On Sunday, January 5, 2020, His Beatitude celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the mission parish of All Saints of North America, Alexandria, Virginia. During the course of the Divine Liturgy, His Beatitude awarded Archpriest Michael Koblosh the mitre in recognition of his decades of service to the Orthodox Church. Also serving at the Divine Liturgy was Archpriest Michael Westerberg, who was celebrating his 45th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. May God grant Archpriest Michael and Matushka Nadia Koblosh; and Archpriest Michael Westerberg and Matushka Lydia many years of health. See below His Beatitude's words to Archpriest Michael at the awarding of the mitre.
Fr. Michael, at one of its recent meetings, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America reviewed the various awards for clergy and I presented your name for consideration for the highest liturgical award for priests, which is the right to wear the mitre.
The Holy Synod unanimously gave its approval for this and today it is my joy, as the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America and as your diocesan bishop, to formally bestow the mitre upon you at this Divine Liturgy, here at the All Saints of North America, the altar and the community that you have served faithfully for the past 10 years, even in retirement.
The presentation of the mitre is the crowning of your ministry as an Orthodox priest, a ministry that you have exercised faithfully, from your beginnings in Los Angeles, within the Diocese of the West, and continuing in the Diocese of New York and New Jersey, where you served at East Meadow and Whitestone, and most notably in the Diocese of New England, where you served several parishes and also distinguished yourself as the Dean of the Connecticut Deanery.
But it is even more glowing of a tribute to your service to Christ and His Holy Church that this award is being given to you here, in the bosom of the community that you have sacrificially guided, nurtured, and pastored as a retired priest.
Together with your wife, Matushka Nadia, you have taken the talent that was nurtured in your heart, harnessed the wisdom that you and her, together with your children, have accumulated over your many years of service, and brought it to visible fruition in your work as missionary priest here in Alexandria. Here, there have been many trials and difficulties as you strive to find a permanent place of worship for this community and it is your wisdom as a pastor, your insight as a confessor, and your calm and peaceful demeanour that have, with God’s grace, brought this community to its present place of stability.
May this award be an assurance to you, Fr. Michael, of the recognition of the entire Church, beginning with the Holy Synod of Bishops, for you excellent and faithful service to Jesus Christ and to the Orthodox Church in America. As is the marriage crown, may this mitre be an image of both the life of martyrdom that is the priesthood, but of the victory that is found in the faithful and dedicated priestly ministry that you have exercised for these many years.
Photos by Victor Lutes.