Maddox Gardner appointed as “Nicholas Bishop”

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In Photo: (left to right) The Rev'd Michael Wilton, Bishop's Deacon; Maddox Gardner, Nicholas Bishop' and Father James Gardner, Bishop's Chaplain Photo by David Epps
Selecting Nicholas Bishops, or Boy Bishops, was once a popular tradition throughout Europe, from the tip of Italy to the Hebrides in Scotland and from Ireland to Hungary. The ceremony is a lesson in humility and recognition of the wisdom of youthful innocence. It is a way of symbolically representing the teaching of Christ, “[U]nless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven…”
The appointment of Boy Bishops honors the feast of St. Nicholas of Myra, patron of children, who is traditionally remembered as having a special, personal concern for the safety and well-being of children.
In Europe, the Boy Bishops took the bishop’s throne and wore his regalia, presiding at all services in the cathedral. The altar servers sat in the places of dignity usually occupied by the clergy and the reverend canons of the cathedral filled the roles of altar servers. The Boy Bishop was empowered to declare extra holidays, and to decree the distribution of sweets to the children of the diocese, paid for from the diocesan treasury.
Though Queen Elizabeth I ended the custom in England, it survived on the Continent until 1799. In modern times, churches have begun to revive the custom, especially in English cathedrals and parishes. The Cathedral of Christ the King, Sharpsburg, was the first Charismatic Episcopal parish to observe this ancient tradition.
Maddox Gardner was appointed as this year’s boy bishop and served as a Chalice bearer for Holy Eucharist. Maddox is the son of Andrew and Jennifer Gardner, Senoia, and the grandson of Father Jim and Christine Gardner, Tyrone.