The Consecration of His Grace, Bishop Matthias
CHICAGO, IL [MW Diocese Communications] — Archimandrite Matthias [Moriak] was consecrated to the episcopacy during the Divine Liturgy at Christ the Savior Church here on Saturday, April 30, 2011.
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, presided at the consecration Divine Liturgy. Concelebrating were His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel; His Grace, Bishop Nikon; His Grace, Bishop Tikhon; His Grace, Bishop Benjamin; His Grace, Bishop Alejo; His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek; His Grace, Bishop Michael; His Grace, Bishop Mark; and His Grace, Bishop Irenee. Also concelebrating was His Eminence, Archbishop Nicolae of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas. In attendance were His Grace, Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, and His Grace, Bishop Peter of Cleveland, Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
On the eve of the consecration, Archimandrite Matthias made his profession of faith before members of the Holy Synod during the celebration of Vespers.
Two choirs sang the liturgical responses antiphonally as clergy and faithful from across the Midwest Diocese and beyond anticipated the moment in which the hierarchs would place their hands on the head of Archimandrite Matthias, consecrating him to the episcopacy. As the newly consecrated Bishop Matthias was vested, the clergy and faithful responded with heartfelt cries of “Axios – He is worthy!”
During the Liturgy, Bishop Matthias ordained Subdeacon Nicholas Hubbard to the diaconate.
A special joy for Bishop Matthias was the presence of his son and daughter and their families. His son, Priest Matthew D. Moriak, and his wife and two children live in Manville, NJ, where they serve Holy Ghost Church. His daughter, Rachel Sumner, her husband, and their two children of Charlestown, WV, also were in attendance. Father Matthew and Rachel offered moving addresses during the consecration banquet that followed the Divine Liturgy. Also attending were nuns from Hogar Rafael Ayau Orphanage in Guatemala, at which Bishop Matthias has ministered many times over the years.
Chicago’s historic Holy Trinity Cathedral was filled beyond capacity for Bishop Matthias’ installation as Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, May 1. Metropolitan Jonah presented Bishop Matthias with the archpastoral staff as he invoked God’s blessing upon him and his ministry.
During the Liturgy, Bishop Matthias ordained Subdeacon Gregory Ealy to the diaconate.
Bishop Matthias succeeds His Eminence, the late Archbishop Job [Osacky], who had overseen the diocese from the early 1990s until his unexpected repose in December 2009.
Selected from a slate of three candidates at an assembly of clergy and laity in Minneapolis in the fall of 2010, Archimandrite Matthias subsequently was elected to the episcopacy by the Holy Synod of Bishops.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1949, he served parishes in New York and Pennsylvania after his ordination to the priesthood in 1972. He also served as prefect of and associate professor at Christ the Savior Seminary, Johnstown, Pennsylvania. A married priest with two children, he was widowed in 1997 when his wife Jeannette succumbed to leukemia. A detailed biography follows below.
His election followed a lengthy search process overseen by a special diocesan committee, the members of which considered nearly 30 potential nominees. In August 2010, the committee and the diocesan council had settled on three candidates. On a second round of balloting, delegates nominated Archimandrite Matthias.
His consecration — the first to be held by the OCA in Chicago since the late 1970s — will be attended by clergy and faithful from across the geographically vast diocese, which spans over a dozen states from Ohio to North Dakota to Missouri.
In January, Archimandrite Matthias took up residence at diocesan headquarters and began duties as the Midwest’s temporary administrator. Immediately, he began an ambitious round of visits to the diocese’s 80-some parishes and missions, familiarizing himself with his new flock. He also has participated in meetings with his fellow bishops. He sees his new ministry as one rooted in service — just as Jesus Christ came “to serve, not to be served,” so too the role of bishop in the Orthodox Christian tradition is one of service to God and His People as archpastor and shepherd.