Archbishop Tikhon, Archbishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, was elected Primate of the Orthodox Church in America during the 17th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America at Holy Trinity Church here Tuesday, November 13, 2012.
Six hundred and sixty three hierarchs, clergy and lay delegates and observers representing OCA parishes across the US, Canada and Alaska participated in the Council. Five hundred and ninety were eligible to vote.
The Council opened with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy and, at noon, the plenary session. After the celebration of a Service of Thanksgiving and the singing of the troparion invoking the Holy Spirit, Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary, opened the plenary session.
“Christ grows brighter as we grow dimmer, as we approach the eternal light,” said His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate, Locum Tenens of the Metropolitan See, in his opening address. “And it is within this context that we gather today for one purpose: to glorify Father, Son and Holy Spirit… and to elect the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America.”
No single candidate received the required two-thirds margin on the first ballot. On the second ballot, His Eminence, Archbishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania and His Grace, Bishop Michael of New York and New Jersey, received 317 and 355 votes respectively.
The members of the Holy Synod retired into the altar where they elected Archbishop Tikhon.
Biography of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon
Archbishop Tikhon was born Marc R. Mollard in Boston, MA on July 15, 1966, the oldest of three children born to Francois and Elizabeth Mollard. After brief periods living in Connecticut, France, and Missouri, he and his family settled in Reading, PA, where he graduated from Wyomissing High School in 1984. In 1988 he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and Sociology from Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, after which he moved to Chicago.
In 1989 he was received into the Orthodox Church from Episcopalianism and, in the fall of the same year, he began studies at Saint Tikhon Seminary, South Canaan, PA. One year later he entered the monastic community at Saint Tikhon Monastery as a novice.
After receiving his Master of Divinity degree from Saint Tikhon Seminary in 1993, he was appointed instructor in Old Testament at Saint Tikhon Seminary. He continues to serve as Senior Lecturer in Old Testament, teaching Master level courses in the Prophets and the Psalms and Wisdom Literature. He is also an instructor in the seminary’s Extension Studies program, offering courses in the lives of the Old Testament saints, the liturgical use of the Old Testament, and the Old Testament in patristic literature.
Archbishop Tikhon collaborated with Igumen Alexander (Golitzin) in the publication of “The Living Witness of the Holy Mountain,” published by Saint Tikhon Seminary Press, by illustrating this classic book about Mount Athos.
In 1995 he was tonsured to the Lesser Schema by His Eminence, Archbishop Herman, and given the name Tikhon, in honor of Saint Patriarch Tikhon, Enlightener of North America. Later that year he was ordained to the Holy Diaconate and Holy Priesthood at Saint Tikhon Monastery. In 1998 he was elevated to the rank of Igumen, and in 2000 to the rank of Archimandrite.
In December 2002, he was appointed by Metropolitan Herman to serve as Deputy Abbot of Saint Tikhon Monastery.
His Beatitude, Metropolitan HERMAN presided at the consecration of Archbishop Tikhon [Mollard] to the episcopacy at Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery on Saturday, February 14, 2004.
Archbishop Tikhon was elevated to the rank of Archbishop on May 9, 2012.
On November 13, 2012, Archbishop Tikhon was elected Primate of the Orthodox Church in America