His Grace Bishop THOMAS thought he would be at Antiochian Village for the College conference when he began his 4 hour drive from the Chancery in Charleston, West Virginia on December 27th. But just a few miles from the Village he recieved a message from Metropolitan PHILIP asking him to represent the Antiochian Archdiocese at the Enthronement of Metropolitan JONAH of the OCA. Bishop BASIL, who was originally scheduled to attend, was prevented by bad weather. Bishop THOMAS then drove the 4-1/2 hours to the Washington area in order to attend the Enthronement and Divine Liturgy on Sunday the 28th.
Bishop THOMAS arrived at Saint Nicholas Cathedral at 7:45 on Sunday morning and vested with around 16 other Hierarchs from the various Orthodox Jurisdictions. The occasion provided the opportunity for many of the bishops to greet one another and catch up. At one point the new Metropolitan JONAH came in and asked if Bishop THOMAS remembered attending seminary with him, which he did of course.
At the end of the Liturgy several of the visiting hierarchs and ambassadors communicated a message of joy and encouragement to the new Metropolitan. Bishop THOMAS delivered a message from Metropolitan PHILIP expressing hope for unity among the Orthodox Churches and the support of the Antiochian Archdiocese for the new Metropolitan. Bishop THOMAS delivered the heartfelt message with his usual sense of humor which everyone present seemed to enjoy.
Afterwards His Grace Bishop THOMAS expressed his thoughts on this significant day saying, “It was a blessing to be in Washington at the enthronement of His Beatitude, JONAH, of the Orthodox Church in America. I was moved by his message of unity for not only the faithful of the OCA, but for all the Orthodox in America. I was struck by the similarity of his message with that of His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP. It is my sincere hope that the enthronement will mark the beginning of unification of all the Orthodox jurisdictions in America.”