Representatives of the Diocese of Cleveland were among those present for the ordination and enthronement of Bishop Robert Mark Pipta as the sixth bishop of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma. Twenty bishops and nearly 100 priests and deacons attended the procession, ordination and enthronement.
The diocesan delegation included Bishop Edward Malesic and Auxiliary Bishop Michael Woost as well as Father Gary Yanus, diocesan judicial vicar; Father Charles Strebler, assistant judicial vicar, defender of the bond and pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in Avon Lake; Father Richard Bona, auditor/assessor and pastor of St. Emeric Parish in Cleveland; and Father Eric Orzech, pastor of St. Stanislaus and St. Casimir parishes in Cleveland.
Father Yanus also serves as the chancellor and Father Strebler is the judicial vicar for the eparchy.
(See photo gallery above.)
The celebration took place on Nov. 8 at Holy Resurrection Parish in Euclid.
Celebrant for the liturgy was Archbishop William Skurla, metropolitan of the Byzantine-Ruthenian Catholic Church in America and archbishop of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Concelebrants were Cardinal Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, Bishop Kurt Burnette, bishop of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, New Jersey, apostolic administrator of the Holy Protection of Mary Eparchy of Phoenix, Arizona, and apostolic administrator of SS. Cyril and Methodius Exarchate of Toronto, Canada; and the Most Rev. Nil Yuriy Lushchak, OFM, apostolic administrator of the Eparchy of Mukachevo.
After opening prayers, blessings and songs, the archdeacon intoned: “All honorable Father Robert, the Holy Father Francis, the pope of Rome, blesses your sanctity to be the bishop of the God-saved city of Parma.”
The pope’s decree of appointment was read and the bishop elect replied: “Because the Holy Father Francis, the pope of Rome, has decreed me to carry out this ministry, I give thanks and accept and say nothing to the contrary.”
The metropolitan led him into the sanctuary before the holy table. The ordaining bishops led the bishop-elect around the holy table three times, and he kissed the four corners of the holy table each time.
The rite of ordination – which is similar to the one used by the Roman Catholic Church but with additional prayers and songs -- took place at the holy table an icon screen. After the newly ordained bishop was “crowned,” he exchanged the kiss of peace with the metropolitan and all bishops in attendance. The metropolitan, bishops and concelebrating priests went to the chairs behind the holy table and the Divine Liturgy continued with readings, the Gospel, songs, a homily, blessings and the consecration.
As the liturgy ended, the dismissal included a blessing, hymn and the chant for long life (polychronion). In this chant, there was a prayer for many years for Francis, the pope of Rome, as well as the metropolitan, the newly ordained bishop, other bishops, priests, monastic orders and all Christians of true faith.
Bishop Pipta, 56, was appointed by Pope Francis as the sixth bishop of the Eparchy of Parma on Aug. 31.
Born and raised in California, he was a priest of the Eparchy of Phoenix and served as rector of the SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Pittsburgh for nearly 10 years before his appointment. The ordination took place on the feast of St. Michael and all the Holy Incorporeal Powers.
Bishop Pipta was ordained as a priest in the Byzantine Catholic Church on April 21, 1994. He served in Las Vegas, Nevada, San Diego, California and in Pittsburgh during his priesthood. The new bishop has served on the Intereparchial Liturgy and Music Commissions and has served as eparchial vocations director for more than 19 years.
The Eparchy of Parma was formed on Feb. 21, 1969 by St. Pope Paul VI. Originally, it included Ohio – except the counties on the eastern border – and all states to the west, including Alaska and Hawaii. In 1982, at the request of the American Byzantine hierarchs, the Holy See established the western Eparchy of Van Nuys (California), reducing the territory of the Eparchy of Parma.
Currently, the Eparchy of Parma includes Ohio (except for the eastern border counties), Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. There are 28 parishes across the 12 states with 4,309 parishioners. There are 25 priests, 15 deacons, eight women religious and two men religious in the eparchy.