ADDRESS OF THE RIGHT REVEREND ARCHIMANDRITE DANIEL
BISHOP-ELECT OF SANTA ROSA
ON THE EVE OF HIS EPISCOPAL CONSECRATION
Your Beatitude, Your Eminences, Your Graces;
Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers;
Honorable Deacons in Christ;
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Throughout the history of salvation, the Lord has called His people to draw near
to Him, to hear His voice, to speak His word, and to serve His people. That constant
call, proclaimed in the Scriptures and echoing through the centuries, continues in
our own day and has been given to each one of us in Holy Baptism. Each one of us
is called to serve the Lord and to build up the Church, each using our own talents
and abilities and gifts in their uniqueness and in their variety. As the Holy Apostle
Paul reminds us in the twelfth chapter of his First Epistle to the Corinthians, we
have been given a diversity of gifts for this building up of the Church. “And God
has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers,
after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, and varieties
of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:28). The Holy Apostle then urges us to desire the
best gifts and reminds us that love is the most excellent way in which these gifts
are exercised and realized.
And now, this call to serve Christ and to build up His Church is given to me in a
new and remarkable way as I am asked to receive episcopal ordination and to serve
Christ’s Holy Church as a bishop. In responding to this call, voiced by the Holy
Synod of Bishops, I have just repeated the words spoken by so many before me: “Inasmuch
as the Holy Synod of the Holy Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America has found
me worthy of the office and dignity of a bishop, I respond with a grateful heart.
I humbly accept and I say nothing to the contrary.”
I accept with fear and with a deep sense of my unworthiness at having been called
to serve Christ’s Holy Church in the Order of Bishops. And I express my gratitude
to Almighty God for the many mercies he has shown me throughout my life and I pray
that His merciful love will continue to work within me and through me as I take up
the yoke that is now being laid upon me.
In the Orthodox Church, we understand the importance that the office and role of
bishop has in the Church’s life and mission. The Bishop is Shepherd, Teacher, Priest,
Successor of the Apostles, Overseer, Pastor, Father, Celebrant, Steward, Administrator,
Unifier, and Servant. These are but some of the roles ascribed to him in the exercise
of the archpastoral ministry. And among the external marks and symbols that express
these roles is that a bishop is vested in liturgical vestments distinctive to his
office. Among the most distinctive—and most significant— of these vestments is the
omophorion, the wide band of fabric that is placed upon the bishop’s shoulders. It
is often made of very fine fabrics and beautifully decorated and sewn. We should
remember, however, that the omophorion that is placed upon the bishop’s shoulders
was originally and traditionally made of simple wool, and is meant to signify that
the bishop takes upon his shoulders the sheep entrusted to his care; he takes the
sheep upon his shoulders, in imitation of that Good Shepherd “who lays down his life
for his sheep” (John 10:11), the Good Shepherd “who knows his sheep and whose sheep
know him” (John 10:14). By symbolizing that sheep that is gathered up and carried
on the Good Shepherd's shoulders, the omophorion recalls that the bishop is called
to embody the image of Christ Who is the “Shepherd and Bishop of our souls” (1 Peter
I fully realize that as a bishop I am also being called to reflect the image of Christ
the Servant, the one who came “not to be served but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). And
we find this image of Christ as Servant most eloquently expressed when the Lord,
gathered with His Holy Apostles and Disciples in that Upper Room on the night before
He died, washed their feet.
There in the Upper Room, facing His Passion and Death, the Lord Jesus Christ, in
a last example of loving service, in a last gesture of teaching, as a last testimony,
knelt on the floor—He got down on his hands and knees— and humbled Himself before
His followers, He who was Lord and Master, He Who had healed the sick and raised
the dead and proclaimed the message of God’s saving love in word and in deed, lowered
Himself to the floor and went from apostle to apostle and washed their feet. Something
that not even the lowliest of slaves wanted to do. The Master of All became the
Servant of all.
As we sing at Matins of Great and Holy Thursday… “The Master shows to His disciples
an example of humility; He who wraps the heavens in the clouds girds Himself with
a towel; and He in whose hands is the life of all things kneels down to wash the
feet of His servants” (Holy Thursday Matins, Fifth Ode of the Canon). The Lord and
Master of All, the Savior and Redeemer condescends to perform this self-effacing
act as He humbles Himself and provides His apostles and disciples, and us, with an
example of service, of what it means to be a servant who serves with humility, who
puts himself in the place of the last and the least.
Undergirding, upholding and defining every other role of the bishop, is that of servant,
the servant who readily responds to the call and commandment of Christ given on that
night in that Upper Room: “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet,
you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that
you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:14-15). I hear these words clearly
today and accept them as spoken to me very directly and very personally—as the Lord
has done, so I am also to do.
Although I am limited and unworthy, it is my hope, my aspiration, and my prayer that
my call to the Office of Bishop and my living out of this call will be based and
modeled upon the example of humble service of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Shepherd
Who lays down His life for His sheep; the Servant Who serves humbly and Who commands
us to do the same.
I wish to thank His Beatitude, Metropolitan TIKHON and the Holy Synod of Bishops
for calling me, in the name of the Church, to take up the yoke of Christ as a bishop.
And I want to express my special and heartfelt gratitude to His Eminence, Archbishop
BENJAMIN, for his trust, confidence, and support in calling me to serve as his Auxiliary
Bishop in this God-protected Diocese. And what a blessing it is to be called to
episcopal ordination in this City which once was the Episcopal See of Saint Tikhon,
Patriarch of Moscow and the Enlightener of North America, the Confessor, and which
witnessed the archpastoral labors and is the resting place of the Relics of Saint
John of Shanghai and San Francisco—both archpastors who were Shepherds and Servants
in the very image of Christ.
I also wish to express my gratitude to so many, too numerous to name, and to remember
with love the people who have accompanied me through life, who have taught me to
know, love, and serve the Lord and his Church through their own examples of generous
and committed service: Family; Friends; Spiritual Fathers; and Co-workers in the
Lord’s Vineyard. Those here and those who have departed this life in the hope of
I ask the Mother of God, the most-pure, ever-blessed, Virgin Mary to accept me under
her protecting veil … and I also ask the prayers of our venerable father Herman of
Alaska; of St Tikhon, St Innocent, St Raphael of Brooklyn, St Nikolai of Zhica, St
John of Shanghai and San Francisco, who served as Shepherds of the Flock of Christ
on this continent …and of all the Saints who have shone forth in North America. May
their example continue to guide and their prayers continue to bless the Church in
Lastly, I presume to ask each one of you here today for your prayers and your support.
As I respond to the call that has been given me and commit myself to serve Christ’s
Holy Orthodox Church as a bishop, I am deeply aware that each and every one of us
participates uniquely in the one work and common mission of the Church. Each one
of us is called to proclaim the Gospel of Salvation in our own unique way. But no
one- bishop priest, deacon, monastic, or lay faithful—serves in isolation or on their
own. Each one of us relies upon the support of those around us—I rely upon you and
will rely upon you for your support and the inspiration your lives give me. Let
us, therefore, “…encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians
Gathered here in this revered, all-venerable Cathedral, encouraged by your faith,
surrounded by your love and supported by your prayers, I trust that the Lord will
accept my willingness to serve—that the Grace Divine which always heals that which
is infirm will, indeed, supply what is lacking. And that the Lord will grant me,
unworthy though I am, to be a Servant in His own image and likeness and to be a Shepherd
according to his heart (Jeremiah 3:15). Amen.
Bishop Daniel’s Message for February
2nd Sunday of Great Lent: St Gregory Palamas
This Sunday was originally dedicated to St Polycarp of Smyrna (February 23). After
his glorification in 1368, a second commemoration of St Gregory Palamas (November
14) was appointed for the Second Sunday of Great Lent as a second “Triumph of Orthodoxy.”
Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonica, was born in the year 1296 in Constantinople.
St Gregory’s father became a prominent dignitiary at the court of Andronicus II Paleologos
(1282-1328), but he soon died, and Andronicus himself took part in the raising and
education of the fatherless boy. Endowed with fine abilities and great diligence,
Gregory mastered all the subjects which then comprised the full course of medieval
higher education. The emperor hoped that the youth would devote himself to government
work. But Gregory, barely twenty years old, withdrew to Mount Athos in the year 1316
(other sources say 1318) and became a novice in the Vatopedi monastery under the
guidance of the monastic Elder St Nicodemus of Vatopedi (July 11). There he was tonsured
and began on the path of asceticism. A year later, the holy Evangelist John the Theologian
appeared to him in a vision and promised him his spiritual protection. Gregory’s
mother and sisters also became monastics.
After the demise of the Elder Nicodemus, St Gregory spent eight years of spiritual
struggle under the guidance of the Elder Nicephorus, and after the latter’s death,
Gregory transferred to the Lavra of St Athanasius (July 5). Here he served in the
trapeza, and then became a church singer. But after three years, he resettled in
the small skete of Glossia, striving for a greater degree of spiritual perfection.
The head of this monastery began to teach the young man the method of unceasing prayer
and mental activity, which had been cultivated by monastics, beginning with the great
desert ascetics of the fourth century: Evagrius Pontikos and St Macarius of Egypt
Later on, in the eleventh century St Simeon the New Theologian (March 12) provided
detailed instruction in mental activity for those praying in an outward manner, and
the ascetics of Athos put it into practice. The experienced use of mental prayer
(or prayer of the heart), requiring solitude and quiet, is called “Hesychasm” (from
the Greek “hesychia” meaning calm, silence), and those practicing it were called
During his stay at Glossia the future hierarch Gregory became fully embued with the
spirit of hesychasm and adopted it as an essential part of his life. In the year
1326, because of the threat of Turkish invasions, he and the brethren retreated to
Thessalonica, where he was then ordained to the holy priesthood.
St Gregory combined his priestly duties with the life of a hermit. Five days of the
week he spent in silence and prayer, and only on Saturday and Sunday did he come
out to his people. He celebrated divine services and preached sermons. For those
present in church, his teaching often evoked both tenderness and tears. Sometimes
he visited theological gatherings of the city’s educated youth, headed by the future
patriarch, Isidore. After he returned from a visit to Constantinople, he found a
place suitable for solitary life near Thessalonica the region of Bereia. Soon he
gathered here a small community of solitary monks and guided it for five years.
In 1331 the saint withdrew to Mt. Athos and lived in solitude at the skete of St
Sava, near the Lavra of St Athanasius. In 1333 he was appointed Igumen of the Esphigmenou
monastery in the northern part of the Holy Mountain. In 1336 the saint returned to
the skete of St Sava, where he devoted himself to theological works, continuing with
this until the end of his life.</br
In the 1330s events took place in the life of the Eastern Church which put St Gregory
among the most significant universal apologists of Orthodoxy, and brought him great
renown as a teacher of hesychasm.
About the year 1330 the learned monk Barlaam had arrived in Constantinople from Calabria,
in Italy. He was the author of treatises on logic and astronomy, a skilled and sharp-witted
orator, and he received a university chair in the capital city and began to expound
on the works of St Dionysius the Areopagite (October 3), whose “apophatic” (“negative”,
in contrast to “kataphatic” or “positive”) theology was acclaimed in equal measure
in both the Eastern and the Western Churches. Soon Barlaam journeyed to Mt. Athos,
where he became acquainted with the spiritual life of the hesychasts. Saying that
it was impossible to know the essence of God, he declared mental prayer a heretical
error. Journeying from Mount Athos to Thessalonica, and from there to Constantinople,
and later again to Thessalonica, Barlaam entered into disputes with the monks and
attempted to demonstrate the created, material nature of the light of Tabor (i.e.
at the Transfiguration). He ridiculed the teachings of the monks about the methods
of prayer and about the uncreated light seen by the hesychasts.
St Gregory, at the request of the Athonite monks, replied with verbal admonitions
at first. But seeing the futility of such efforts, he put his theological arguments
in writing. Thus appeared the “Triads in Defense of the Holy Hesychasts” (1338).
Towards the year 1340 the Athonite ascetics, with the assistance of the saint, compiled
a general response to the attacks of Barlaam, the so-called “Hagiorite Tome.” At
the Constantinople Council of 1341 in the church of Hagia Sophia St Gregory Palamas
debated with Barlaam, focusing upon the nature of the light of Mount Tabor. On May
27, 1341 the Council accepted the position of St Gregory Palamas, that God, unapproachable
in His Essence, reveals Himself through His energies, which are directed towards
the world and are able to be perceived, like the light of Tabor, but which are neither
material nor created. The teachings of Barlaam were condemned as heresy, and he himself
was anathemized and fled to Calabria.
But the dispute between the Palamites and the Barlaamites was far from over. To these
latter belonged Barlaam’s disciple, the Bulgarian monk Akyndinos, and also Patriarch
John XIV Kalekos (1341-1347); the emperor Andronicus III Paleologos (1328-1341) was
also inclined toward their opinion. Akyndinos, whose name means “one who inflicts
no harm,” actually caused great harm by his heretical teaching. Akyndinos wrote a
series of tracts in which he declared St Gregory and the Athonite monks guilty of
causing church disorders. The saint, in turn, wrote a detailed refutation of Akyndinos’
errors. The patriarch supported Akyndinos and called St Gregory the cause of all
disorders and disturbances in the Church (1344) and had him locked up in prison for
four years. In 1347, when John the XIV was replaced on the patriarchal throne by
Isidore (1347-1349), St Gregory Palamas was set free and was made Archbishop of Thessalonica.
In 1351 the Council of Blachernae solemnly upheld the Orthodoxy of his teachings.
But the people of Thessalonica did not immediately accept St Gregory, and he was
compelled to live in various places. On one of his travels to Constantinople the
Byzantine ship fell into the hands of the Turks. Even in captivity, St Gregory preached
to Christian prisoners and even to his Moslem captors. The Hagarenes were astonished
by the wisdom of his words. Some of the Moslems were unable to endure this, so they
beat him and would have killed him if they had not expected to obtain a large ransom
for him. A year later, St Gregory was ransomed and returned to Thessalonica.
St Gregory performed many miracles in the three years before his death, healing those
afflicted with illness. On the eve of his repose, St John Chrysostom appeared to
him in a vision. With the words “To the heights! To the heights!” St Gregory Palamas
fell asleep in the Lord on November 14, 1359. In 1368 he was canonized at a Constantinople
Council under Patriarch Philotheus (1354-1355, 1364-1376), who compiled the Life
and Services to the saint.
The Lenten Prayer of St Ephrem the Syrian
By Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann
Of all lenten hymns and prayers, one short prayer can be termed the lenten prayer.
Tradition ascribes it to one of the great teachers of spiritual life - St. Ephrem
the Syrian. Here is its text:
O Lord and Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness,
lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience,
and love to Thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and
not to judge my brother; For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen
This prayer is read twice at the end of each lenten service Monday through Friday
(not on Saturdays and Sundays for, as we shall see later, the services of these days
do not follow the lenten pattern). At the first reading, a prostration follows each
petition. Then we all bow twelve times saying: "O God, cleanse me a sinner." The
entire prayer is repeated with one final prostration at the end.
Why does this short and simple prayer occupy such an important position in the entire
lenten worship? Because it enumerates in a unique way all the "negative" and "positive"
elements of repentance and constitutes, so to speak, a "check list" for our individual
lenten effort. This effort is aimed first at our liberation from some fundamental
spiritual diseases which shape our life and make it virtually impossible for us even
to start turning ourselves to God.
The basic disease is sloth. It is that strange laziness and passivity of our entire
being which always pushes us "down" rather than "up" -- which constantly convinces
us that no change is possible and therefore desirable. It is in fact a deeply rooted
cynicism which to every spiritual challenge responds "what for?" and makes our life
one tremendous spiritual waste. It is the root of all sin because it poisons the
spiritual energy at its very source.
The result of sloth is faint-heartedness. It is the state of despondency which all
spiritual Fathers considered the greatest danger for the soul. Despondency is the
impossibility for man to see anything good or positive; it is the reduction of everything
to negativism and pessimism. It is truly a demonic power in us because the Devil
is fundamentally a liar. He lies to man about God and about the world; he fills life
with darkness and negation. Despondency is the suicide of the soul because when man
is possessed by it he is absolutely unable to see the light and to desire it.
Lust of power! Strange as it may seem, it is precisely sloth and despondency that
fill our life with lust of power. By vitiating the entire attitude toward life and
making it meaningless and empty, they force us to seek compensation in, a radically
wrong attitude toward other persons. If my life is not oriented toward God, not aimed
at eternal values, it will inevitably become selfish and selfcentered and this means
that all other beings will become means of my own self-satisfaction. If God is not
the Lord and Master of my life, then I become my own lord and master -- the absolute
center of my own world, and I begin to evaluate everything in terms of my needs,
my ideas, my desires, and my judgments. The lust of power is thus a fundamental depravity
in my relationship to other beings, a search for their subordination to me. It is
not necessarily expressed in the actual urge to command and to dominate "others."
It may result as well in indifference, contempt, lack of interest, consideration,
and respect. It is indeed sloth and despondency directed this time at others; it
completes spiritual suicide with spiritual murder.
Finally, idle talk. Of all created beings, man alone has been endowed with the gift
of speech. All Fathers see in it the very "seal" of the Divine Image in man because
God Himself is revealed as Word (John, 1:1). But being the supreme gift, it is by
the same token the supreme danger. Being the very expression of man, the means of
his self-fulfillment, it is for this very reason the means of his fall and self-destruction,
of betrayal and sin. The word saves and the word kills; the word inspires and the
word poisons. The word is the means of Truth and it is the means of demonic Lie.
Having an ultimate positive power, it has therefore a tremendous negative power.
It truly creates positively or negatively. When deviated from its divine origin and
purpose, the word becomes idle. It "enforces" sloth, despondency, and lust of power,
and transforms life into hell. It becomes the very power of sin.
These four are thus the negative "objects" of repentance. They are the obstacles
to be removed. But God alone can remove them. Hence, the first part of the lenten
prayer; this cry from the bottom of human helplessness. Then the prayer moves to
the positive aims of repentance which also are four.
Chastity! If one does not reduce this term, as is so often and erroneously done,
only to its sexual connotations, it is understood as the positive counterpart of
sloth. The exact and full translation of the Greek sofrosini and the Russian tselomudryie
ought to be whole-mindedness. Sloth is, first of all, dissipation, the brokenness
of our vision and energy, the inability to see the whole. Its opposite then is precisely
wholeness. If we usually mean by chastity the virtue opposed to sexual depravity,
it is because the broken character of our existence is nowhere better manifested
than in sexual lust -- the alienation of the body from the life and control of the
spirit. Christ restores wholeness in us and He does so by restoring in us the true
scale of values by leading us back to God.
The first and wonderful fruit of this wholeness or chastity is humility. We already
spoke of it. It is above everything else the victory of truth in us, the elimination
of all lies in which we usually live. Humility alone is capable of truth, of seeing
and accepting things as they are and therefore of seeing God's majesty and goodness
and love in everything. This is why we are told that God gives grace to the humble
and resists the proud.
Chastity and humility are naturally followed by patience. The "natural" or "fallen"
man is impatient, for being blind to himself he is quick to judge and to condemn
others. Having but a broken, incomplete, and distorted knowledge of everything, he
measures all things by his tastes and his ideas. Being indifferent to everyone except
himself, he wants life to be successful right here and now. Patience, however, is
truly a divine virtue. God is patient not because He is "indulgent," but because
He sees the depth of all that exists, because the inner reality of things, which
in our blindness we do not see, is open to Him. The closer we come to God, the more
patient we grow and the more we reflect that infinite respect for all beings which
is the proper quality of God.
Finally, the crown and fruit of all virtues, of all growth and effort, is love --
that love which, as we have already said, can be given by God alone-the gift which
is the goal of all spiritual preparation and practice.
All this is summarized and brought together in the concluding petition of the lenten
prayer in which we ask "to see my own errors and not to judge my brother." For ultimately
there is but one danger: pride. Pride is the source of evil, and all evil is pride.
Yet it is not enough for me to see my own errors, for even this apparent virtue can
be turned into pride. Spiritual writings are full of warnings against the subtle
forms of pseudo-piety which, in reality, under the cover of humility and self-accusation
can lead to a truly demonic pride. But when we "see our own errors" and "do not judge
our brothers," when, in other terms, chastity, humility, patience, and love are but
one in us, then and only then the ultimate enemy--pride--will be destroyed in us.
After each petition of the prayer we make a prostration. Prostrations are not limited
to the Prayer of St. Ephrem but constitute one of the distinctive characteristics
of the entire lenten worship. Here, however, their meaning is disclosed best of all.
In the long and difficult effort of spiritual recovery, the Church does not separate
the soul from the body. The whole man has fallen away from God; the whole man is
to be restored, the whole man is to return. The catastrophe of sin lies precisely
in the victory of the flesh -- the animal, the irrational, the lust in us -- over
the spiritual and the divine. But the body is glorious; the body is holy, so holy
that God Himself "became flesh." Salvation and repentance then are not contempt for
the body or neglect of it, but restoration of the body to its real function as the
expression and the life of spirit, as the temple of the priceless human soul. Christian
asceticism is a fight, not against but for the body. For this reason, the whole man
- soul and body - repents. The body participates in the prayer of the soul just as
the soul prays through and in the body. Prostrations, the "psycho-somatic" sign of
repentance and humility, of adoration and obedience, are thus the lenten rite par