The Very Rev. Archimandrite Atanasie Rusnac was ordained Tuesday to the Episcopacy during a hierarchical Divine Liturgy led by Metropolitan Iosif of Western and Southern Europe at the Romanian Diocesan Centre in Rome.
His Grace Bishop Atanasie of Bogdania is the first assistant bishop of the Romanian Diocese of Italy established 10 years ago.
Concelebrants for the Divine Liturgy included:
- Metropolitan Serafim of Germany, Central and Northern Europe,
- Bishop Ignatie of Husi,
- Bishop Siluan of Italy,
- Bishop Timotei of Spain and Portugal,
- Bishop Antonie of Orhei, auxiliary bishop to the Chisinau Archdiocese,
- Bishop Marc of Neamt, auxiliary bishop to the Western Europe Archdiocese,
- Bishop Teofil of Iberia, auxiliary bishop to the Spain and Portugal Diocese.
Sin is the only reality that abases us
After the proclamation of the gospel reading, His Grace Bishop Ignatie of Husi offered his reflections on the search for God.
He said we must search for God wholeheartedly and that most of the time we look for the Heavenly Father only through a cognitive process.
Referring to sin, the Bishop of Husi said that ‘it is the only reality that abases us,’ being ‘the agent of our spiritual dispersal.’
‘That is why we experience these inner crises and cannot transform our life into a permanent epiclesis, in a continuous invocation of the Holy Spirit, in order to then partake of Christ,’ Bp. Ignatie said May 1.
Reflecting on the episcopal ministry, Bp Ignatie said ‘it is a ceaseless calling of the Holy Spirit.’
First assistant bishop installed
At the end of the Liturgy, Metropolitan Iosif read out the patriarchal confirmation decree for the appointment of Archimandrite Atanasie Rusnac as Assistant Bishop to the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Italy.
Metr. Iosif bestowed upon bp Teofil the final liturgical items associated with episcopacy, the mantle and the pastoral staff.
‘Receive this Staff to shepherd the flock of Christ entrusted to you. To the obedient let it be a help and a support. With it, lead the disobedient and the wayward to admonishment and instruction.’
Bp Atanasie was presented with a blessing cross as a gift of Patriarch Daniel.
Christ is the model of archpriestly life
After the installation ceremony, Metropolitan Iosif pointed out several activities of the newly-ordained Bishop Atanasie of Bogdania, a spiritual son of Bishop Siluan of Italy.
His Eminence said that ‘Christ called him to the ministry of the Church.’ He also recalled the efforts made by Archimandrite Atanasie in the past for the edification of the Romanian Orthodox community in Italy, being a real support for Bishop Siluan.
‘Father Atanasie, behold how God brought you from your native Chisinau, from the bosom of your family, to Europe and turned you from your career to the episcopal ministry.’
‘May you never forget that Christ’s sacrifice and love are the model of your life,’ Metr. Iosif advised.
Metr. Iosif conveyed the blessing of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel and encouraged the newly-ordained bishop to guide to salvation with diligence and much love the believers entrusted for pastorship.
Bishop Atanasie of Bogdania thanked all those who contributed to his spiritual edification and professional formation.
Episcopate is experienced and discovered day by day
The local bishop Siluan spoke about the pastoral ministry of the bishop noting that ‘episcopate is experienced and discovered day by day.’
‘Let us have fear of God, the positive restlessness, as Saint Paisios of Mount Athos called it, for the growth and formation of our clergy and believers, of the youth and children in our Diocese, because we will give account of them at the final judgement,’ Bp. Siluan said.
At the end, Metropolitan Iosif congratulated Bp Siluan for his 10th enthronement anniversary and read out the congratulatory message sent by Patriarch Daniel.
‘Gifted by God with a real missionary vocation, doubled by a very energetic nature, His Grace Bishop Siluan has fulfilled and multiplied the deeds of merciful love, developing a rich social-philanthropic work by establishing many charity institutions and settlements. Moreover, the pastoral work dedicated to children, youth, and family, has represented a missionary priority, embodied in many activities, contests, camps and pilgrimages,’ the message reads.
Election of Bishop Atanasie
The Very Reverend Archimandrite Atanasie Rusnac was elected assistant bishop to the Italy Diocese by the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church during its February 15 working session.
Bishop Atanasie of Bogdania was born in 1982 in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova, receiving the Romanian citizenship in 2010.
He studied telecommunications at the National Institute of Applied Sciences in Lyon France and pastoral theology at the St Serge Institute in Paris.
He graduated a master program in Canonical Law at St Andrei Saguna Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Sibiu.
In 2011 he was appointed chancellor (diocesan vicar) of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Italy.
Photography courtesy of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Italy