Maxim (Vasilijević) of Western America
On July 30, 2006, in the Cathedral Church in Alhambra, (Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.) His Grace, Bishop Longin of the New Gracanica Metropolitanate, during the Holy Liturgy, enthroned His Grace Maxim, previously the Bishop of Hum, Vicar in the Metropolitanate of Dabro-Bosna, and professor at the Orthodox Theological Faculty in Belgrade, into the Throne of the Bishops of the Western American Diocese. Bishop Maxim was elected to the Western American Diocese at the regular session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, held in May of this year. Serving at the Holy Liturgy were twelve priests, which was attended by the Orthodox faithful in the temple of St. Steven the First-Crowned in Alhambra, which was filled beyond capacity. According to the ancient ecclesiastical tradition, a new Bishop is installed at the Divine Eucharist. Leading the new Bishop to the Throne, Bishop Longin, the previous Administrator of the Western American Diocese, read the decision of the Holy Assembly of Bishops regarding the election of Bishop Maxim. He then congratulated the faithful of the Diocese on the arrival of their new Bishop, and called upon them to listen to their new Archpastor, to pray to God for him, and the whole-heartedly support him. He then greeted Bishop Maxim, wishing him God's assistance, and much success in his pastoral work in the regions of Western America.
Bishop Maxim, who was elected to this Diocese by the Holy Assembly of Bishops thanks to the archpastoral care and love of Bishop Longin, upon taking the Throne, addressed all present with an appropriate sermon. He thanked the Lord for the grace of the enthronement, as well as the Holy Assembly of Bishops for their decision to entrust him with the care of God's Church in the far away world. He also expressed his gratitude to all of the previous honorable Hierarchs: Gregory, of blessed memory; Hrizostom, and Jovan, as well as Bishop Longin. (You can read the sermon in its entirety, in English.) Bishop Maxim emphasized that today, only Orthodoxy lives the faith what breathes the ethos and spirit of self-sacrifice for others, the source of this being in the Holy Liturgy and the ascetical way of life. The Orthodox Church accepts all people, but especially the sinners who emulate Christ, "of a gentle and humble heart", who, as the Good Samaritan, "pours forth oil and wine" upon man's wounds and weaknesses. The newly-enthroned Bishop pointed out that it is crucial today to keep and protect the most dear gift of peace, unity, and catholicity (universality) of the Church, which the devil begrudges, and which man's sins and weaknesses destroy. This unity concerns not just the relationship with the Mother Church in Serbia, but with all of the Churches on this continent. In a world that must face the ethos and culture of the West, Orthodoxy will not be able to offer a witness true to the faith if it should be disunited, but only if it speaks "with one mouth and one heart". The Churches are called to overcome their isolation within their nationalistic boundaries, and to work and show themselves as one Church, unto the glory of God – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In ending, as a remembrance of his enthronement, gave each of the faithful in attendance a Prayer Book in English, illustrated with icons by the iconographer Fr. Stamatis Skliris. Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church in USA and Canada