On August 1, 2012, a transition in the administration of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary took place as His Grace, Bishop Michael assumed the position of Interim Rector following the resignation of His Eminence, Archbishop Tikhon, who served as Seminary Rector since 2005, concurrently with his role as ruling hierarch of the Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania.
On April 25, 2012, Archbishop Tikhon submitted a letter of resignation to His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, and to the Holy Synod of Bishops. During the Spring Session of the Holy Synod (May 7-10, 2012), Metropolitan Jonah, with the concurrence of all the hierarchs, accepted His Eminence’s resignation, effective August 1, 2012. At the most recent meeting of the Lesser Synod, on July 5, 2012, Metropolitan Jonah appointed His Grace, Bishop Michael, as Interim Rector of St Tikhon’s Seminary.
In a letter to the Seminary community (available here), His Eminence explains his decision to resign, noting that the “single and fundamental reason for my decision is the reality of the full time work required within the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania.” His Eminence also emphasized that his decision “did not arise from any sense of frustration with, or disappointment in, anyone on the Board of Trustees, Administration, Faculty or Staff of the Seminary,” and he expressed his joy at continuing on as a member of the Board of Trustees and as a participant in the sacred task of theological education.
His Grace, Bishop Michael has begun working with the Seminary Dean, Archpriest Alexander Atty, in the preparations for the new academic year at St Tikhon’s Seminary. A large incoming class is expected and the Faculty, Staff and Administration are busy making arrangements to welcome the new and returning seminarians for the challenges of the new year.
Bishop Michael stated that he and the entire Seminary are grateful to Archbishop Tikhon for his yeoman service to the theological school over the many years that His Eminence has taught as Professor and the past seven years he has served as Rector.
His Grace noted that his own goal is to continue the rich legacy of His Eminence and Father Alexander – of spiritually forming and theologically educating the future clergy of the Orthodox Church in this country and in nations all over the world – a legacy initially inspired by St. Tikhon of Moscow, who envisioned a school to form priests in South Canaan when he was Archbishop in America, and a legacy carried into our own time by St. Nikolai of Zhicha, who served the last years of his life as Rector of St. Tikhon’s Seminary.
Fr. Alexander expressed his gratitude to His Eminence, Archbishop Tikhon for the support, guidance, and love he has shown during Father Alexander's tenure at the seminary helm. "We know that the love Archbishop Tikhon has for the seminary community is shared by Bishop Michael and all of us here at the seminary look forward to the continuation of the support of both of these great warriors for Christ."