His Grace, Bishop Auxentios, formerly Titular Bishop of Photike, has been elected the ruling bishop of the Diocese of Etna and Portland, which combines the previously-existing Metropolis of Etna and Diocese of Portland.
As a bit of back-story, the Metropolis of Etna was formerly known as the Archdiocese of Etna, and served as the American Exarchate of the Orthodox Church of Greece, Holy Synod in Resistance (colloquially, but often disparagingly, referred to as the “Cyprianites”). Upon their union with the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece under Archbishop Kallinikos (GOC-K) in March 2014, the Archdiocese was reestablished as a Metropolis and its ruling hierarch at the time, Archbishop Chrysostomos, was retitled “Metropolitan” in order to bring the former-SiR practice into line with present Greek ecclesiastical usage, which the Church of the GOC of Greece employs (its president being the only hierarch titled “Archbishop”).
Due to practical and pastoral considerations, however, the Metropolis of Etna was not included inside the ecclesiastical structure of the Eparchy of America, presided over by His Eminence Metropolitan Demetrius of America, but rather existed as an overlapping jurisdiction directly dependent on the Holy Synod in Greece. Nevertheless, the parishes of the Metropolis were listed on the official website of the Eparchy of America as a courtesy, and the process of integration began in earnest. Bishop Auxentios attended the enthronement of Metropolitan Demetrius in May 2014, for instance.
With the dual retirements of Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Etna and Bishop Sergios of Portland, it was decided to merge the metropolis and the diocese, which mostly overlap territorially. Owing to the ecclesiastical structure outlined in the Constitution of the Autonomous Eparchy of America (granted such by the Holy Synod of the GOC of Greece in 2003, the Constitution being approved in 2004), only the President of the Eparchial Synod bears the title metropolitan, and the bishops of the various dioceses, although ruling hierarchs, bear the title of bishop (this is slightly different than the situation in Greece, where almost all ruling hierarchs are Metropolitans; there are historical reasons for this, which are beyond the scope of the present entry).
As such, the new Diocese of Etna and Portland is part of the Eparchy of America, and its ruling hierarch, Bishop Auxentios, is a member of the local Eparchial Synod of America, presided over by Metropolitan Demetrius of America.
The following is the announcement, as communicated from the Saint Gregory Palamas Monastery via email distribution:
Dear Clergy, Faithful, and Friends:
Today at 3:45 a.m., we were informed in a call from Greece that the Holy Synod of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece had unanimously elected His Grace, Bishop Auxentios of Photike as Bishop of the newly-formed Diocese of Etna and Portland. His title will now be “Bishop of Etna and Portland.” We are delighted to pass on this news to you.
His Grace will replace His Eminence, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Etna, who recently retired from active status. His Grace, Bishop Auxentios’ diocese will encompass the parishes and monastic communities of the former Archdiocese and Metropolis of Etna and those of the former Diocese of Portland, as well as the scattered parishes of the Synod in Western America.
Needless to say, everyone here at the monastery is delighted, and we all wish His Grace, who will return from Greece on Saturday, “Εἰς πολλὰ ἔτη, Δέσποτα”—”Many Years, Master.” We also thank all of you for your prayers for the successful and God-pleasing outcome of the meeting of the Holy Synod.
You may congratulate His Grace directly. His personal e-mail address is: <email@example.com>. Since he is traveling, he will no doubt be unable to respond for some time.
His Grace’s official biography:
His Grace, Bishop Auxentios of Etna and Portland, is 61 years of age and a convert to Orthodoxy. He was born in Cleveland, OH, on June 28, 1953, and graduated from University School, a private preparatory school in Cleveland.
He completed his undergraduate education at Princeton University, where he studied mathematics and religion and was a student of the late Father Georges Florovsky, who served on his thesis committee, and the Most Reverend Chrysostomos, former Metropolitan of Etna, then a doctoral candidate and preceptor in the department of psychology. He also holds Licentiate in Theology from the Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies in Etna, CA, and received his doctoral degree in liturgics from the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley.
His Grace was tonsured a monk in 1976, ordained Deacon in the same year, Presbyter in 1977, and Titular Bishop and assistant and secretary to the then Archbishop (later Metropolitan) Chrysostomos of Etna on January 7/22, 1991. He is the author or co-author of a dozen books, including his doctoral dissertation on the Rite of the Holy Fire in the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem, and a score of articles in academic journals. He serves as Director of the Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies and is editor of its triannual journal, Orthodox Tradition.