He submitted his letter of resignation in April and it was accepted by the Church's leadership in May.

The OCA said in August it had planned a "low key and penitential" gathering to elect its next metropolitan.

The election came after the Holy Synod asked Metropolitan Jonah in July to either quit or enter a treatment program, citing the Church's possible liability as a result of how he handled a report of an alleged rape by a priest under his charge.

Bishops said Metropolitan Jonah did not handle the report following church standards.

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