On Sunday, January 29, 2023, Nicholas Anton, Director of Operations for the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States, was ordained to the Holy Diaconate at the Saint Savas Serbian Orthodox Church in San Gabriel, California. Given Deacon Anton’s history in the Church thus far, Archbishop Elpidophoros said, his ordination is “spiritually logical,” while its “setting and…occasion” — during the 12th Assembly of Bishops — could not be more appropriate.
In fact, prior to his current office at the Assembly, Dn. Anton worked at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, assisting the English language ministry of the Mother Church, as well as its “environmental apostolate to the world.” Later, at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, he specialized in inter-Orthodox relations, representing the Church at the United Nations and serving as Ecumenical Officer.
“Your responsibilities in the Church are to its conciliar structure,” said His Eminence, “where the unity of the Church is made manifest. This is the table at which you minister, not only [at] the Holy Table assisting in the celebration of the Divine and Holy Eucharist.”
In his remarks, Dn. Anton thanked his family for their support and their inspiration; he also expressed his gratitude to his former professor, the late Dr. George Bebis of blessed memory, who he said taught him that one can be “at the same time steadfast in the faith and yet openminded to the world.”
“The most basic doctrine of faith proclaims that there is only ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic church,’ and the canons prescribe a singular bishop in a singular region,” Dn. Anton said. “Sadly, at times we find ourselves in a state of broken communion, petty differences, power struggles, stifling parochialism, and pompous ethnocentrism. I humbly draw attention to these challenges not because they are unsurmountable obstacles, but because acknowledging them is in fact the first step toward building true community for actual unity.”
Indeed, Dn. Anton finds the meaning of his mission and ministry in the supplication “Having asked for the unity of faith and for the communion of the Holy Spirit, let us commend ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ.” Here, he said, is where two major themes emerge: unity in community and life in Christ.
Source: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America