His Grace, Bishop Sergios of Portland, has been granted retirement, at his own request, by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Church of Greece.
Over the past two years, Bishop Sergios has been dealing with spinal arthritis, which reached the stage of interfering with the normal round of duties that fall to Bishops this past Pascha, when he found that he was unable to preside at the Paschal Services - for the first time since he was ordained 45 years ago - a painful moment in every sense.
Since a Hierarch is the liturgical president of his diocese, His Grace understood at that time that he would be unable to continue his episcopal ministry to the Portland Diocese.
The fact that the Portland Diocese covers so large a geographical area, requiring constant travel by regional airline, car, train and bus, means that the Portland Diocese also needs a Bishop who is able to travel frequently, extensively and often for extended periods of time. A Bishop capable of that kind of ongoing service is clearly indispensable to the future mission of the Portland Diocese.
His Grace made his condition known to the President of the Synod in North America - Metropolitan Demetrios of New York - and asked him to forward a formal request for retirement in his behalf. This request was granted, and will be effective on 13 January 2015 (all dates according to the civil calendar).
The Portland Diocese of the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece (GOC), will merge with the venerable Archdiocese of Etna of the Synod in Resistance, headed by His Eminence, Archbishop Chrysostomos, by an agreement reached on 19 November, 2014 by the Holy Synod of the Church in Greece, which includes the Hierarchs of North America and the Bishops of the Synod in Resistance. This merger makes good common sense and accords well with the clear teaching of Psalm 132: Behold now, what is so good or so pleasant as for brethren to dwell together in unity?
His Eminence, Metropolitan Demetrios of New York will serve as (and be commemorated in the Portland Diocese as) locum tenens of the Portland Diocese. Locum tenens is the Latin term used for what is in effect the temporary administrator of a vacant Diocese.
A new Bishop for the unified Diocese comprising the Archdiocese of Etna and the Portland Diocese (which covers the Pacific Time Zone and such areas of the Mountain Time Zone as Tucson, Arizona), will be elected on 22 January, 2015. When this new Bishop is installed, the position of locum tenens of the Portland Diocese will cease and the commemoration of the newly-installed Bishop of a unified Diocese will begin.
Bishop Sergios, after his retirement as diocesan Hierarch, will continue to serve as Igoumenos (Abbot) of St Gregory of Sinai Monastery in Lake County, California. In a letter notifying his Diocese of his impending retirement dated January 7, 2015 , Bishop Sergios also expressed the hope that, with the blessing of his successor, he can remain in contact with the individuals and communities he has come to know over the past 10 years, first as Suffragan Bishop to Metropolitan Moses of Portland (now of Toronto), and later as ruling Hierarch of the Portland See.
The Diocesan website will announce the outcome of the election of a new Bishop of Portland on January 22, 2015, and will announce the date of that Bishop's installation as Bishop of Portland. Bishop Sergios asks the clergy, monastics and laity of the Portland Diocese to earnestly pray that God will guide the Hierarchs undertaking this crucial election on January 22.