Sermon by Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America as the Episcopal Staff Was Entrusted to Bishop Irenei of Sacramento
(November 6, 2016)
Your Grace Vladyka Irenei!
On this day, with the laying upon of hands, you received the Grace of the sacred episcopacy. You have been called to the lofty service to the Holy Mother Church. You are now entrusted with the care to teach, to guide, and to protect spiritually priests, deacons and laity. Be the manifestation of wisdom, humility and obedience to Christ, for all of which you received this gift, which is Divine Grace, and for which you will answer during the Last Judgment of Christ.
As a bishop, you are a sower: he who sows seeds upon untilled earth. The seeds that you sow are the teachings of Christ, His words. The earth you sow are the hearts of mankind. As a sower who prepares the earth before he plants, you as a bishop need to prepare the heart of man, in order for it to be rich, and so, when receiving this seed, gain spiritual strength.
Do not seek the counsel of men. Do not depend on mortals! When someone places his hopes in man, he will fall together with him, since human help, as the Holy Fathers teach, is weaker than a cobweb. This is the path of the fallen world in which we live.
St John Chrysostom teaches that when we surround ourselves with educated men filled with wisdom, then in the end, if we follow their advice, we are manifested with them and become like them. Still, there is something greater. Through prayer, you will stand beside the One Who can grant you needed strength, understanding and support—Christ God Himself.
Envelop yourself in prayer. Stand with God. As your heavenly patron, St Irenaeus, said: “The Word of God became man in order the man can become God” (Against Heresies, book 5, preface).
Receive the crosier: a symbol of your episcopal authority; and now that you are a prince of Holy Mother Church, take it, go forth and do the Lord’s bidding.