Tuesday, December 5, 2023

A Profile of Humble Service: Coronation Portrait Unveiled

M. Derosiers

ROME-RUTHENIA 5 December 2023 (NRom)

Embodying the essence of humble servant leadership and dedication to helping others, the coronation portrait of H.H. Bishop Rutherford I Ralphovich of Rome-Ruthenia was recently unveiled. It commemorates his service as the Bishop of Rome-Ruthenia and Supreme Pontiff of the United Roman-Ruthenian Church, 266th in succession from St. Peter the Apostle as Prince of the Romans, 74th Grand Duke of Ruthenia, 142nd in Gallican-Antioch succession from St. Peter, 169th in Greco-Russian succession from St. Andrew the First-Called, 145th in Armenian succession from Saints Thaddeus and Bartholomew, and 116th in Syrian-Antioch succession from St. Thomas the Apostle. The portrait incorporates symbols that represent the importance of humble and dedicated leadership in the ancient Apostolic tradition, as well as the duty to uphold the values of the Church and put faith into action.
Rutherford I at the unveiling
of the coronation portrait
As the Bishop of Rome-Ruthenia, Rutherford I has a significant role in guiding individuals in their spiritual growth. He offers prayers, guidance, and sacraments to help strengthen their faith and provide support during joyous occasions and difficult times alike. With a commitment to serving others with humility and compassion, he offers pastoral care and counsel to those in need.

The Bishop also has a responsibility to uphold the traditions of the faith. The symbols in the portrait represent his obligation to maintain ancient customs and practices, which provide a sense of continuity and stability for the faithful. This also includes the temporal heritage and tradition of the Pontifical Imperial State, Roman Empire, and Ruthenian Kingdom.

As an international ethno-religious leader, Bishop Rutherford promotes unity among the faithful, fostering collaboration and inclusivity within the greater Christian community. This creates an environment where individuals can grow spiritually and support one another even in a divisive and highly polarized world.

The Symbolism in the Coronation Portrait

The coronation portrait of the Bishop of Rome-Ruthenia showcases various symbols that represent his office. He is depicted wearing the mantum, a long red and gold robe that signifies the Apostolic authority and dignity of his office. The inclusion of flabella, ostrich feather fans that date back to ancient Egypt, is a mark of both spiritual and temporal honor and service. The background displays the pontifical coat of arms (which also is embroidered at the bottom of each side of the mantum), representing not only personal identity, lineage, and tradition, but that of all the people of the United Roman-Ruthenian Church. The gold pastoral staff, topped with a crucifix, emphasizes the Bishop's role as a shepherd. Lastly, the iconic tiara is a variation of a bishop's mitre and symbolizes spiritual and temporal authority. Some of these same symbols of office are employed by different patriarchs worldwide.

Divine Stitching: About the Vestment Tailor

All the vestments depicted in the coronation portrait, including the tiara, and also those worn in the unveiling photo, were specially tailored by Sacred Heart Vestments. Renowned for their exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail, Sacred Heart Vestments is a leading ecclesial tailor that has long served clergy around the world. Their commitment to combining tradition with modern techniques, honoring age-old traditions in liturgical clothing while creating garments that are comfortable, practical, and durable is evident in every stitch and fold of their creations. 

A Historical Record and Inspiration

The coronation portrait not only commemorates this important event in the Church's history, but also serves as a reminder of the duty of the Bishop of Rome-Ruthenia in service to God and to the community. Through his guidance and wisdom, he continues to inspire countless individuals, both in and out of the United Roman-Ruthenian Church.