Author Topic: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly  (Read 24196 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Fr. George

  • formerly "Cleveland"
  • Administrator
  • Stratopedarches
  • *******
  • Posts: 21,081
  • May the Lord bless you and keep you always!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« on: December 02, 2009, 12:09:27 PM »
This thread is only for documents & reports about the North American Episcopal Assembly (EA). 

Discussion should take place in the following thread: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,27881.0.html

This is designed to be a location for all documents from the Assembly throughout its existence, not merely the 1st meeting.  Please keep this in mind.


If people want to have document threads for the other regional assemblies, please make them.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2010, 06:27:14 PM by Fr. George »
I don't typically presume to speak for Mor
You can presume to speak for Mor.  

How in Mor's good name
one hundred fifty four posts
No Rachel Weisz pic

Selam

Offline Fr. George

  • formerly "Cleveland"
  • Administrator
  • Stratopedarches
  • *******
  • Posts: 21,081
  • May the Lord bless you and keep you always!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2010, 03:18:10 PM »
ADDRESS OF HIS EMINENCE ARCHBISHOP DEMETRIOS OF AMERICA, CHAIRMAN

At the Episcopal Assembly of North and Central America


http://edit.goarch.org/news/addressassembly/view

Helmsley Park Lane Hotel
New York, New York
(May 26, 2010)

* * *
 

Your Eminences, Your Excellencies and Your Graces,
Beloved Brothers and Concelebrants in the Holy Spirit
Of the Holy Orthodox Churches of North and Central America,

I greet all of you in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the joy of the presence of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, Who on the Holy day of Pentecost descended upon the Apostles and abides with the Church and with us, today and forever.

I convey to all of you the greetings of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who, in these very days, in fact in this very hour, even as we are meeting here in New York, he is making a reciprocal visit to the Patriarchate of Moscow. The images that we have seen of the Patriarch of the First Church of Holy Orthodoxy meeting with and being together with the Patriarch of the largest Church of Holy Orthodoxy truly impart an inspiring and visionary message for our Pan-Orthodox work, as a labor of unbreakable togetherness.

In the spirit of this important visit and brotherly encounter of the two Patriarchs, we, too, are assembled together and joyfully repeat with the Psalmist: Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together (Psalm 132:1). We are together in this place and at this historic moment by the will of our merciful God, in order to continue and promote the sacred work of the Church, the Body of Christ, as good shepherds of the Flock entrusted to us by our Heavenly Shepherd and Lord.

1. We have come together during this festive and solemn week of Pentecost, when, as we gratefully chant in the Kontakion of the Feast, “the Most High God by distributing the tongues of fire on His Apostles has called all people to unity.” In Pentecost, we celebrate the call to unity for all human beings through faith and obedience to the one Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. At the same time, however, in Pentecost, we celebrate the refreshing reality of the diversity, wonderfully manifested in the extraordinary fact of the proclamation of the one Gospel in many languages as a result of the advent of the Holy Spirit. The relevant description in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles is truly astonishing. For, upon hearing the proclamation of the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, the multitudes marveled:

And how is it that we hear, every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians: we hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. (Acts 2:8-11)

As we behold the event of Pentecost, we observe that the multiplicity of languages used by the Holy Apostle in proclaiming the single Gospel is not a cause of confusion or conflict, but a reason for thanksgiving and celebration. The one Gospel does not obliterate linguistic, ethnic, or cultural differences and particularities. The Gospel is clearly a call to unity, but as our history of 2000 years demonstrates, it does not cause an eclipse of the diversity within the Church. And this speaks directly to our case.

Indeed, as we consider the history of the Church, we see that through the ages the Church promotes unity but resists homogenization and reductionism. Remember the example coming from the Second Century A.D., when the Early Church outrightly rejected Tatian’s effort to compile a single or uniform Gospel text from the four canonical Gospels, the so-called “Diatessaron.” In the mind of the Church, there was only one Jesus; but this one Jesus Christ was revealed through four Gospel accounts, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And this Biblical diversity offered to the Church a unique perspective, and a richer and more textured understanding of the One Christ, Son of God and Son of Man.

We strive for unity because the Lord asked of us to be one, but diversity and differentiation are not to be feared. They are gifts that are to be used for the glory of God. Our unity cannot exist to destroy such differentiation; rather, our unity is meant to flourish as a result of our natural diversity, be it linguistic, cultural or ethnic. Is this not exactly the condition of our universal Orthodoxy today? Of course, problems related to unity, or to differentiation, or to both, always existed in the Church, starting already in the time of the Apostles, as the Book of the Acts of the Apostles testifies. This is a valid observation for us today.

We come together to face the problems that have arisen in our region, where the Orthodox Faith has flourished for generations. As we have grown and established ourselves, situations have been created that need our attention and our wisdom.

Indeed, we have, as the Apostle Paul says: … one body, and one Spirit, … one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4: 4-6) But our unity is not a theoretical premise viewed on a grand scale; it is a calling for us, indispensable for our witness to the Crucified and Risen Lord. It is a reality that has to be manifested in the local parish, the diocese, the jurisdiction, the autocephalous churches or the totality of the universal Church. Unity starts from the elementary Church community, the local parish, as it happened when Saint Paul asked the Corinthians that there should be no schisms among them (1 Corinthians 1:10), or when he urged the Ephesians to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, (Ephesians 4:6).

2. Beloved brothers in the Lord, being mindful of the above and the need to resolve any related problems, we have come together in accordance with the decisions of the Heads of the Most Holy Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches, who, at their Holy Synaxis at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in October of 2008, expressed their strong

… desire for the swift healing of every canonical anomaly that has arisen from historical circumstances and pastoral requirements, such as in the so-called Orthodox Diaspora, with a view to overcoming every possible influence that is foreign to Orthodox ecclesiology.

This specific expression of the will of the Heads of the worldwide Orthodox Churches was introduced in essence and with great precision by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in his opening address to the aforementioned Synaxis, when he stated:

With a sense of our Church's obligation before God and History in an age when the unified witness of Orthodoxy is judged crucial and expected by all, we invite and call on you fraternally that, with the approval also of our respective Holy Synods, we may proceed to the following necessary actions:

(1) To advance the preparations for the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, already commenced through Panorthodox Pre-Conciliar Consultations.

(2) To activate the 1993 agreement of the Inter-Orthodox Consultation of the Holy and Great Council in order to resolve the pending matter of the Orthodox Diaspora.

As a result of the pertinent resolutions of the Synaxis, the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference convened at the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy from June 6th to the 12th in 2009, charged with the task of preparing the ground for the appropriate actions. In its Communiqué the Pre-Conciliar Conference stated:

The theme of the 4th Pre-Conciliar Panorthodox Conference was, in accordance with the will of the Primates and the representatives of the local Orthodox Churches, as expressed in the Message of their Holy Synaxis at the Phanar (October, 2008 ), is the discussion of the subject of the canonical organization of the Orthodox Diaspora. The relevant decision regarding the agenda was agreed upon by the Conference at the opening of its proceedings.

The Conference examined the texts prepared by the Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Committee in its conferences at Chambésy, namely: a) from November 10-17, 1990; and b) from November 7-13, 1993; as well as the document of the Conference of Canon Lawyers held in Chambésy from April 9th to 14th, 1995. These texts, together with the relevant clarifications, supplements, corrections and additions, were unanimously agreed upon.

The Conference expressed the common desire of all Orthodox Churches for a solution to the problem of the canonical organization of the Orthodox Diaspora, in accordance with the ecclesiology, canonical tradition and practice of the Orthodox Church. The Conference decided to establish new Bishops Assemblies in certain regions throughout the world in order to resolve the problem of the Diaspora, namely for the Orthodox faithful that have settled outside the traditional boundaries of the local Orthodox Churches. The Presidents of these Assemblies are the primate hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in that region or, in their absence, the next in order of the Church Diptychs.

The members of these Assemblies include all those recognized by all Orthodox Churches as canonical bishops, who shepherd the existing communities in each region. The mission of the Bishops Assemblies is the proclamation and promotion of the unity of the Orthodox Church, the common pastoral ministry to the Orthodox faithful of the region, as well as their common witness to the world. The decisions of the Bishops Assemblies are made on the basis of the principle of unanimity of the Churches, which are represented therein by bishops.

Beloved Brothers in Christ, it is precisely these suggestions, proposed by the Pan-Orthodox Pre-Conciliar Conference and fully approved by all Orthodox Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches, that have brought us here today when we celebrate the fullness of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church. Thus, we have arrived at this important moment in our history.

3. Before proceeding with our work these days, let us call to mind the geographical regions in which the Episcopal Assemblies like ours will be convening. They are as follows:

(1) North America and Central America.
(2) South America.
(3) Australia, New Zealand and Oceania.
(4) Great Britain and Ireland.
(5) France.(6) Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg.
(7) Austria.
(8 ) Italy and Malta.
(9) Switzerland and Lichtenstein.
(10)Germany.
(11)Scandinavian countries (except Finland).
(12)Spain and Portugal.

In accordance with the decision of the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference:


The Bishops of the Diaspora, living in the Diaspora and possessing parishes in multiple regions, will be members of the Episcopal Assemblies of those regions.

Allow me an observation here. The word “Diaspora” is not being used in any pejorative sense; rather it is merely a description of places where no single Autonomous or Autocephalous Church governs all the Orthodox who live therein. In fact, the Message of the Primates, included in your folders, uses the expression, “so-called Diaspora.” I am aware that some of us take offense at the word, but I ask that you apply your understanding to the bigger picture, and that we try to find a word better than the “so-called Diaspora” to describe our situation.

The fact is that Orthodoxy is dispersed throughout the world in places where multi-jurisdictional realities have ensued from a whole complex of facts, not the least being immigration. The vital presence of our Churches throughout the world bears witness to the ongoing work of pastoral care of our flocks who have moved around the globe. It also bears witness to the continuous preaching of the Gospel that has brought an abundance of converts to the Faith. Neither of these realities stands in opposition to the other. They are merely the facts of our existence and they should be cause for celebrating the unique gifts and talents that all of our communities bring the Church universal.

Beloved Brothers in the Lord, with that said, allow me to set the stage, as it were, for our deliberations, by refreshing our collective memory of the work of the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference, whose decisions and conclusions form the very basis for our work.

In the “Decision,” subscribed to by all Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches through their duly appointed representatives, there was an exceedingly important acknowledgement of a basic reality that we face. As the Decision puts it:

… it is affirmed that during the present phase it is not possible, for historical and pastoral reasons, for an immediate transition to the strictly canonical order of the Church on this issue, that is, the existence of only one bishop in the same place.  For this reason, the Conference came to the decision to propose the creation of a temporary situation that will prepare the ground for a strictly canonical solution of the problem, based on the principles and guidelines set out below. Of necessity, this preparation will not extend beyond the convening of the future Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church, so that it (the Council) can proceed with a canonical solution of the problem.

4. I would ask that all of us pay special and close attention to the language of the Decision. Three very important points are made here about the nature of our work as a Bishops’ Assembly.

(1) First, the uncanonical overlapping of episcopal jurisdictions is not only admitted, but also understood within an historical and pastoral context. All of us who are bishops of the Church, and who have vowed to uphold the sacred canons of the Church, are fully aware that the uncanonical condition of the status of Orthodoxy in the so-called Diaspora is due not only to multiple claims on same titles, but the overlapping of territorial jurisdictions. This jurisdictional disorder is fully acknowledged. The unattainability, as well as the impracticality of an immediate transition to the canonical norm of the Orthodox Church is seen in the wider context of history and in the current conditions is basically called transitional. We must patiently and prudently find solutions to the disorder that afflict the Body of Christ in our region, and to provide healthful alternatives. This does not mean that we should tolerate further abuses – for example, when parishes are organized next to existing parishes, and titles are unnecessarily duplicated.

(2) Second, inasmuch as we are in a time of transition, we need to recognize that our Episcopal Assembly is neither designed nor empowered to be a permanent solution. We are literally a temporary situation, designed to foster the kinds of relationships that will produce a functional, canonical model that is appropriate for the region, and that can be presented to the Great and Holy Council when it convenes. In this regard, this Episcopal Assembly bears no resemblance to SCOBA, the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas, founded fifty years ago.

As you well know, SCOBA was neither a conference of all the bishops in the region, nor was it an authorized construct of the universal Church with a clearly defined functioning methodology. What SCOBA was, was a useful and productive vehicle of Pan-Orthodox cooperation. But unlike this Assembly, it could not produce definitive results in overcoming jurisdictional disorder. Even the three Bishops’ Assemblies sponsored by SCOBA: Ligonier in 1994, Washington, DC in 2001 and Chicago in 2006, could not move beyond the self-contained parameters of SCOBA, which provided a working but limited context.

Now, the work of SCOBA should not be underestimated, since it is delivering to this Assembly a legacy of noteworthy Pan-Orthodox ministries and agencies, theological dialogues, and a model for cooperation. However, as we, the Members of the Assembly, embrace the ministries and dialogues of SCOBA, we must exercise wisdom and discretion. We must take care to organize these functions in accordance with the intentions and guidelines of the foundational documents of the Assembly, issued by the Fourth Pan-Orthodox Pre-Conciliar Conference and approved by all Orthodox Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches.

This is not as easy as it sounds, for we have each been growing, to a large degree, in a certain isolation. It is as if the various Orthodox jurisdictions in the region are self-contained units, which have been growing through the decades, as each jurisdiction has sought better and better ways to serve its clergy and faithful. If we are unable to overcome the accompanying isolation, then there is no way to overcome any jurisdictional disorder.

Our task is not to envisage a Church based on our own agendas or limited vision. Our task is to work within the parameters recognized by the universal Church, and to do so, as His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew reminded us during his Apostolic Visit to the United States last October, when he said there is a need for:

… “thinking outside the box,” so that we may construct models of ecclesiastical polity and governance with foundations sunk deep in the venerable tradition of our One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church – and at the same time are relevant to the spiritual needs and societal conventions of the world within which our faithful live.

This is a tall order indeed, but one that will fulfill the aspirations of all the faithful, and not the limited agendas of a few well-placed individuals.

(3) Thirdly, our task is to prepare the ground for the planting, not necessarily to reap the harvest. This Assembly does not constitute a final canonical ecclesiastical entity. Rather, it functions out of the canonical ecclesiastical entities and members, in order to exercise the competencies with which it has been endowed by the decision of the Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches. We are not authorized to go beyond these competencies in any way.

5. At this point, please allow me to refresh our memory and awareness on the competencies of our Assembly. They are listed in the Rules of Operation of the Chambésy Documents, Article 5.

The competencies of the Episcopal Assembly are:

(1) to safeguard and contribute to the unity of the Orthodox Church of the Region in its theological, ecclesiological, canonical, spiritual, philanthropic, educational and missionary obligations.

(2) The coordination and leadership of activities of common interest in areas of pastoral care, catechesis, liturgical life, religious publishing, mass media, religious education, etc.

(3) The relations with other Christian Churches and other religions.

(4) Anything that entails obligations of the Orthodox Church in Her relations with society and government.

(5) The preparation of a plan to organize the Orthodox of the Region on a canonical basis.

Each one of these competencies will require tremendous effort on our part, and we will surely have to reach out in our Orthodox Communities for expertise both from the clergy and the laity. Legal issues, issues of financial transparency and accountability, accountability and behavior of the clergy, regulations of parishes and monastic institutions, philanthropic and cultural initiatives, educational institutions, etc; these are the substance of the work of canonical normalcy and regularization.

6. We all know of the problem of overlapping jurisdictionalism, but allow me, before closing, to raise other issues of canonical normalcy and regularization that also need to be addressed:

(1)  Some jurisdictions receive persons from roman Catholic and certain Protestant bodies into Holy Orthodoxy by baptism and chrismation, some by chrismation alone, and some merely by confession of faith.

(2) Some jurisdictions receive Roman Catholic clergy converting to Holy Orthodoxy merely by vesting, while others ordain.

(3) Some jurisdictions recognize all marriages performed outside Holy Orthodoxy as being real marriages (though certainly not sacramental) whether performed for an Orthodox or non-Orthodox, while others recognize no marriages performed outside Holy Orthodoxy whether performed for an Orthodox or a non-Orthodox.

(4) Some Orthodox jurisdictions bury suicides under certain circumstances, while others forbid the burial of suicides under all circumstances.

(5) Some jurisdictions bury a person who was cremated with all funeral rites in the church temple, others permit only Trisagion Prayers of Mercy in the funeral home, and some forbid any prayers anywhere for a person who was cremated.

(6) Some jurisdictions recognize civil divorce as complete and sufficient for ecclesiastical purposes, while others do not recognize civil divorce at all and insist on Ecclesiastical Courts.

(7) Some jurisdictions have in the past accepted clergy suspended or even deposed by other jurisdictions.

And this list is by no means exhaustive. This means there is serious work ahead, and this may not sound very appealing. Some of us may wish to avoid this difficult work and settle for easy pronouncements about unity, but the Gospel compels us otherwise.

 

7. Beloved brothers in the Lord, even as we gather together in the wake of the Feast of Pentecost, we humbly recognize our calling, in our unworthiness, to serve as instruments and disciples of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. We offer thanks and glory to the God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for rendering us worthy to gather together in prayer and deliberation as Hierarchs and Members of the historic first Episcopal Assembly of North and Central America in response to the decisions of the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference held in Chambésy from June 8th to 12th,  2009, and in preparation for the Holy and Great Council.

We express gratitude to the Primates and Representatives of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches, who assembled at the Ecumenical Patriarchate from October 10-12, 2008, affirming their “unswerving position and obligation to safeguard the unity of the Orthodox Church” and emphasizing their will and “desire for the swift healing of every canonical anomaly that has arisen from historical circumstances and pastoral requirements.”

And now we proceed with our specific tasks in our Assembly today and tomorrow. Our tasks include: work for the promotion by our Church here in America of the genuine, total and life-giving message of the Gospel; work for coordinating and enhancing our pastoral, liturgical, educational, cultural, philanthropic and missionary activities; and work for contributing to the preparation for the Pan-Orthodox Synod to be convened when God gives His blessing, with a plan for establishing a full canonical order where such order is needed.

There is no limit to our noble activities, there is no limit to our promising faith perspectives. Our Lord said: All things are possible to the one who believes (Mark 9:24). He also said something even more astonishing to His apostles, Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in Me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do (John 14:12). We are united to the apostolic task in which—unbelievable as it sounds—we are called to produce works greater than those produced by Christ!

This is our true challenge. This is our ultimate mission. The fields are ready and waiting for sowing and harvesting. With the help of God, our Great God, let us face the challenge. God has opened to us a door and no one can shut it (Rev. 3:8 ). Let us go out to the fields. This is God’s time. This is our time.

###
« Last Edit: May 26, 2010, 03:59:46 PM by Fr. George »
I don't typically presume to speak for Mor
You can presume to speak for Mor.  

How in Mor's good name
one hundred fifty four posts
No Rachel Weisz pic

Selam

Offline pensateomnia

  • Bibliophylax
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,360
  • metron ariston
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2010, 04:56:25 PM »
Archbishop Demetrios convenes first Episcopal Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs in North and Central America

May 26, 2010



NEW YORK – The first Episcopal Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs in North and Central America was convened today by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America at the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel in New York City.

This Assembly is the result of the decision of the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference, which met in Chambésy Switzerland in June of 2009, after the extraordinary Synaxis of all the Heads of the Autocephalous Churches convened by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. This Assembly, one of twelve that will be convened around the world in regions where there is no single Orthodox presence, will consist of the active canonical bishops who reside in the region designated as North and Central America. In every Assembly, the chairman will be the senior bishop of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Following a short prayer service, Archbishop Demetrios delivered his Keynote Address to the Assembly, the text of which can be found in its entirety here: http://www.goarch.org/news/addressassembly

Photos are available at: http://photos.goarch.org/main.php?g2_itemId=3009
But for I am a man not textueel I wol noght telle of textes neuer a deel. (Chaucer, The Manciple's Tale, 1.131)

Offline Father H

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,680
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Nea Roma
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2010, 06:14:32 PM »
From OCA.org

Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs in North and Central America opens
Posted 05/26

NEW YORK, NY [OCA] -- His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, and the hierarchs of the Orthodox Church in America are among over 50 hierarchs participating in the Episcopal Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs of North America that opened at the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel here on Wednesday, May 26, 2010.

The convener of the Assembly is His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, acting as Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch.

The Assembly is the result of the decision of the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference, which met in Chambésy Switzerland in June 2009 after the extraordinary Synaxis of all the Heads of the Autocephalous Churches convened by His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. The gathering is one of twelve Episcopal Assemblies that will be convened around the world in regions where there is no single Orthodox presence.

In a recent press release issued by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Archbishop Demetrios explained that the nature of the assembly is as "a temporary, not a permanent institution. It is simply preparatory to facilitate the process of an ecumenical council (in the future) that will decide the final form of the existence of the Church in a particular country." He further explained that the assembly will meet annually and is not a continuation of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas [SCOBA]. Rather, it works to "prepare a plan for dealing with anomalies, such as more than one bishop in a given locale and other things that interfere with the life of the Church." It is also designed "to project a unified witness of the faith."

Sessions will continue through Thursday, May 27. The Assembly will conclude on Friday, May 28, on which the Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Cathedral.

Offline arimethea

  • Getting too old for this
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,966
  • Does anyone really care what you think?
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2010, 10:35:46 PM »
http://www.antiochian.org/node/23042

Metropolitan PHILIP Addresses Historic Episcopal Assembly on First Day

EPISCOPAL ASSEMBLY - MAY 26, 2010

"Your Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and Brother Bishops:

My opening remarks this morning are taken from the Vespers of Palm Sunday, “Today the Grace of the Holy Spirit has gathered us together.” How wonderful and pleasing to God for all of us to meet and discuss matters related to the life of our Church on this particular continent. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chairman of SCOBA for his hard work to make this gathering possible.

The literature which we received from Chambesy via the Greek Archdiocese of America, raises some important questions.

ONE, Despite the vitality and the dynamic nature of Orthodoxy in North America, no member of SCOBA, not even the chairman of SCOBA, was consulted about what was discussed in Geneva. We received rules from our brothers in Switzerland which we have nothing to do with. We have been on this continent for more than two hundred (200) years. We are no longer little children to have rules imposed on us from 5,000 miles away. Orthodoxy in America has its own ethos. We have our own theological institutions, and we have our own theologians, authors, publications and magazines. We do not intend to be disobedient to the Mother Churches; we just want to dialogue with them and give them the opportunity to know us and understand us. We have been here for a long, long time and we are very grateful to the Almighty God that in our theology and worship, we do express the fullness of the Holy Orthodox faith.

Fifty years ago our hierarchs, may their souls rest in peace, founded SCOBA which has done a splendid job despite our external limitations. We have established the Orthodox Christian Education Commission which is chaired by a Greek Orthodox gentleman. We have established the International Orthodox Christian Charities which is directed by Constantine Triantafilou, a very good Greek Orthodox. We have established the Orthodox Christian Mission Center which is doing an excellent job and we have done many other things which time does not permit me to enumerate.

My dear brothers,

We are faced now with a very serious procedural nightmare. We are, supposedly, here to discuss a new organization to replace SCOBA. The question is: Was SCOBA dissolved and if so, by whom? And when?? SCOBA has a constitution which is fifty years old. If this constitution has to be amended, let us then amend it according to correct procedures. No one can dissolve SCOBA except SCOBA itself. SCOBA has organized Bishops’ Assemblies before Chambesy told us to do so. The first Assembly was held at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pennsylvania in 1994, under the chairmanship of our brother, Archbishop Iakovos, of blessed memory. The second Bishops’ Assembly was convened in Washington, D.C. and the third Bishops’ Assembly was convened in Chicago, Illinois, both under the auspices of SCOBA and the Chairmanship of His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios.

TWO - The second point which I would like to note is concerning the term “Diaspora” which was used several times in the literature which we received from Geneva. I remember, there are many of you who were at the Antiochian Village in 1994 and should remember that the term “Diaspora” was unanimously rejected by our assembly. We are not in Babylon; we are in North America, the new world. We are dealing here with second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth generations of American Orthodox and they refuse to be called “Diaspora.”

I believe that some of our churches in the Old World are in “Diaspora.” In Jerusalem, for example, we have 2,000 Orthodox Christians left. In Constantinople, the glorious capital of the Byzantine Empire, I was told that there are only 2,000 Greek Orthodox left. And the Turkish Government, until now, refuses to let us open that famous Theological School of Khalki, despite the intervention of the presidents of the United States. In Iraq, hundreds of Christians were slaughtered and thousands had to flee Iraq to the Syrian Arab Republic. We are free here in North America -- free to teach, free to preach, free to worship, free to write books and sometimes criticize even the presidents of the United States. We have the full freedom of expression in accordance with the United States Constitution. It is important to note here that the Holy Synod of Antioch, to my knowledge, never discussed the Chambesy decision and the rules of operation in order to formally bless this effort.

THREE - Some of the communiqués which were issued by the fathers in Geneva were good. I don’t understand, however, why Central America was joined to North America. The Antiochian Metropolitan of Mexico and Central America informed me that he wanted to be with the Orthodox Bishops of South America. The reason is: he has nothing in common with North America because he represents a different culture all together. As a matter of fact, he traveled to Brazil to attend the Bishops’ Assembly which met at the Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Sao Paulo.

I hope that, in the future, this matter could possibly be addressed. In the communiqué which was issued from Geneva dated June 6-12, 2009, I read something very interesting and very hopeful. It says and I quote: “The conference expresses the common desires of all Orthodox Churches for a solution to the problem of the canonical organization of the Orthodox “Diaspora,” in accordance with the ecclesiological and canonical tradition and practice of the Orthodox Church.” The same communiqué includes these bright words: “The mission of the Bishops’ Assemblies is the proclamation and promotion of the unity of the Orthodox Church, the common pastoral ministry of the Orthodox faithful in the region, as well as the common witness to the world.” Here we see a clear emphasis on the unity of the Orthodox Church. What is needed is the translation of these inspiring words into concrete action.

Other pleasing words appeared in Article III of the rules which state: “The Episcopal Assembly will have an executive committee composed of the Primatial Bishops of each of the canonical churches in the region.” From this text, I understand that no canonical bishop should be excluded from the assembly. If we share the same Eucharistic table which is the highest expression of Orthodox unity, can’t we work together on the Executive Committee?

Article XII of the rules is very promising. It states, “The Episcopal Assembly may establish its own internal regulations in order to supplement and adjust the above provisions, in accordance with the needs of the region and in respect to the Canon Law of the Orthodox Church.”

My dear brothers,

You can see that Article XII of the rules is very flexible and it gives us the freedom to “establish our own internal regulations.” Thus, no Primate of any jurisdiction should be excluded from the Executive Committee. Furthermore, the Executive Committee should be strong enough to prepare an adequate agenda for these Episcopal Assemblies. The Mother Churches must realize that Orthodoxy in America is the best gift to the world. And instead of being crushed by the burdens of the past, let us formulate a clear vision for the future. Thomas Jefferson, one of the fathers of our American revolution, once said: “I love the visions of the future rather than the dreams of the past.”

If I have a vision for the future, it is this: Jerusalem has less than 2,000 Orthodox left. Istanbul has 2,000 Greek Orthodox left. The future of Orthodoxy in the Middle East is uncertain. Thus, for the sake of international Orthodox unity and Orthodox unity in North America, we should with one voice, beg His Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch to leave Istanbul and move to Washington, D.C. or New York City and head a united Orthodox Church in this hemisphere. All of us, I am sure, will be blessed to be under his omophorion and Orthodox unity in North America will cease to be a dream, but a reality.

My dear brothers,

If we do not bury the burdens of the past between certain autocephalous churches, such burdens will bury us, and Orthodoxy in this country and throughout the world will become an insignificant dot on the margin of history."
« Last Edit: May 26, 2010, 10:36:36 PM by arimethea »
Joseph

Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,017
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Diocese of the South (OCA)
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2010, 11:27:49 PM »
Vow! This is open rebellion, a declaration of independence. I have no idea what kind of impact it will have but I have to think that, if push comes to shove, I see the Antiochians and the OCA joining forces. In the meantime, the remarks of the Moscow Exarch were also pointed. I just cannot reconcile, however, Moscow's support of the autocephaly of the OCA on one hand, and, on the other hand, her renewed interest in her Exarchate and her continued patience with ROCOR.

Do you have a link to his comments or could you summarize them for us?

As far as the Patriarchal parishes and ROCOR are concerned I think the MP is just being extra cautious in tending to her sheep. The case of ROCOR is especially tenuous and any move to force them to unite with the OCA or other jurisdictions would at this point almost certainly end in schism. After so many years of separation no one wants to see that happen.

Here is the text as found at http://www.eadiocese.org/News/2010/05/abpjustaddress.en.htm

May 26, 2010
New York, NY: Address of Archbishop Justinian at the Episcopal Assembly of North and Central America

Your Eminences, Graces, dear co-brothers!

I sincerely greet all of you as the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church, and would like to convey to you the warmest of well-wishes from His Holiness Kyrill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

The opening of the Episcopal Assembly of North and Central America coincided with the beginning of my service as Administrator of the Patriarchal parishes in the United States of America. I am glad that, not long after my arrival in this country, I am bearing witness to this inspirational moment of Pan-Orthodox unity and mutual understanding. I hope that our current gathering will lay the foundation for further development of efforts to consolidate Orthodoxy on the American continent.

From what I can tell, the Orthodox in America have reasons for similar hope, considering that in our times Orthodoxy is one of the most dynamically developing Christian confessions on the continent. An increasing number of our faithful belong to the Orthodox Church not as the result of their ethnic background, but of a conscious choice in favor of Orthodoxy’s truth.

This hopeful tendency certainly does not absolve us of our responsibility to bear true witness to the Orthodox faith to the world around us. Each of the Local Orthodox Churches represented here possesses Her own unique experience of missionary, theological, educational, and many other aspects of Church activity on the American continent.

I think that we are all ready to freely share our experiences with our Orthodox brethren. The Russian Orthodox Church, which, as we know from history, played a fundamental role in the expansion of Orthodoxy in America, is ready for this as well. The names of such devoted missionaries as St. Herman of Alaska, St. Innocent of Moscow, and Patriarch Tikhon, are enormously significant to the faithful of every American jurisdiction. It bears mentioning as well, that before the 1920’s, there was only one jurisdiction in North America – that of the Russian Orthodox Church, which, as we know, was open to representatives of the widest variety of ethnic communities.

Much has changed since that time. The tumultuous events of the 20th Century forced many citizens of traditionally Orthodox countries to leave their native homes and seek refuge in other countries, which led to the rise of large ethnic Orthodox communities beyond the boundaries of corresponding Local Churches. Being that America became a welcoming home for a huge number of Orthodox immigrants, She is a shining example of the coexistence of various Church jurisdictions in a single area.

The painstaking discussion of this given aspect of inter-Orthodox relations at the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference in Chambésy, Switzerland, in June 2009 speaks to its importance. The result of its work is our current Assembly, which confirms the rightness and viability of the decisions jointly adopted in Chambésy.

It is no secret that the issue discussed in Chambésy invites a great deal of attention, due to the numerous problems and frictions, which, unfortunately, darken the coexistence of Church structures of varying jurisdictions in a single area. We hear of similar complications in the widest variety of other countries and regions. That said, we can take some satisfaction in the fact that the situation in America is not nearly so complex as it is elsewhere. I maintain that this is the case due in no small part to the efforts of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), which in its time was formed with the active participation of the Russian Orthodox Church. Over the course of its existence since the 1960’s, SCOBA has stepped forward as a fairly effective tool for inter-Orthodox cooperation.

I hope that the positive experience and practical knowledge possessed by the Orthodox bishops of this region will be effectively developed in the future work of the Episcopal Assembly of North and Central America, which will allow us to achieve a new level of coordination of our efforts to unite in our bearing witness to the truth of Orthodoxy.

Offline LizaSymonenko

  • Слава Ісусу Христу!!! Glory to Jesus Christ!!!
  • Global Moderator
  • Hoplitarches
  • ******
  • Posts: 15,542
    • St.Mary the Protectress Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A.
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2010, 08:13:54 AM »


http://www.uocofusa.org/news_100526_1.html


UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
PRESS RELEASE

First Episcopal Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs in North and Central America!

The first Episcopal Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs in North and Central America was convened on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel in New York City.
      
This Assembly is the result of the decision of the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference, which met in Chambésy Switzerland in June of 2009, after the extraordinary Synaxis of all the Heads of the Autocephalous Churches convened by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. This Assembly, one of twelve that will be convened around the world in regions where there is no single Orthodox presence, will consist of the active canonical bishops who reside in the region designated as North and Central America. In every Assembly, the chairman will be the senior bishop of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Photos are available at: http://photos.goarch.org/main.php?g2_itemId=3009



Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
—St. Isaac of Syria

Offline Irish Hermit

  • Kibernetski Kaludjer
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 10,980
  • Holy Father Patrick, pray for us
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2010, 08:46:52 AM »

Metropolitan PHILIP Addresses Historic Episcopal Assembly on First Day
EPISCOPAL ASSEMBLY - MAY 26, 2010

http://www.antiochian.org/node/23042

"Your Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and Brother Bishops:

My opening remarks this morning are taken from the Vespers of Palm Sunday, “Today the Grace of the Holy Spirit has gathered us together.” How wonderful and pleasing to God for all of us to meet and discuss matters related to the life of our Church on this particular continent. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chairman of SCOBA for his hard work to make this gathering possible.

The literature which we received from Chambesy via the Greek Archdiocese of America, raises some important questions.

ONE, Despite the vitality and the dynamic nature of Orthodoxy in North America, no member of SCOBA, not even the chairman of SCOBA, was consulted about what was discussed in Geneva. We received rules from our brothers in Switzerland which we have nothing to do with. We have been on this continent for more than two hundred (200) years. We are no longer little children to have rules imposed on us from 5,000 miles away. Orthodoxy in America has its own ethos. We have our own theological institutions, and we have our own theologians, authors, publications and magazines. We do not intend to be disobedient to the Mother Churches; we just want to dialogue with them and give them the opportunity to know us and understand us. We have been here for a long, long time and we are very grateful to the Almighty God that in our theology and worship, we do express the fullness of the Holy Orthodox faith.

Fifty years ago our hierarchs, may their souls rest in peace, founded SCOBA which has done a splendid job despite our external limitations. We have established the Orthodox Christian Education Commission which is chaired by a Greek Orthodox gentleman. We have established the International Orthodox Christian Charities which is directed by Constantine Triantafilou, a very good Greek Orthodox. We have established the Orthodox Christian Mission Center which is doing an excellent job and we have done many other things which time does not permit me to enumerate.

My dear brothers,

We are faced now with a very serious procedural nightmare. We are, supposedly, here to discuss a new organization to replace SCOBA. The question is: Was SCOBA dissolved and if so, by whom? And when?? SCOBA has a constitution which is fifty years old. If this constitution has to be amended, let us then amend it according to correct procedures. No one can dissolve SCOBA except SCOBA itself. SCOBA has organized Bishops’ Assemblies before Chambesy told us to do so. The first Assembly was held at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pennsylvania in 1994, under the chairmanship of our brother, Archbishop Iakovos, of blessed memory. The second Bishops’ Assembly was convened in Washington, D.C. and the third Bishops’ Assembly was convened in Chicago, Illinois, both under the auspices of SCOBA and the Chairmanship of His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios.

TWO - The second point which I would like to note is concerning the term “Diaspora” which was used several times in the literature which we received from Geneva. I remember, there are many of you who were at the Antiochian Village in 1994 and should remember that the term “Diaspora” was unanimously rejected by our assembly. We are not in Babylon; we are in North America, the new world. We are dealing here with second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth generations of American Orthodox and they refuse to be called “Diaspora.”

I believe that some of our churches in the Old World are in “Diaspora.” In Jerusalem, for example, we have 2,000 Orthodox Christians left. In Constantinople, the glorious capital of the Byzantine Empire, I was told that there are only 2,000 Greek Orthodox left. And the Turkish Government, until now, refuses to let us open that famous Theological School of Khalki, despite the intervention of the presidents of the United States. In Iraq, hundreds of Christians were slaughtered and thousands had to flee Iraq to the Syrian Arab Republic. We are free here in North America -- free to teach, free to preach, free to worship, free to write books and sometimes criticize even the presidents of the United States. We have the full freedom of expression in accordance with the United States Constitution. It is important to note here that the Holy Synod of Antioch, to my knowledge, never discussed the Chambesy decision and the rules of operation in order to formally bless this effort.

THREE - Some of the communiqués which were issued by the fathers in Geneva were good. I don’t understand, however, why Central America was joined to North America. The Antiochian Metropolitan of Mexico and Central America informed me that he wanted to be with the Orthodox Bishops of South America. The reason is: he has nothing in common with North America because he represents a different culture all together. As a matter of fact, he traveled to Brazil to attend the Bishops’ Assembly which met at the Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Sao Paulo.

I hope that, in the future, this matter could possibly be addressed. In the communiqué which was issued from Geneva dated June 6-12, 2009, I read something very interesting and very hopeful. It says and I quote: “The conference expresses the common desires of all Orthodox Churches for a solution to the problem of the canonical organization of the Orthodox “Diaspora,” in accordance with the ecclesiological and canonical tradition and practice of the Orthodox Church.” The same communiqué includes these bright words: “The mission of the Bishops’ Assemblies is the proclamation and promotion of the unity of the Orthodox Church, the common pastoral ministry of the Orthodox faithful in the region, as well as the common witness to the world.” Here we see a clear emphasis on the unity of the Orthodox Church. What is needed is the translation of these inspiring words into concrete action.

Other pleasing words appeared in Article III of the rules which state: “The Episcopal Assembly will have an executive committee composed of the Primatial Bishops of each of the canonical churches in the region.” From this text, I understand that no canonical bishop should be excluded from the assembly. If we share the same Eucharistic table which is the highest expression of Orthodox unity, can’t we work together on the Executive Committee?

Article XII of the rules is very promising. It states, “The Episcopal Assembly may establish its own internal regulations in order to supplement and adjust the above provisions, in accordance with the needs of the region and in respect to the Canon Law of the Orthodox Church.”

My dear brothers,

You can see that Article XII of the rules is very flexible and it gives us the freedom to “establish our own internal regulations.” Thus, no Primate of any jurisdiction should be excluded from the Executive Committee. Furthermore, the Executive Committee should be strong enough to prepare an adequate agenda for these Episcopal Assemblies. The Mother Churches must realize that Orthodoxy in America is the best gift to the world. And instead of being crushed by the burdens of the past, let us formulate a clear vision for the future. Thomas Jefferson, one of the fathers of our American revolution, once said: “I love the visions of the future rather than the dreams of the past.”

If I have a vision for the future, it is this: Jerusalem has less than 2,000 Orthodox left. Istanbul has 2,000 Greek Orthodox left. The future of Orthodoxy in the Middle East is uncertain. Thus, for the sake of international Orthodox unity and Orthodox unity in North America, we should with one voice, beg His Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch to leave Istanbul and move to Washington, D.C. or New York City and head a united Orthodox Church in this hemisphere. All of us, I am sure, will be blessed to be under his omophorion and Orthodox unity in North America will cease to be a dream, but a reality.

My dear brothers,

If we do not bury the burdens of the past between certain autocephalous churches, such burdens will bury us, and Orthodoxy in this country and throughout the world will become an insignificant dot on the margin of history."


« Last Edit: May 27, 2010, 08:53:54 AM by Irish Hermit »

Offline pensateomnia

  • Bibliophylax
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,360
  • metron ariston
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2010, 11:45:49 AM »
Fr. Andrew Damick is at the Assembly in an auxiliary role and posted his impressions, limited though they be by virtue of being only auxilliary, on OrthodoxHistory.org.

Actual piece of news: Bishop Basil of Wichita has been elected the secretary of the Assembly.

Impressions from the Episcopal Assembly

It was a pretty hot day in Manhattan yesterday. Despite the discomfort, though, the Orthodox Christian hierarchy of North America seemed to be in pretty decent spirits.

I’m here in Manhattan at the 2010 Orthodox Episcopal Assembly of North America in an auxiliary role. I don’t get to attend the actual meetings, though I’ve been at some of the meals and have spent time with the hierarchs and others present in the halls of the hotel. Since this is such a genuinely historic occasion, we thought it might be of interest to readers to provide an informal witness to how things have been proceeding, to what it’s like to be here. (You may also be interested to read the officially published opening addresses of Abp. Demetrios (Constantinople), Metr. Philip (Antioch), and Abp. Justinian (Moscow).)

First, although things are happening in an expensive hotel right on Central Park in Manhattan, it’s not a particularly posh or opulent place. The building consists mostly of hotel rooms, most of which (including those being stayed in by the bishops) are not really of higher level than your average Holiday Inn. To be honest, most Holiday Inns I’ve ever been to have far vaster facilities than the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel, which doesn’t boast numerous parlors and meeting rooms. There’s essentially one large meeting room where the Assembly is taking place, as well as an adjacent dining area where the bishops are eating. (The dining room was small enough that people like me had to eat our meals out on the roof in the sun!) My guess is that the facility was either donated or a good deal was gotten, since the gentleman in charge of the hotel has a rather Greek name. The food is decent, though not extravagant.

Milling about among the hierarchy—more than 50 in all—I am of course struck by the several languages one can hear. I’ve heard at least English, Ukrainian, Russian, Arabic and Greek. But it’s mostly all English, which is not surprising, since there is very little in the way of the bishops sticking to their “own” jurisdictional groups. That is, from what I can see, they’re not being cliquish. They are actually circulating quite a lot among each other. Speaking of languages, though, it was enjoyable last night at dinner at a nearby restaurant when the prayer before the meal including chanting in Arabic, Slavonic and Greek, along with some spoken parts in English. I was fascinated at how many of the assembled hierarchs could sing the Pentecost troparion together in Greek. (Your humble servant remembered only maybe 50%.)

The mood among the bishops seems mostly good-natured and perhaps just a little bored. I’ve been told that most of what was done yesterday was procedural. There are a decent number of smiles among the hierarchy, though there does not seem to be either an ecstatic mood nor a sullen one. I’ve not heard any “exercised” conversations, though I have heard plenty of laughter as the bishops sit at table. One of the highlights of yesterday’s proceedings was the election of His Grace, Bishop Basil of Wichita, as the Secretary of the Assembly. My speculation is that that means he’ll be doing a lot of the day-to-day management of the ongoing work of the Assembly.

All in all, it’s good to be here, and my impression is that, even if not quite yet the case, we are witnessing the beginnings of brothers dwelling together in unity. No doubt this will be a long, bumpy road, and there will be much to do, with lots of boring, detailed work along the way. But as one who is hopeful for our coming together in a single Orthodox Church for America, it appears to me that there is a good beginning here in Manhattan. No doubt the prayers of the faithful that are blanketing this modern-day New Rome are having a good effect.

source
But for I am a man not textueel I wol noght telle of textes neuer a deel. (Chaucer, The Manciple's Tale, 1.131)

Offline pensateomnia

  • Bibliophylax
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,360
  • metron ariston
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2010, 02:11:09 PM »
http://www.romarch.org/news.php?id=2253

ADDRESS OF HIS EMINENCE
ARCHBISHOP NICOLAE OF THE ROMANIAN ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE
At the Episcopal Assembly of North and Central America

New York, New York
May 27, 2010

Your Eminence Archbishop Demetrios,
Your Eminences and Your Graces,
Dear Brothers and con-celebrants in the Lord,

We have gathered here these days bathed in the Light and Grace of the All-Holy Spirit to discuss the future of our Holy Orthodox Church in North America. Whether this comes to be seen as an historic meeting will depend on us, and what we decide. And while we may have been convened in a new way, that fact is that the project of organizing the Church on this continent is not new. As we continue our deliberations it would be helpful to pause and reflect on all of the efforts over the last century that have enabled us to come to this moment. We stand in a line of very eminent and holy people who grappled with the very same issues we will attempt, over the course of days and years, to reconcile and resolve. If we are able to discuss these issues in ways that have eluded others in the past, it will be in no small measure due to the real vision and sacrifice of all of those men and women who planted Christ’s Church here; who watered and nurtured Her; who ensured that She would take root and grow.

It is customary when we speak of the history of our presence in North America to mention the towering figures of St. Tikhon, Patriarch Athenagoras, Metropolitan Antony Bashir, and Archbishop Iakovos, and it is right to do so. Yet, it is always a perilous business when recounting names. There are so many people to whom this moment belongs. I think of my own predecessor, Archbishop Victorin. He served the Church here for over fifty years, as a professor at St. Tikhon’s, as a parish priest, and finally as Archbishop. He was a faithful witness to Christ’s Church, here. He was devoted to the cause of Orthodox unity, here. He would never be absent from meetings of the Standing Conference or other occasions of pan-Orthodox witness. There are many in this room who, like he, labored for this moment. There are many, clergy and lay people, who have struggled and continue to struggle to ensure the witness of our Church on this continent. It is fitting that we take a moment and give thanks to our Compassionate God for them.

What we are asked to do during these days is not very glamorous. Most of it is administrative. We will hear reports, be asked to establish committees and commissions, discuss and recommend the boundaries of one or more Episcopal Assemblies on our continent, and many other seemingly unimportant matters. But we would be mistaken if we think our work is not absolutely critical to the future of our Church. We are laying a foundation. When people marvel at a magnificent structure very few, if any, venture down to the cellar to examine what stones were laid to support the whole building. My beloved brothers, we are being asked to take the building blocks already prepared for us, and with these and others build the supporting structure for the future.

Let us examine the building materials we have been given. I mentioned St. Tikhon. Already in the early part of the last century he and others identified what would be the challenges of our mission here. As early as 1937 Archbishop Athenagoras and Metropolitan Antony proposed a Conference of Orthodox Bishops. In 1943 these same hierarchs joined with hierarchs of the Patriarchal Russian and Serbian jurisdictions to create the Federation. And finally, in 1960, at the invitation of Archbishop Iakovos, eleven presiding hierarchs of the Church here met and decided to create the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas — SCOBA. Over the course of the first half of the twentieth century there were many other meetings, events, failed starts and anemic successes. The political situation in Europe following the Second World War complicated matters immeasurably. Yet these early efforts gave voice to the emerging reality of an indigenous Orthodox Church in what some call the “diaspora.”

The establishment of SCOBA coincided with and benefited from the convening of the Pan-Orthodox conferences held between 1961 and 1968. There is a direct line between those early conferences and the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference held last year in Chambésy, that established the principles for our present gathering. There is a direct line between the efforts in the last century to give a common structure to our Orthodox witness in North America and our current Episcopal Assembly. The Bishops Conferences held in Ligonier in 1994, Washington in 2001 and Chicago in 2006 have already given us, all of the hierarchs here, the experience of coming together to discuss issues of common concern and ways in which to work together.

It is important to keep in mind that SCOBA was never intended to be a permanent institution; it was by its nature a transitional body constrained by circumstances. Yet, despite these constraints, it played a gradually expanding role in organizing Church life here by widening the circle of participation and decision-making. In 1960 there were eleven primatial hierarchs who gathered. Since 1994 three Bishops Conferences have been held. Today we gather as an Episcopal Assembly numbering over fifty. The same can be seen in the changing scope of SCOBA commissions. The commissions of 1960 are not the same as the array of agencies, commissions, committees, and organizations presented to the hierarchs in Chicago in 2006.

Yet, it is in the system of commissions, committees, agencies, and, most recently, endorsed organizations, which we inherit from SCOBA, that we find its most visionary and enduring legacy. The SCOBA Constitution provided that “the continuing work of the Conference shall be assigned to Commissions and Committees of experts who shall work as directed by the Conference.” One is impressed at how farsighted the hierarchs were in 1960 when identifying the work needed to be done in common. Most of those areas identified in 1960 are still being addressed today by commissions and committees established then, even while others have been added over time. We all know that the progress and successes of the commissions and committees have been mixed. Over the years individual commissions have waxed and waned. Yet, taken as a whole, these agencies, commissions, committees, and organizations form solid building blocks with which to lay a foundation.

Those who were present at the 2006 Bishops Conference held in Chicago will recall the reports presented by these SCOBA bodies. I believe it would be useful for us today to refresh our memories on the scope of these organizations.

Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting (EOCS) was established in 1960 as the first SCOBA Commission. Through the years this commission has offered Scouting awards and scholarship in the name of the Church.

Orthodox Christian Education Commission (OCEC) was also established in 1960. From a limited library of religious education materials available in English in the 1940s and 1950s, the Orthodox Church has developed a rich religious education curriculum second to none.

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), established originally in 1965 as the Campus Commission, impacted the lives of countless college students in the 1960s and early 1970s. After a dormant period and at the request of the youth directors in our jurisdictions the hierarchs of SCOBA created in 2001 the reborn OCF, with a staff organizing OCF chapters on college campuses.

International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) represents the new generation of SCOBA agencies. Established in 1991, IOCC became a vehicle for our Church to offer assistance and help to those in need throughout the world. One could see this as a uniquely North American contribution to world Orthodoxy. Through IOCC our Orthodox Church has also joined the broader network of religious humanitarian organizations. It has given our Church a presence on the world stage.

The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) represents another way in which SCOBA agencies were created. OCMC has its roots in the early 1960s missionary efforts within the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. In 1966 the GOA Clergy-Laity Congress created a Missions Committee that continued to grow and support missions all over the world. In 1994 the GOA Mission Center was transformed into a SCOBA program with a new name: the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC). Today, the OCMC has reached out to over 31 countries worldwide with mission programs.

The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) was received by SCOBA in 2003 having been started by a local priest of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese as a radio ministry. Today OCN is a national and effective media witness for the Orthodox Christian Church in North America. It produces high-quality programs and media tools for local parishes using the media of radio, the Internet, podcasts, DVDs, television and more.

The Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM) began as a ministry within the Antiochian Archdiocese in 1991. In 2005 through a national gathering of prison ministers organized by this Antiochian effort, it was transformed into a SCOBA agency. Through 2009, Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM) has ministered to more than 700 prisoners and former prisoners and is currently ministering to more than 250 Orthodox catechumens in prisons across America.

Distinct from the Agencies, the SCOBA Commissions assisted the hierarchs directly. These are:

The Ecumenical Commission established in 1960 oversees the local North American ecumenical dialogues authorized by the hierarchs. Today these are primarily with the Roman Catholic and Lutheran Churches. Here we should also mention the relationship we have with the Oriental Orthodox through the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches in America (SCOOCH).

The Social & Moral Issues Commission established in 1998 and reconstituted in 2002 drafts statements on important societal issues at the direction of the hierarchs.

The Orthodox Research Commission (ORC) established in 2005 conducts on-going social-scientific statistical analysis of our Church, jurisdictions and parishes.

The Orthodox Information Technologies Commission (OITC) established in 2005 coordinates the information technology department efforts of our jurisdictions.

The Endorsed Organizations are Pan-Orthodox efforts that have sought out and met the criteria established by the SCOBA hierarchs for Endorsed Organizations. These currently are:

    * The Orthodox Theological Society in America (OTSA) established in 1966.
    * Project Mexico established in 1987.
    * The Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology and Religion (OCAMPR) established in 1988.
    * ZOE for Life established in 2002.
    * The Orthodox Peace Fellowship (North America) established in 2003.
    * St. Catherine's Vision established in 2007.
    * Ancient Faith Radio established in 2007.

There are other pan-Orthodox efforts, such as FOCUS North America, that have received warm encouragement from SCOBA, as they await final endorsement.

Finally there is the Study & Planning Commission. It is unique among the commissions and committees establish in that it is designed to be the supervisory arm of the hierarchs themselves. The responsibility of this Commission was to oversee all of the work of the various commissions and committees establish and authorized by SCOBA. The members, appointed as the direct representatives of the hierarchs, assisted the General Secretary in coordinating and prioritizing issues for the hierarchs’ consideration. It is my opinion that as we think about the future structure for the Episcopal Assembly, we will need a way in which all of the voices of our jurisdictions can be present in the work of the Secretariat.

Beloved Brothers,

Beloved Brothers,

When I was called to serve as Archbishop for our Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese, I had little experience of life in North America. I was raised and educated in Romania. I did graduate studies in Western Europe. While deeply grounded in our Orthodox faith in my Mother land, my experience of our Church outside of Romania was largely in France and Germany. As I assumed my duties here, I began to experience the richness and diversity of Church life in North America. To be sure, it is not the same as in a traditionally Orthodox setting, but it is genuine, alive, and full of the Holy Spirit. Many of you have either been raised or spent many years here. I have a different perspective coming here as I did. I was and am amazed by the depth of what I have found. There are difficulties – no one can deny this. Yet, there is also an energy and vitality to our North American Orthodox Christian experience that is to be treasured. As just one example, look at the way in which faithful lay persons have taken up Christ’s work here. The faithful of our parishes and dioceses have embraced the spirit of volunteerism that is the hallmark of our Canadian and American nations. Many of the Agencies and Organizations cited above are staffed primarily by volunteers. This gift of faith in action is something we can offer to world Orthodoxy.

We can never forget that the unity of the Church is not an option. We are united in faith expressed in worship, but we are also united in faith expressed by action. The unity we find when celebrating the Liturgy together must also be expressed in the way we organize ourselves internally and in our outreach to the world. Sometimes, we might be tempted to withdraw into ourselves because of the frustrations we feel with the dissentions in our parishes and the squabbling in our dioceses. However, we can never allow ourselves to accept factions and divisions within the Church as a permanent reality. It makes a lie of what we say we believe. This is true both in our search for a closer unity within the Orthodox Church especially here in North America, as well as in our search for unity with the other Christian Churches.

In saying this we always need to remember that unity is a gift from God. We may argue for the need for a more coherent ecclesiastical structure, but even when we have achieved success at creating a better organizational framework, we still experience this unity as a gift from God, not the result of our efforts. We know that any agreement or constitution is not worth the paper it is written on if the necessary good will and love are lacking. Only God can give us this.

We are called by some the “diaspora.” Others reject this designation. There is certainly a dynamic tension. Let me suggest that in the push and pull of what we were and what we are yet to become we find the “now and not yet” of the coming Kingdom. The development of our Orthodox Church in a pluralistic “new world” has forced all of Orthodoxy to grapple with the missionary imperative of the Gospel. Much of what we see in our SCOBA legacy is in some sense a response to the new setting in which Orthodoxy finds itself.

Among the most important issues we will need to decide in these days is how to absorb the great work of SCOBA. The many ministries of SCOBA over fifty years have truly been a blessing for the entire Church. These ministries have strengthened our unity in Christ Our Lord. The ministries of SCOBA have provided a fruitful witness for Orthodox Christianity throughout these lands. The ministries of SCOBA have contributed to advancement our Church throughout the world. This is truly a precious inheritance that provides us with a firm foundation for our future work. I urge us to not only endorse it, but to embrace what is being offered to us as precious inheritance. So many grace-filled people have labored for so many years to give us this gift offered us by God. For my part, I give thanks to Almighty God for these holy witnesses who have preceded us. In them God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is glorified, now and always.

Thank you,
† Archbishop NICOLAE
But for I am a man not textueel I wol noght telle of textes neuer a deel. (Chaucer, The Manciple's Tale, 1.131)

Offline Fr. Deacon Daniel

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 154
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2010, 06:43:25 PM »
I know this is not a document but some were asking for a picture where Met. Jonah was sitting.

www.oca.org

NEW YORK, NY [OCA] -- His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America opened the first day of the Episcopal Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs of North and Central America at the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel here on Wednesday morning, May 26, 2010.

Among the 60-some hierarchs present were His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, and ruling and auxiliary bishops of the Orthodox Church in America.

Following opening prayers invoking the Holy Spirit to guide the hierarchs in their deliberations, Archbishop Demetrios, who chairs the Assembly as Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch, addressed his brother hierarchs, outlining common concerns while reviewing the events that led to the historic gathering.

"We strive for unity because the Lord asked of us to be one, but diversity and differentiation are not to be feared," Archbishop Demetrios said. "They are gifts that are to be used for the glory of God. Our unity cannot exist to destroy such differentiation; rather, our unity is meant to flourish as a result of our natural diversity, be it linguistic, cultural or ethnic.

"Is this not exactly the condition of our universal Orthodoxy today?" he asked. "Of course, problems related to unity, or to differentiation, or to both, always existed in the Church, starting already in the time of the Apostles, as the Book of the Acts of the Apostles testifies. This is a valid observation for us today.

"We come together to face the problems that have arisen in our region, where the Orthodox Faith has flourished for generations," Archbishop Demetrios continued before reflecting on various issues facing Orthodox Christianity in North and Central America and elsewhere around the world. "As we have grown and established ourselves, situations have been created that need our attention and our wisdom."

Archbishop Demetrios went on to review the work of the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference held in Chambésy, Switzerland in June 2009 in response to the extraordinary Synaxis of the Heads of the Autocephalous Churches convened earlier by His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

[The complete text of Archbishop Demetrios’ address may be found on the web site of the Greek Archdiocese at http://www.goarch.org/news/addressassembly.]

Also addressing the Assembly was its first vice-chair, His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, and its second vice-chair, His Eminence, Archbishop Justinian of the Russian Orthodox Church, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the United States of America.

[The complete texts of their addresses may be found on the web site of the Antiochian Archdiocese at http://www.antiochian.org/node/23042 and the web site of the Eastern American and New York Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia at http://www.eadiocese.org/News/2010/05/abpjustaddress.en.htm respectively.]

Sessions will resume on Thursday morning, May 27.

The Assembly will conclude on Friday, May 28, on which the Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Cathedral.

« Last Edit: May 27, 2010, 06:43:56 PM by lavrishevo »
"Everybody wants to change the world, but nobody thinks about changing himself."

—Dostoevsky

Offline John of the North

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,535
  • Christ is Risen!
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2010, 07:43:14 PM »
http://www.romfea.gr/component/content/article/13/5042-%CE%9F-%CE%A4%CE%BF%CF%81%CF%8C%CE%BD%CF%84%CE%BF-%CE%A3%CF%89%CF%84%CE%AE%CF%81%CE%B9%CE%BF%CF%82-%CE%B3%CE%B9%CE%B1-%CF%84%CE%B7-%CE%A3%CF%85%CE%BD%CE%AD%CE%BB%CE%B5%CF%85%CF%83%CE%B7-%CF%84%CF%89%CE%BD-%CE%95%CF%80%CE%B9%CF%83%CE%BA%CF%8C%CF%80%CF%89%CE%BD-%CE%BA%CE%B1%CE%B9-%CF%84%CE%B7-%CE%94%CE%B9%CE%B1%CF%83%CF%80%CE%BF%CF%81%CE%AC

Metropolitan Sotirios of Canada will not participate in the Assembly of Bishops in New York for "reasons beyond his control," he said in an interview in the 'National Herald.'
..."We had the Annual Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of Canada on March 11, 2010 and all the bishops expressed surprise and unanimously decided to request the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew not abolish the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops in Canada," added the Archbishop Sotirios.
“Find the door of your heart, and you will discover it is the door to the kingdom of God.” - St. John Chrysostom

Offline Paisius

  • Ditry Pope-loving ecumenist
  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,341
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Depends on the mood
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2010, 11:13:37 PM »
Just in case anyone is interested, here is an article from OCAnews.org.


    

5.27.10


In Opening Remarks, Metropolitan Philip Challenges Episcopal Assembly

• Complains Americans not consulted in Chambesy

   Process

• Defends SCOBA

• Criticizes notion of "Diaspora"

• Asks why OCA not included in ExecutiveCommittee

• Calls on Ecumenical Patriarch to move to USA


In his opening remarks to the Assembly of the Orthodox Bishops yesterday, Metropolitan Philip challenged the summoning, organization, composition and purpose of the Assembly, before he concluded with warning. "My dear brothers,"  the head of the Antiochian Church in America warned,"if we do not bury the burdens of the past between certain autocephalous churches, such burdens will bury us, and Orthodoxy in this country and throughout the world will become an insignificant dot on the margin of history.”

The 79 year old hierarch's statement was not unexpected, given remarks he made in an interview with the National Herald newspaper on May 22nd. (Read those remarks here.)

His remarks did, however, contrast significantly with the stated position of the OCA in its press release concerning the Assembly published this week on www.OCA.org. The OCA took a much more irenic tone, noting that prayers for the Assembly were being said in all OCA parishes and that " The bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, led by their Primate, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, will participate in the Episcopal Assembly, with a deep desire to make a good contribution to the fruitfulness of the gathering."

Thus it was left to Metropolitan Philip to first speak of the 800 lb. gorilla in the room - the attempted marginalization of the OCA by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  At Archbishop Demetrios insistence the OCA bishops were included in the Assembly - for one could not expect to exclude the oldest Orthodox body in North America, with more than 600 parishes, 700 clergy, and 3 of the 4 accredited theological schools in the country, and be taken seriously as an attempt to forge Orthodox unity - no matter how one views the OCA's autocephaly. However, according to sources close to the process, the Archbishop was not able to secure Constantinople's agreement to have the Primate of the OCA join the other primates of the American jurisidictions in the Executive Committee. Thus the Assembly will vote through 8 church bodies, only 7 of which will be represented on the Executive. Hence +Philip's question: "If we share the same Eucharistic table which is the highest expression of Orthodox unity, can’t we work together on the Executive Committee?"

The Metropolitan also gave voice to a second structural question concerning the Assembly: exactly which regions should be present. Constantinople has decreed that North and Central America should be together: but as +Philip points out, the Central America bishops speak Spanish and share the same culture with the Latin America bishops that recently met in San Paulo, Brazil.  It makes far more sense for them to meet with Latin America than North America, according to +Philip.

Once again the Metropolitan was touching a raw diplomatic nerve: one of the major reasons a Central American region was not created was that the Greek Bishop in Mexico has publicly stated he will refuse to meet with the OCA Bishop of Mexico. The Ecumenical Patriarchate attempted to finesse the situation by moving both to New York, seemingly oblivious to the cultural and linguistic problems. (In other regional concerns, it has also been suggested that the Canadian Bishops may seek the blessing of the New York Assembly to create their own, independent Assembly, for Canada. The Chambesy process allows the local Assemblies to regulate their internal order, so the idea may bear fruit, if not now, then at a later meeting.)

The Episcopal Assembly closes on Friday, May 28th. If the Assembly can create a functioning Secretariate, (most likely led by a non-Greek bishop) able to secure private funding that is required to keep the process moving, the Assembly may have a future beyond this week's meeting. Failing that, it is most likely to join the long series of failed attempts at inter-Orthodox cooperation over the past 75 years.  (For a summary of those see Matthew Namee's article.)



Link

Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,017
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Diocese of the South (OCA)
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2010, 10:17:24 AM »
This is Bishop Mark's letter on the recently concluded EA.

http://members5.boardhost.com/STANDREWHOUSE/msg/1275050597.html

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
The Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest
+His Grace, Bishop Mark

Friday, May 28, 2010


Dear to God,

Christ is in our midst! By the grace of God we have completed our First Episcopal Assembly, chaired by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America and attended by 57 of the 65 Hierarchs of North and Central America. He is truly a gracious, loving and patient man and certainly a gift to our Church in North America. May God grant him good health and many years!

Recommendations were made to separate Mexico and Central America from our Episcopal Assembly as their needs linguistically and culturally are quite different. Hopefully, Mexico and Central America will be absorbed into the Episcopal Assembly of South America. Likewise the Bishops of Canada asked to form their own Episcopal Assembly and both requests will be forwarded to the Ecumenical Patriarch per the procedures outlined in the Chambésy Documents.

The agencies of SCOBA were received by the new assembly which considers itself the successor of SCOBA. Monthly updates to a data base will assist in identifying Canonical Bishops, Priests, Deacons and Parishes. Joint Committees have been identified to ad-dress the common needs of the Orthodox Church here in the United States which will assist us in uniform articulation, discipline and expression of the One Orthodox Faith.

When building a new house, the most difficult aspect can be assessing the soil and digging deep down to find the bedrock upon which to lay a strong foundation. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios commented that when one looks at a beautiful building, one rarely considers the effort that went into creating a sufficient foundation for the building. By the grace of God we hope we have begun to lay an unyielding foundation upon which to bring the living stones, the faithful in Christ from our various jurisdictions, for the building up of a beautiful Church in North America to the Glory of God. May the All-Holy Spirit direct and guide our Hierarchs as they seek to do
Lord’s will.

Your unworthy father in Christ,

+ Mark, Bishop of Toledo and the Diocese of the Midwest

Offline ialmisry

  • There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
  • Strategos
  • ******************
  • Posts: 41,197
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2010, 03:58:45 PM »
Message of the Episcopal Assembly Of the Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs of North and Central America May 26-28, 2010
May 28, 2010



MESSAGE


We glorify the name of the Triune God for gathering us at this first Episcopal Assembly of this region in New York City on May 26-28, 2010 in response to the decisions of the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference held at the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy, Switzerland, from June 6-12, 2009, at the invitation of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

Gathered together in the joy of the Feast of Pentecost, we humbly recognize our calling, in our unworthiness, to serve as instruments and disciples of the Paraclete, who “holds together the whole institution of the Church” (Hymn of Vespers of Pentecost).

We honor and express gratitude to the Primates and Representatives of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches who assembled at the Ecumenical Patriarchate from October 10-12, 2008 to affirm their “unswerving position and obligation to safeguard the unity of the Orthodox Church” (Chambésy Rules of Operation, Article 5.1a) and emphasized their will and “desire for the swift healing of every canonical anomaly that has arisen from historical circumstances and pastoral requirements” (Message of the Primates 13.1-2)

We call to mind those who envisioned this unity in this region and strove to transcend the canonical irregularities resulting for many reasons, including geographically overlapping jurisdictions. For, just as the Lord in the Divine Eucharist is “broken and distributed, but not divided” (Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom), so also His Body comprises many members, while constituting His One Church.

We are grateful for the gift of the doctrinal and liturgical unity that we already share, and we are inspired by our leaders, the Heads of all the Orthodox Churches throughout the world, who proposed that which we painfully yearn for in this region, i.e., the “swift healing of every canonical anomaly” (Message of the Primates 13.2). We are also grateful that they established a fundamental process toward a canonical direction and resolution.

We are thankful to almighty God for the growth of Orthodoxy, for the preservation of our traditions, and for the influence of our communities in this region. This is indeed a miracle and a mystery.

During our gathering, and in accordance with the rules of operation of Episcopal Assemblies promulgated by the Fourth Pan-Orthodox Pre-Conciliar Conference, we established:

1.   A registry of canonical bishops (Article 6.1)

2.   A committee to determine the canonical status of local communities in the region that have no reference to the Most Holy Autocephalous Churches (Article 6.2)

3.   A registry of canonical clergy (Article 6.3)

4.   Committees to undertake the work of the Assembly, among others including liturgical, pastoral, financial, educational, ecumenical, and legal issues (Articles 11 and 12)

5.   A committee to plan for the organization of the Orthodox of the region on a canonical basis (Article 5.1).

In addition to the above, we agreed that a directory would be created and maintained by the Assembly of all canonical congregations in our region.

We as Episcopal Assembly understand ourselves as being the successors of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), assuming its agencies, dialogues, and other ministries.

Moreover, at the formal request of the Hierarchs who have jurisdiction in Canada, the Assembly will submit to the Ecumenical Patriarch, in accordance with the rules of operation (Article 13), a request to partition the present region of North and Central America into two distinct regions of the United States and Canada. Additionally, at the request of the Hierarchs who have jurisdiction in Mexico and Central America, the Assembly will likewise request to merge Mexico and Central America with the Assembly of South America.

As Orthodox Hierarchs in this blessed region, we express our resolve to adhere to and adopt the regulations proposed by the Pan-Orthodox Conferences and approved by the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, and to do everything in our power by the grace of God to advance actions that facilitate canonical order in our region.

We confess our fidelity to the Apostolic Orthodox faith and pledge to promote “common action to address the pastoral needs of Orthodox living in our region” (Chambésy, Decision 2c). We call upon our clergy and faithful to join us in these efforts “to safeguard and contribute to the unity of the Orthodox Church of the region in its theological, ecclesiological, canonical, spiritual, philanthropic, educational and missionary obligations” (Article 5.1) as we eagerly anticipate the Holy and Great Council.

The Assembly concluded with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on Friday, May 28, 2010 at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Cathedral in New York City. During the Liturgy prayers were offered for the repose of the eleven victims of the current ecological disaster in the Gulf Coast, for the consolation of their families, for all those adversely affected by this catastrophe, as well as for all people living under conditions of war, persecution, violence, and oppression.

Of the sixty-six Hierarchs in the region, the following 55 were present at this Assembly:

Archbishop Demetrios, Chairman
Metropolitan Philip, Vice Chairman
Archbishop Justinian, Vice Chairman
Bishop Basil, Secretary
Archbishop Antony,Treasurer
Metropolitan Iakovos
Metropolitan Constantine
Metropolitan Athenagoras
Metropolitan Methodios
Metropolitan Isaiah
Metropolitan Nicholas
Metropolitan Alexios
Metropolitan Nikitas
Metropolitan Nicholas
Metropolitan Gerasimos
Metropolitan Evangelos
Metropolitan Paisios
Archbishop Yurij
Bishop Christopher
Bishop Vikentios
Bishop Savas
Bishop Andonios
Bishop Ilia
Bishop Ilarion
Bishop Andriy
Bishop Demetrios
Bishop Daniel
Bishop Antoun
Bishop Joseph
Bishop Thomas
Bishop Mark
Bishop Alexander
Metropolitan Hilarion
Bishop Iov
Bishop Gabriel
Bishop Peter
Bishop Theodosius
Bishop George
Bishop Ieronim
Metropolitan Christopher         
Bishop Maxim
Archbishop Nicolae
Bishop Ioan Casian
Metropolitan Joseph
Metropolitan Jonah
Archbishop Nathaniel
Archbishop Seraphim
Bishop Nikon
Bishop Tikhon
Bishop Benjamin
Bishop Melchisedek
Bishop Irineu
Bishop Irinee
Bishop Michael

http://goarch.org/news/episcassembymessage-05292010
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Paisius

  • Ditry Pope-loving ecumenist
  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,341
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Depends on the mood
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2010, 09:20:53 PM »
No Surprises as First Episcopal Assembly of Orthodox Hierarchs Concludes

Theodore Kalmoukos


BOSTON -- The proceedings of the first Episcopal Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs in North and Central America ended on Friday May 28, 2010 with the dissolution of SCOBA - the Synod of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of America. As reported, the two-day Assembly was held at the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel in New York on May 27-28, 2010 under the chairmanship of Archbishop Demetrios of America. By decision of the Assembly, all organizations and joint action projects operating under SCOBA, such as International Orthodox Christian Charities, will operate under the auspices of the Episcopal Assembly from hereon in.

SCOBA was first established back in 1960 in order to bring the bishops of the various Orthodox jurisdictions operating in America closer together, and promote cooperation and increased synchronization of their ministries. The late Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America had played a key role in the organization's founding, along with Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Archdiocese.

The assembly came to a formal close with the celebration of the divine liturgy at the Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral, to mark the brotherhood and unity present at the assembly.

Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Orthodox Church had initially opposed the dissolution of SCOBA, but was eventually convinced and agreed with the majority of the hierarchs.

Other issues discussed included the requests made by Metropolitan Sotirios of Toronto and all Canada and Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico and Central America to partition the present region of the Episcopal Assembly of North and Central America into two distinct regions of the United States and Canada, as well as to merge Mexico and Central America with the Assembly of South America. These requests will be sent to the Ecumenical Patriarchate by the Episcopal Assembly.

Archbishop Demetrios of America served as Chairman of the proceedings, aided by Vice-Chairmen Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Archdiocese and Archbishop Justinian of Naro-Fominsk, who is Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in the U.S. Bishop Basil of Wichita was elected as Secretary and Archbishop Antony of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA was elected Treasurer.

The Orthodox Church in America also was represented at the Episcopal Assembly, with Metropolitan Jonah in attendance. Although the Ecumenical Patriarchate does not recognized the OCA's Autocephaly, Metropolitan Jonah told TNH that the Church he heads has liturgical communion with all the Orthodox Church, despite statements to the contrary made by Metropolitan Philip Saliba and Rev. Mark Arey, Director of the Office of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, that OCA is not recognized by any Church with the exception of Moscow.

During the proceedings various committees were formed that will meet at regular intervals to discuss issues of common interest to all the Orthodox jurisdictions.

There were no direct statement regarding ecclesiastical autocephaly or autonomy, except for a few indirect statement by Metropolitan Philip in regards to the Orthodox Diaspora and Metropolitan Christopher of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America. The American-born Metropolitan Christopher noted that the time is ripe for such an undertaking, but Archbishop Demetrios disagreed.

None of the bishops of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America made any mention of autocephaly or autonomy, while Archbishop Demetrios clarified the role, responsibilities, and goals of the Assembly, noting that coordinated cooperation was sought on behalf of all the Orthodox Churches.

The date of the next Episcopal Assembly was not announced.

May 28, 2010



Link

Offline John of the North

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,535
  • Christ is Risen!
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2010, 11:46:12 PM »
http://eadiocese.org/News/2010/05/interview.en.htm

On Friday, May 28, upon completion of the three-day Episcopal Assembly of North and Central America, Eastern American Diocesan Media Office correspondent Reader Peter Lukianov held interviews with Archbishop Justinian of Naro-Fominsk, Administrator of the Patriarchal parishes in the USA, Bishop Job of Kashira, Administrator of the Patriarchal parishes in Canada, and Bishop Jerome of Manhattan, about their impressions of the Assembly’s work.

Archbishop Justinian of Naro-Fominsk, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA

- What are your impressions of the Episcopal Assembly that just came to a close?

I felt that the Orthodox Church, independent of the continent on which She finds Herself living and growing, independent of the language She uses, is guided by One Holy Spirit. These are not idle expressions or dutiful phrases; this is truly what I experienced personally in the work of the Episcopal Assembly. I felt that it was truly brethren in Christ that had gathered together, and it was very dear to me to participate in this, what I am sure is an historic undertaking, because the bishops had the opportunity to pray with one another, to see one another, to discuss questions of the utmost importance, and to feel that there really isn’t that much that differentiates us, after all, and further, that by closing our ranks, we can do a great deal in this country for the glory of God.

- In your opinion, what was the greatest accomplishment of this Assembly?

That we were able to demonstrate the unity of canonical bishops of the Orthodox Church. It was made known to the world that the Church exists, the episcopate exists, and that behind that episcopate stand the clergy and Orthodox laity, and I would like for these meetings to take place with regularity, as was hinted at, that in one year, on the week of Holy Pentecost, we will meet once more. I think that without unity our Church cannot exist, and now we were able to show that the Church can thrive even outside the boundaries of any one jurisdiction. We gathered together as hierarchs of different jurisdictions, but as it turned out, we could truly feel the fullness of a single Orthodox Church, regardless of jurisdiction. And this council of bishops was truly the fullness of the Orthodox Church of America.

- Some of our readers are worried by phrases such as "21st Century Orthodoxy," and many are worried that the Orthodox Church here in America could certainly become as the Protestant church, that is, leaving Her roots, and transforming into something different. How would you respond to this?

Both in the 21st, and in the 22nd, and we know not how long the Church of Christ, or the whole world, will continue to exist. For me this is an unbendable law of nature; while the Church of Christ exists, the world will exist. Without Christ’s Church, the world will cease its existence; it will truly be the Second Coming of Christ. For that reason I would say the following: it is not for us to know the times or the seasons when this will transpire, but this fear for the decline of the Church and the emasculation of Her spiritual essence, is felt not only by a zealous laity. For decades was nurtured an atmosphere of distrust among the laity for the clergy and the bishops; I will tell you that the same believing heart beats in the chest of a bishop, the same thoughts that disturb you, dear, beloved, zealous Christians! We share these thoughts; we see all of this, and surely, you understand, even more, and sense these same dangers and challenges of the modern age. But we want for the Church, no matter how long She continues to exist, to always remain faithful to Christ, faithful to the ideals of Orthodoxy, while simultaneously speaking in a language accessible to the world, so that She might be understood. And we, the bishops, are responsible for the development of the order of life in the Church in such a way that the Church will continue to remain the salt of the earth and a light unto it. But let the outside world take us for little fools; we are, in essence, fools to the whole world that hates Christ. But he who believes on Christ will not fear these insulting words, when they call us fools. God help them!

Bishop Job of Kashira, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in Canada

- What are your impressions of the work of the recently concluded Episcopal Assembly?

The council proceeded in a spiritual, prayerful, and calm manner. The striving of all the participant hierarchs toward love and unity was palpable; there is great benefit in this for the Church. This is the confession of our Symbol of faith – one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church – this was the principal outcome of the council. We were all together, all in the Holy Spirit, and it was sincere. Not all of the issues or questions were resolved, but the main thing was unity. The second thing was true, selfless brotherly love, reminiscent of the golden rule of St. Irenaeus of Lyons, that reigned and lorded over the participants of the council.

- They say, Vladyka, that the bishops of Canada will now gather in a separate assembly. Will you take part in both or only in Canada?

I don’t know how this will take place, inasmuch as the Assembly resolved to address a written appeal to Patriarch Bartholomew, asking that he give his blessing for the creation of a separate Episcopal Assembly in Canada. When this takes place then we will fulfill his blessing with the agreement of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. It would be nice if the Canadian Assembly could be established as a subsection of the American, and would preside over those several questions facing and specific to the Church in Canada. That is my opinion, but let God determine how it shall be.

Bishop Jerome of Manhattan, Vicar of the Eastern American Diocese

- What are your impressions of the recently concluded Episcopal Assembly?

The most important thing was that we were all together. Some people may ask, "What was the topic?", or "What issues were you going to discuss?" But I reply that the most important issue is, will we able to have this Pan-Orthodox hierarchal conference or not? And as it turns out, we could, and this means a great deal. This was especially true for those of us who remember how it was several years ago in the Church Abroad; were this ten or twenty years ago, of course, we would not have been there. The fact that we were together, that we felt ourselves to be brothers, and that today at the Liturgy we all had an opportunity to commune before one altar, from one Chalice, I feel means a great deal.

- What do you feel was the principal accomplishment of the Assembly?

Mutual trust, I think, because although these hindrances were officially abolished, now we know one another personally, meet with one another, greet one another. And so now this all takes on a human face.

- Some think that the participation of our hierarchs in these assemblies runs counter to the tradition of ROCOR, and say that such an assembly as this one can ultimately destroy our legacy. How would you reply to these people?

Until 1965, we participated in similar meetings, we had solid inter-Church relationships; this was under Metropolitan Philaret and Metropolitan Anastassy. Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), meanwhile, traveled to Romania for the enthronement of the first Romanian Patriarch in 1925, just as the Romanian Church adopted the new calendar. In the description of this event no mention was made of the calendar, so when was the tradition broken? It is hard to find such a moment.

- Were the bishops of the Church Abroad greeted namely as ROCOR hierarchs, or as hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate? That is, was the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church one, or were there separate delegations from the Moscow Patriarchate and the Church Abroad?

There was one delegation, and inasmuch as Archbishop Justinian is the representative of the Patriarch, he had the primacy of place among us, and fulfilled his role masterfully.
“Find the door of your heart, and you will discover it is the door to the kingdom of God.” - St. John Chrysostom

Offline Paisius

  • Ditry Pope-loving ecumenist
  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,341
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Depends on the mood
Bp. Michael interviewed about Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2010, 11:09:58 PM »
OCA-DNYNJ) - The following interview regarding the recent Episcopal Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs of North and Central America, which convened in New York City on 25-28 May, was conducted with His Grace, +Michael (Bishop of New York and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey) on Wednesday, 2 June 2010.

Question: Your Grace, we appreciate you taking time out of your extremely full schedule to share some of your observations, thoughts and reflections following the historic Assembly of Hierarchs that concluded just last week in New York City.


Bishop Michael: To begin with, I have to say what an incredible experience it was for me, just newly consecrated, to be privileged to be a part of this first Episcopal Assembly. To be there … to walk among giants … the great leaders of the Orthodox Churches in this country and in Canada and in Mexico. To see fifty-six bishops gathered together in the same room for the same purpose, was just awesome. As I said, I was privileged to be there. I had been at Ligonier [Pennsylvania, November 1994] as a priest when SCOBA [the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas] hosted such a gathering, and there were half as many bishops. This was an incredible event to be a part of..........


Continued
« Last Edit: June 13, 2010, 11:10:29 PM by Paisius »

Offline ROCORthodox

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 302
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2010, 06:28:57 AM »
From an interview with Met. Hilarion of ROCOR. 

http://www.synod.com/synod/engdocuments/enart_mhinterviewonechurch.html


Q:  What is your opinion on the formation of single Local Orthodox Churches in America and Europe (not by nationality, but by territory)?

Met. Hilarion (ROCOR):  This is probably the right thing to do, but I doubt that Orthodox people of various nationalities in the USA today would agree on the formation there of a Local Church. Each jurisdiction (Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian) is very connected to its traditions and the particularities of its services, and over the next few generations it is doubtful that services would be conducted in one language, since new waves of immigrants keep arriving.

Offline monkvasyl

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 652
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2010, 09:58:26 AM »
From an interview with Met. Hilarion of ROCOR. 

http://www.synod.com/synod/engdocuments/enart_mhinterviewonechurch.html


Q:  What is your opinion on the formation of single Local Orthodox Churches in America and Europe (not by nationality, but by territory)?

Met. Hilarion (ROCOR):  This is probably the right thing to do, but I doubt that Orthodox people of various nationalities in the USA today would agree on the formation there of a Local Church. Each jurisdiction (Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian) is very connected to its traditions and the particularities of its services, and over the next few generations it is doubtful that services would be conducted in one language, since new waves of immigrants keep arriving.

Metro. Hilarion got it right! 
The unworthy hierodeacon, Vasyl

Offline AWR

  • Greetings from the Southern Jersey Shore.
  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 240
  • Expelled from Paradise
    • Church  of the Mother of God
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #20 on: July 02, 2010, 10:16:16 AM »
From  The Orthodox Church magazine Spring/Summer 2010- Orthodox Church in America.

http://www.oca.org/PDF/DOC-PUB/TOC/2010/toc-spring-summer.pdf

The Episcopal Assembly, and Beyond

The Episcopal Assembly has come and gone. Many people put enormous
amounts of hope in it, but wonder what exactly happened at it. Given the fact
that there was little or no secular coverage, and minimal coverage – or even
comments – from the participants following the Assembly, it seems like little was
accomplished.


Metropolitan Jonah

Perhaps the greatest and most important aspect of the
Episcopal Assembly, not to be undervalued, was that
it brought together most of North America’s Orthodox
bishops to meet and begin to speak to one another, in
a constructive way. Certain organizational issues were
discussed, such as dividing the North American
Assembly to three separate assemblies – Latin America,
the US, and Canada. Committees were discussed, and
volunteered for. The ministries of the Standing Conference of
Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas were discussed, and
the Assembly recognized itself as SCOBA’s successor. There was
a common recognition of the need for coordination in many
pastoral areas – sharing lists of disciplined clergy, the status of
parishes and clergy, and so forth – and the need to create and
finance an office to handle such work. A statement was issued.

But some of the glaring underlying issues were not discussed,
despite an undercurrent in the Assembly, such as the position of
the Orthodox Church in America and the nonrecognition of its
autocephaly by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and allied Churches;
the multiplication of bishops with the same See, by both the Greek
and Antiochian Archdioceses and the OCA; the plurality of
jurisdictions; and so forth. The contentious issues were not given
voice, as perhaps it is too early to publicly address such issues
before mutual trust is established.

As His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek
Orthodox Archdiocese of America, who chaired the Assembly,
put it, “this Assembly is not a small claims court.” In fact, His
Eminence was masterful in avoiding any contentiousness, and
kept the meeting moving in a very deliberate way. He deserves
an immense amount of credit for keeping things together and
moving, in a most gracious, constructive and refined manner.
Of course, we also have to be grateful to him for keeping the
OCA at the table, despite some powerful objections.

Perhaps the most important issue is what was not addressed –
the vision for the future – which remains the central question.
Save for the one committee tasked with preparing a plan for unity,
to be presented to the upcoming Pan-Orthodox Council
(whenever that is to occur), the range of vision present in the room
could be characterized as, on one end, a new context of pastoral
cooperation on pressing matters, to a unified Church (on the other
end [of the room]). While we would all agree that we need to
cooperate – and indeed there are many common issues – what is
most divisive is precisely the question of where to go fromhere, and how to get there.

Different models of unity. It was most apparent that
there are also two or three very different models of how a
unified Church could be organized, if current organization is
any context for such speculation. About half the bishops in the
room were subject to the Ecumenical Patriarchate: the Greeks,
Ukrainians, Carpatho-Russians, and the EP Albanian bishop.
This constitutes a model of unity, already existing among those
jurisdictions, where each of the various groups has a relatively
autonomous local Synod, but is directly under the jurisdiction
of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In fact, the Greek Archdiocese’s
Metropolitans each sit in rotation directly on the Synod of
Constantinople. The non-Greek EP bishops are titular, with real
flocks but without American Sees. On the Assembly’s Executive
Committee, all these bishops would be represented by the
Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch. How much actual
interaction and coordination exists, I am not sure, other than
that they do not form an American Synod together.

The second model present in the room was that of the OCA:
a fully united, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural autocephalous
local Synod, conscious of being the Church in America, with
a mission to all people within our territorial boundaries. The
OCA has already been granted autocephaly – complete
independence from its mother Russian Church; it would be
necessary also for each of the other jurisdictions to be released
from and by their Mother Churches to join into such a unity.
In the OCA, there is a single Synod with its Primate, the
Metropolitan, who is the reference point for the unity of the whole.

A third “model,” if it can be so called, is the status quo: a loose
cooperation of exarchates from Old World Churches, mainly
concerned with consolidating and serving “their own” people
This was what SCOBA tried to consolidate, to no end.

The first two models are quite distinct. The first considers
the Ecumenical Patriarch is the point of unity, though there
remains a degree of jurisdictional autonomy. In the OCA model,
the Metropolitan and united Synod within the territorial
boundaries of North America are the point of unity. With the first,
the canonical identity of the Church is derived from its
relationship to the Patriarchate in Constantinople; with the
second, the canonical status may originally have come from the
mission sent by the mother Church, but it is now rooted in the
reality of the Local Church and its local Synod. The first model
preserves separate identities for each jurisdiction; the OCA
model demands deeper integration and cooperation. With the
first model, all major decisions are made in Constantinople,
including the election of bishops; with the OCA model, all
decisions are made locally and on a conciliar basis with the
participation of the clergy and laity.

Another major issue is the nature of the OCA’s autocephaly.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate, while recognizing the canonicity
of the OCA and its hierarchy, refuses to recognize its
autocephaly. For this reason, the EP chose to exclude the OCA
from the Executive Committee, though it recognized and seated
our bishops as canonical hierarchs. While this makes no sense
to us, we accepted it, as we believed it is better to attend in
humility than to boycott the gathering. We also hope that this
will be corrected in the future.

Underlying the nonrecognition by the EP of our autocephaly
are several major issues, all related. The first is that they did not
grant it, nor did they accept Moscow’s right to grant it. Second,
they have a substantial presence here, parallel to the OCA; that
presence, the Greek Archdiocese, is their largest constituency,
and it does not work to have another jurisdiction on the
territory of an autocephalous Church. Third, when autocephaly
is granted, it is normally to a Church that embraces all Orthodox
Christians in a given territory; the OCA’s autocephaly was given
only to one jurisdiction among others – regardless of the fact
of the OCA’s seniority in North America, which should have been
the canonical basis for all other Churches. If they were to
recognize the OCA’s autocephaly, they would be forced
canonically to release their jurisdictions to the Local
Autocephalous Church. In short, the situation is very complex.

The Chambésy meetings, which set the protocols for the
Episcopal Assemblies, have also now set protocols for the
granting of autonomy and autocephaly. Autonomy can be
granted simply by a mother Church to one of her archdioceses,
with the other Churches being informed of such action.
Autocephaly, however, is proposed by a mother Church to the
Ecumenical Patriarchate, which then gains the consensus of all
the other Patriarchates for it. The Tomos given is then an
ecumenical document, signed by all the Churches. This
establishes the new autocephalous Church as universally
recognized, so that all the Churches would relate to it as an
autocephalous Church, and it would have a universally accepted
place in the diptychs – the ordering of the Churches. This
protocol makes sense; however, it is not retroactive. Were it
retroactive, the OCA would be in a situation of having been
proposed to the universal Church, and in the process of reception.
Currently, five Churches accept the OCA’s autocephaly; five
reject it, and four are noncommittal. What is not defined is the
status of such a Church while in process of acceptance.

Where do we go from here? It is clear that the faithful of
the OCA want Orthodox unity – a united Synod of Bishops in
America making its own decisions and guiding the life of the
Church in America. We want to elect our own bishops and
metropolitan, and we want conciliar clergy and lay participation.
We also believe that many other Orthodox Christians in America
share this same vision of the Church. As the OCA, we are not
about to surrender our autocephaly, because it is an essential part
of our identity; but we will merge it into another, larger
autocephalous structure, when that time comes.

We hope that this Assembly could lead to a “Pro-Synod,” in
which all bishops come together and act as a single Synod,
dealing with issues and problems that arise, perhaps even
assigning bishops to areas where there are none, addressing
overlapping jurisdictions, and building the foundations for a fully
autocephalous Synod. In the meantime, each Church would
retain its relationship to its mother Church. Its Primate would sit
on the Executive Council of this Pro-Synod, but also represent it
to its mother Church, and its mother Church to the American
Pro-Synod. This is rather “out of the box” thinking, but that is
what our anomalous situation demands. When the time is right,
each American exarchate would be given independence from its
mother Church, a single Tomos of autocephaly would be issued
from all the mother Churches, and a Primate elected and
universally recognized. The OCA would fully participate in such
a structure.

In the meantime, we are who we are. We know ourselves to be
the heir of the Russian Mission of 1794, the work of Saint
Innocent and Saint Tikhon, Saint Raphael and the blessed
Sebastian Dabovich, Saint Alexis Toth and Saint Iakov of Sitka,
Saint Nikolai Velimirovich and Saint John of San Francisco.
We are maturing as a local Church in America, with seminaries
and monasteries, hundreds of churches, and a tradition of
Orthodoxy already ten or more generations deep. More than half
our laity – and most of our priests and bishops – are converts to
the Faith. We come from dozens of ethnic origins, and all races.
We are truly a local indigenous Church, the fruit of the original
Mission as well as the immigration and return of Uniates to
Orthodox Christianity. And we received the gift of autocephaly
and are striving to live up to it.

Our mission is to openly embrace all others, to bring the
light of Faith and the Good News of repentance and forgiveness
to all those around us, to baptize them into the Orthodox
Church, and to share with them our incorporation into the Body
of Christ. We must embrace our fellow Orthodox Christians,
leaving aside all that divides us, and finding the “unity of the
Faith and the communion of the Holy Spirit” that unites us in
profound intimacy.

Practically, we can share many things between our parishes,
across all jurisdictional lines. Youth groups and activities are a
major opportunity. Clergy Brotherhoods can become effectively
pro-deaneries or pro-dioceses. We can share health and pension
programs, insurance plans, and other such things. We can
cooperate in the support of monasteries, seminaries and
charitable works, which transcend jurisdiction.

But most of all, our task is to focus on the one thing needful:
the Gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and the task He has given us
to actualize our unity: “That they may be one, as we are one;
I in them, and Thou in me, that they may be perfectly one, that
the world may know that Thou hast sent me” [John 17:21].



« Last Edit: July 02, 2010, 10:30:34 AM by AWR »

Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,017
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Diocese of the South (OCA)
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2010, 10:47:53 AM »
The “Myth” of Unity: A Response to a 2009 Address Given at St Vladimir’s Seminary

George Michalopulos

ABSTRACT: Last year, a symposium entitled The Council and the Tomos: 20th Century Landmarks Towards a 21st Century Church, was held at St Vladimir’s Seminary (Crestwood, June 18-20, 2009). One of the speakers, Matthew Namee, presented an expanded version of a paper he delivered the previous year at the Orthodox Theological Society in America. His paper was titled, “The Myth of Unity and the Origins of Jurisdictional Pluralism in North America.” Namee expanded an earlier thesis to argue that the story of the Russian Mission and the implicit unity it fostered in the early years of the Orthodox presence in America was largely mythical. Rather, the history is one of jurisdictional rivalry and division from which we can draw little or no guidance for our present situation or the future. Namee implicitly issued a challenge: Which historical narrative that describes the Orthodoxy presence in America is correct? Is it the Russian Mission narrative which prescribes a Church guided by the Orthodox missionary imperative? Or is it the narrative of ethnic protection that has little interest in engaging American society and culture? The resolution of this question will impact the future of Orthodoxy in America. Will American Orthodoxy become a local church in the canonical tradition of mission-minded Orthodoxy, or will it remain divided by ethnic interests, essentially a Balkanized entity subject to overseas leadership and political interests? What follows is my response.

.....Body of article at http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/OT/view/michalopulos-the-ldquomythrdquo-of-unity-a-response-to-a-recent-address................

VII. Conclusion

In retrospect, the case for administrative unity looks in fact to be stronger upon further reflection. There was indeed — if not a “golden age” of administrative unity — then a “silver age” which up until 1917 encompassed approximately three hundred fifty parishes in North America. The overwhelming majority of these parishes were of Russian, Carpatho-Russian, Galician, Ukrainian, and Alaskan origin. This missionary diocese also included all Serbian and Lebanese parishes in North America, and a miniscule number of Greek ones as well.

To be sure, there was a growing number of independent parishes that were Greek for the most part which chose to ignore the primacy of the Russian Mission — and on one occasion, even evicted St Tikhon from one of its parishes — but this is not a point of pride to any reasonable man. Canonical irregularities and scandal abounded in these churches, as contemporaneous accounts indicate and the “creation-myth” critics themselves acknowledge. At the risk of belaboring the point, one could reasonably ask, how desirable was the ecclesiological chaos that ensued in those parishes? These are not rhetorical questions but have tremendous bearing on the present reality of jurisdictional disunity and what it means for mission formation. Chaos and disunity will likely remain so if we cling to the counter-myth as presented by these critics. Indeed, it is hard how it could not be otherwise.

Four Premises Inform the Counter-Myth

Despite the tremendous and admirable research he has conducted, the entire case against the so-called myth of unity rests on four premises:

   1. That the first hundred years of the Russian Mission and its administrative and canonical integrity must be resolutely ignored;
   2. If the first century is acknowledged, the enormity of the Alaskan and Carpatho-Russian missionary endeavors must be marginalized;
   3. Examples of non-ethnic Russian cooperation and obeisance to the established ecclesiastic protocols of the Russian Mission must pass without comment; and
   4. Irregular, uncanonical, and even schismatic ecclesiological practices must be trumpeted as somehow authentic or exceedingly trivial.

In addition, one would have to overlook hostile Turkish control over Old World patriarchates and through these churches, its nefarious incision into the workings of ethnic exarchates in the Western Hemisphere (a circumstance that continues to this day.)

In the final analysis, none of the critics of the “creation myth” can bring forth evidence that the Russian Mission was not the “permanent, established” Orthodox presence on the North American continent as Kallistos Ware wrote. It is only by special pleading, ignoring uncomfortable facts, and (recent) novel claims of Constantinopolitan primacy –that are evident only in a posterior fashion—that the facts can be interpreted otherwise. On at least three different occasions, Namee has chosen to pass over facts that are detrimental to his argument.

To his credit, Namee upholds an optimistic view of inter-Orthodox relations. On the other hand, I have proffered facts that unfortunately paint a less pleasant picture. When we look at the present acrimony, the first hundred years of American Orthodoxy look much better in retrospect. Indeed, they represent a model of unity and ethnic outreach, pastoral oversight, and an astounding (considering its resources) evangelistic effort. The historical record notes that not only was the Russian Mission the first Orthodox presence in the Western Hemisphere, it maintained an internal and canonical integrity. Moreover, it was a true missionary diocese. Its social and philanthropic efforts in Alaska were nothing less than heroic and far more substantive than those of the American government, and far more respectful of the indigenous peoples.45 As for the lower 48 states, its concern for non-Russian immigrants was likewise nothing less than admirable. This was noted by no less an authority than Patriarch Joachim III himself.

According to Namee’s own research, by 1916 Greeks comprised 48 percent of the Orthodox population in America, a fact which is neither here nor there in terms of Orthodox ecclesiology. On the other hand, the total number of Greek parishes was eighty-seven. Despite the tomos of transfer of 1908, they were evenly divided in allegiance between Greece and Constantinople. During this time however, the Russian-American diocese had grown to 350 parishes; therefore the total number of these independent Greek parishes was barely one-quarter of this amount. To be sure, there was no administrative unity between the majority of these independent Greek parishes and the Russian Mission, but that does not mean that the history of American Orthodoxy should be rewritten in order to take advantage of facts that appeared at a much latter stage in the history of American Orthodoxy (and not from its “earliest days”).

The facts as presented by Namee and other critics paint a dismal picture of church formation in those parishes that chose to remain independent of the Russian hierarchy. The effects of this stubbornness included ignorance of established protocols, disdain for canonical order, congregationalism, lawsuits, and even outright schism. Critics of the Russian Mission should likewise be held to account for their view that disunity, phyletism, and a decided ignorance of canonical norms are immaterial when it comes to the founding of new parishes and the inevitable parallel jurisdictions. It is very possible that for these critics, there is no other way to justify their championship of the present anarchy than to try and normalize it by stating that it was always thus, when a clear presentation of the facts proves otherwise.

Despite all the tumult of immigration and the growing pains of the American Orthodox presence, an established, legitimately founded Orthodox Church existed in North America which adhered to most ecclesial norms. This stands in sharp contrast to the hodge-podge of independent parishes that had no hierarchical oversight and which were often at odds with the established protocols, and often with each other. It is one thing to catalogue the defects of these parishes and then note in a passive way the formation of the exarchates that grew out of them, but it is highly questionable to maintain that this was the total picture of American Orthodoxy and that there was not a unified and established Orthodox presence on the North American continent. That its administrative unity was disrupted and/or ignored is indisputable, but that is not the same thing as saying it never existed, or that the later ethnic jurisdictions — which were formed from the remains of schismatic parishes—are somehow as legitimate as the Russian Mission.

VIII. Postscript: Implications for the Future

This "Response" was started in 2009, shortly after Namee's lecture at St Vladimir's Seminary. Since that time, more historical information has come forth, almost all of it from Namee and his historical research society. The volume of information produced from that quarter is truly astounding. The Society for Orthodox History in America is a non-pareil resource for long-forgotten documents and photographs that reveal a richness to the little known history of Orthodox origins in North America.

That being said, the dominant narrative of an established Russian Mission remains intact, a fact that even Namee increasingly appears to concede.46 Perhaps the rich history of inter-Orthodox cooperation between bishops of the Russian Mission, and specifically bishops and priests from the Church of Greece or the Ecumenical Patriarchate, can best be understood by understanding that history itself is never cut and dried. Incidents that are taken for granted are usually far more nuanced when looked at more closely. Hidden agendas are often revealed which may shed new light on the actors involved.

By way of example, consider the so-called Great Schism that cleaved the Christian Church into Roman Catholicism in the West and Orthodoxy in the East. All agree that the act of disunion was the bull of excommunication that was placed on the altar at the church of the Holy Wisdom in 1054. Yet almost all historians agree that the truth is more complex. At most, this act of disunion was between the Pope and the Church of Constantinople, not the entire East. Most Christians were simply unaware of this brazen act and continued to view themselves as part of a united Church. The final cleavage did not happen until the sack of Constantinople in 1204 by the Fourth Crusade.

On the other hand, estrangement between East and West started happening in the ninth century; the crowning of Charlemagne as Roman Emperor by the pope in 800 was viewed by many as a precipitating factor. Other schisms had come and gone — the Acacian and the Photian schism are two prominent examples. Regardless, the fact remains that even though 1054 was viewed by contemporaries as a relatively trivial event, the fact remains that the bull was a real document with real grievances and since it had been issued by a canonical bishop, had binding authority. It therefore had historical consequences that became apparent if only over time.

History very often is a messy business, and the founding of the Orthodoxy in North America is no exception. Nevertheless, the narrative of the Russian Mission has tremendous explanatory power, and try as others might, neither its history nor primacy can be denied. Namee to his credit attempts no such thing. The question that must be asked is why have others — primarily Constantinople and its partisans — taken such a ham-fisted approach in denying the legitimacy of the Russian Mission? It is my belief that intentions can be gleaned from what at times amounts to no more than propaganda I am sad to say. Though ill conceived and ultimately doomed to fail, these efforts have consequences, almost all uniformly negative.

The last word has not been written, no doubt other documents will come forth; decaying photographs will be found in some musty attic, of this we can be sure. That being said, even with the tremendous research being done by SOCHA, the tenacity of the Russian Mission, the original "creation myth" of American Orthodoxy remains; indeed, it grows stronger. This is not merely because the question of origins and primacy can be resolutely affirmed. It is also true because in some ways the original story of Orthodox in America is congruent with the American narrative: A foreign enterprise implanted itself on a new continent, was faithful to its foundational principles, attained a life of its own, and eventually became independent. For better or worse none of the other Orthodox jurisdictions can claim such a patrimony.

Offline arimethea

  • Getting too old for this
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,966
  • Does anyone really care what you think?
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2010, 11:21:29 PM »
http://www.antiochian.org/sites/antiochian.org/files/greeting_by_his_all_holiness_21_sept_2010.pdf

This PDF was scanned as an image and can not be copied and pasted here. If someone can find a text version its inclusion in its full would be beneficial.
Joseph

Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,017
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Diocese of the South (OCA)
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2010, 10:21:31 AM »
From OCA News, 09/28/2010 http://www.ocanews.org/news/EpiscopalAssembly9.27.10.html:

In a letter from the Bishop Basil (Essey) of  Wichita, the secretary of the American Assembly, which accompanied the Patriarch's missal, descriptions of the several committees that the Episcopal Assembly established were given. The Bishop writes:

"These descriptions are not meant to be exhaustive. The duties and responsibilities of the respective committees will include, but will not necessarily be limited to, those listed under each heading.

After reading through these descriptions, each member of the Episcopal Assembly is asked to select three (3) committees on which he would be willing to serve, and prioritize them (first choice being numbered #1, second choice #2, third choice #3) and return this
document to the Secretary of the Episcopal Assembly, His Grace Bishop Basil of Wichita.

In addition, on a separate piece of paper, each member of the Episcopal Assembly is invited to nominate up to three (3) clergymen and/or laypersons whose expertise would qualify them for work with each of the below-listed committees. Please include with these a brief description or c.v. which identifies the qualifications of each individual....

Committee for Canonical Affairs
The Committee for Canonical Affairs will be responsible
i) for creating and maintaining the registries mentioned in the Message of the Episcopal Assembly, namely:
    a) the registry of canonical bishops;
    b) the registry of canonical clergy and their status; and c)the registry of all canonical communities in the Region;
ii) for recommending to the Assembly any additions or deletions from these registries;
iii) for determining the canonical status of local communities that have no reference to any of the autocephalouschurches and addressing issues pertaining to these bodies;
and iv) for considering any canonical questions submitted to it by the other committees.

Committee for Military Chaplaincy
The Committee for Military Chaplaincy is responsible
i) for endorsing Orthodox chaplains for work with the Armed Services;
and ii) for working towards a single, unified process of endorsement for military chaplains of all jurisdictions. To this end, it will determine the means by which it may assume SCOBA’s Endorsing Agency status vis-àvis
the Department of Defense.

Committee for Monastic Communities
The Committee for Monastic Communities is tasked with archiving and cataloging, as well as studying and comparing the different monastic constitutions in use within the various jurisdictions and monastic communities in the Region.

Committee for Pastoral Practice
The Committee for Pastoral Practice is responsible for i) identifying the differences and inconsistencies among the various jurisdictions in their exercise of sacramental and pastoral praxis (e.g., marriage and divorce, reception of converts, etc.);
and ii) for establishing a protocol to address these inconsistencies and propose models for resolution
consistent with canonical practice.

Committee for Canonical Regional Planning
The Committee for Canonical Regional Planning will formulate a proposal for a plan to organize all the Orthodox faithful of every jurisdiction in the Region on a canonical basis, in accordance with the Rules of Operation, Article 5.e of the 4th Pre-Conciliar Pan-
Orthodox Conference in Chambésy. This plan is intended for presentation to the forthcoming Great and Holy Synod as per the Decision Article 1.b of the 4th Pre- Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference.

Committee for Ecumenical Relations
The Committee for Ecumenical Relations will coordinate and supervise Orthodox participation in ecumenical and inter-faith dialogues and organizations, with particular reference to the existing Bi-Lateral Theological Consultations (Orthodox-Catholic and
Orthodox-Lutheran) and Joint Commissions (i.e., of Orthodox and Roman Catholic Bishops and of Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches).

Committee for Theological Education
The Committee for Theological Education is charged with
i) identifying and catalogingall institutions and programs for theological learning found in the various jurisdictions in the Region,
ii) cataloging the curricula in use in these institutions and programs;
iii) identifying any existing programs for Orthodox theology offered by institutions of higher
education;
and iv) identifying special ministerial jurisdictional programs.

Committee for Financial Affairs
The Committee for Financial Affairs is
i) to determine the means whereby the Episcopal Assembly and its activities will be financed;
ii) to oversee fund raising and development;
iii) to create a budget for the Assembly;
and iv) to catalogue and compare the financial practices of the various jurisdictions, agencies, and organizations attached to the
Assembly.

Committee for Legal Affairs
The Committee for Legal Affairs is to
i) determine and resolve all legal issues related to the Assembly;
ii) determine any legal issues related to the activity of the agencies ofwhich the Assembly has oversight, and address those issues;
iii) formulate a common approach to the legal issues facing all the jurisdictions;
iv) study and develop Best Practices related to specific circumstances;
and v) resolve any questions addressed to them by the other committees.

Committee for Liturgy
The Committee for Liturgy is expected
i) to catalogue and compare various translations, rubrics, Typika, and liturgical books;
and ii) to develop and suggest a common translation of basic liturgical texts (e.g. the Symbol of Faith, the Our Father, etc.).

Committee for Church and Society
The Committee for Church and Society will develop a process to determine both the propriety and the priority of advocacy by the Assembly of issues concerning Church, government and society that are relevant to the lives of the faithful in the Region (e.g., same-sex marriage, abortion, war, etc.).

Committee for Youth
The Committee for Youth is charged with i) identifying and cataloging all jurisdictional youth programs (camps, age specific groups, etc.);
ii) identifying and cataloging all joint youth programs (e.g., OCF);
and iii) developing models for coordinating youth-oriented activities and programs that both minimize duplication and maximize the participation of young people in the life of the Church."

- Mark Stokoe

Offline Fr. George

  • formerly "Cleveland"
  • Administrator
  • Stratopedarches
  • *******
  • Posts: 21,081
  • May the Lord bless you and keep you always!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2011, 02:30:19 PM »
From the Episcopal Assembly's official website:

http://www.episcopalassembly.org/news/releases/secretariat-2011-01-12

Secretariat of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops Convenes First Meeting

On Jan 12-13, 2011, the members of the Secretariat of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America met in Alhambra, CA at St. Steven’s Cathedral, hosted by His Grace Bishop Maxim. The meetings were led by His Grace Bishop Basil, and included bishops, priests, deacons, monastics, and laity. In addition to Bishop Basil, the others in attendance were: Bishop Andonios, Bishop Maxim, Fr. Mark Arey, Fr. Nicholas Ceko, Fr. Josiah Trenham, Protodeacon Peter Danilchick, Mr. Eric Namee, and Fr. Benedict Armitage. Mr. Alex Machaskee was able to participate by phone in part of the meeting.

The Secretariat recommended to the Chairman, Archbishop Demetrios, some changes in the appointments for the committee members and chairs, which will eliminate the duplication of responsibilities and foster better efficiency.

Bishop Andonios, as the Secretariat’s Coordinator for Agencies and Endorsed-Organizations, was charged with creating standards for endorsement by the Assembly, reviewing the current endorsements, and developing a process for deciding on new applicants. Mr. Constantin Ursache, who works closely with Bp. Andonios and Fr. Mark Arey, was appointed a consultant to the Secretariat.

Bishop Maxim, as Coordinator for Committees, intends to contact the chairmen of the thirteen committees (refer to Committees tab) soon, to help them begin in earnest their work on behalf of the Assembly. Protodeacon Peter Danilchick, who developed a protocol to help the committees, was appointed consultant to Bishop Maxim.

The question of communications was also discussed. Those present acknowledged the fact that the Orthodox faith is not well-known to the media and public, and that heretofore has been largely unable to speak with a unified voice. It was asked, if Orthodox Christians neglect to address important issues in society, how can they be upset when their political leaders do the same?

As a result, the Secretariat has proposed, for the Chairman’s consideration, the creation of an Office of Communications. It will be empowered to speak on behalf of the Assembly, especially at times of crisis, when quick action is required. It is imperative that any message issued by the Assembly represent the views of all the member bishops; thus, the bishops themselves must determine at their next meeting in May how this process should work. Mr. Alex Machaskee agreed to act as a consultant to the Secretariat for communications.

Also discussed was the question of fundraising and the means of funding the activity of the Assembly, its Secretariat, and the thirteen committees. It was unanimously agreed that financial transparency and accountability was of the utmost importance.

Various other items of business were also discussed. The meeting was a very successful one, for which we thank God. This success was the result of the expertise, good will and dedication of all those present, and was also due in no small part to the warm hospitality shown by Bishop Maxim, Fr. Nicholas Ceko, the Hieromonk Jovan and the Cathedral’s Circle of Serbian Sisters – to whom many thanks are due.[/quote]
I don't typically presume to speak for Mor
You can presume to speak for Mor.  

How in Mor's good name
one hundred fifty four posts
No Rachel Weisz pic

Selam

Offline ialmisry

  • There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
  • Strategos
  • ******************
  • Posts: 41,197
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #25 on: January 25, 2011, 03:57:03 PM »
From an interview with Met. Hilarion of ROCOR. 

http://www.synod.com/synod/engdocuments/enart_mhinterviewonechurch.html


Q:  What is your opinion on the formation of single Local Orthodox Churches in America and Europe (not by nationality, but by territory)?

Met. Hilarion (ROCOR):  This is probably the right thing to do, but I doubt that Orthodox people of various nationalities in the USA today would agree on the formation there of a Local Church. Each jurisdiction (Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian) is very connected to its traditions and the particularities of its services, and over the next few generations it is doubtful that services would be conducted in one language, since new waves of immigrants keep arriving.

Metro. Hilarion got it right! 
answered here

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,27881.msg524873/topicseen.html#msg524873
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Paisius

  • Ditry Pope-loving ecumenist
  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,341
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Depends on the mood
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2011, 07:46:34 PM »
So I'll get this round started.  :)


Address of Archbishop Justinian to the Episcopal Assembly. Sorry for the machine translation.


Quote
Your Eminence, Grace, dear brethren!

Christ is Risen!

Greetings to you good words to Easter, because our meeting is taking place in the days when the Church of God continues to sing Glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus.

As co-chair of the Episcopal Assembly of the North and Central America, representing the Russian Orthodox Church, to you the heartfelt good wishes on behalf of His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill.

I want to welcome the fruitful work of the Assembly for the time elapsed since its first plenary meeting in May 2010. First of all, I note the high level of understanding in the leadership of our congregation. I can attest to the presence of the spirit of brotherly love on his experience of meetings and maintain contact with the chairman of the Assembly and co-chair Archbishop Dimitry, Metropolitan Philip. In turn, this can not but have a positive impact on the interaction of our co-workers and assistants. Should note in this regard the excellent work of the Secretariat of the Assembly, headed by Bishop Basil.


Link

Offline arimethea

  • Getting too old for this
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,966
  • Does anyone really care what you think?
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #27 on: May 27, 2011, 01:07:08 PM »
Since their site has been buggy the last few days I thought I would post the entire message.

http://www.assemblyofbishops.org/news/documents/assembly-message-2011

2011 Message of the Assembly of Bishops

Friday, May 27, 2011

Christ is Risen!

“Glory to the Holy, Consubstantial, Life-giving, and Undivided Trinity.”

By the grace of God, we forty-five Hierarchs gathered in Chicago IL, on May 25-27, 2011, for the second meeting of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. Several Hierarchs were prevented from attending due to personal illness, while our Serbian brothers, participating at a prolonged assembly of bishops meeting in Belgrade, were also unable to attend. All of us experienced what the Psalmist joyfully declares, “how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Ps. 132.1)

We draw inspiration from this resurrectional liturgical period, within which we have assembled, standing at the midpoint between the light of Pascha and the grace of Pentecost, the crossroad between the possibility of new life and the reality of renewed communion, the merging of the melody of unity and the beauty of diversity.

We call to mind our brother Hierarchs who have fallen asleep in the Lord during the past year: Metropolitan Christopher of Libertyville and Chicago (Serbian Diocese), Metropolitan Nicholas of Amissos (Carpatho-Russian Diocese), and Metropolitan Epiphanios of Bryoula (Ecumenical Patriarchate). May their memory be eternal!

In our deliberations as Orthodox Hierarchs, we manifested a spirit of conciliarity, expressing our commitment to proceed on all matters in collegial and collaborative manner reflective of the unity that characterizes the various jurisdictions of the Orthodox Church within our regional Assembly. In this respect, we once again affirm our desire and willingness to work toward “the swift healing of every canonical anomaly that has arisen from historical circumstances and pastoral requirements” (2008 Message of the Primates 13.1-2), following the decisions of the representatives of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches regarding the “unswerving position and obligation to safeguard the unity of the Orthodox Church” (2009 Chambésy, Rules of Operation, Article 5.1a) and the promotion of “common action to address the pastoral needs of Orthodox living in our region” (2009 Chambésy, Decision 2c).

In accordance with our determination and decision during the 1st Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops (May 26-28, 2010), we focused and acted upon our understanding that we are successors of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), assuming its agencies and ministries. Therefore, among the items on the agenda was the work of the Assembly’s 13 committees, its Secretariat, and its 14 agencies and endorsed organizations.

We offer thanks to God for the positive spirit of cooperation that prevailed during the sessions of the Assembly. We are pleased to report to our faithful what the committees of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops reported to their brother Hierarchs. The work of these committees will constitute the principal service of the Assembly, meeting frequently and regularly in order – with the participation also of lay members – to materialize the remarkable unity of the Orthodox Churches in this region. In this regard, we are inspired by the words of the Risen Lord: As the Father has sent me, I am sending you (John 20.21); and Truly, truly, I say to you: he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do. (John 14.12)

Thus, in addition to official reports by the Chairman, the Vice-Chairmen, the Treasurer, and the Secretary, the responsibilities of the following committees were discussed extensively: Canonical Affairs, Canonical Regional Planning, Church and Society, Clergy Affairs, Ecumenical Affairs, Financial Affairs, Legal Affairs, Liturgy, Military Chaplaincy, Monastic Communities, Pastoral Practice, Theological Education, and Youth. Moreover, the coordinators of the various agencies and endorsed organizations, formerly under the aegis of SCOBA, will convene with respective Hierarch liaisons in order to determine the criteria of their relationship and establish appropriate channels of communication with the Assembly.

In particular, the Assembly warmly received and unanimously encouraged the creation of a common ministry for our military chaplaincy and our youth.

Our prayers are offered to God at this time for those who have suffered from the extreme weather conditions in the last weeks, especially and most recently the tornadoes and flooding in Missouri and Oklahoma in the United States, and throughout the region of our Assembly, where epic catastrophe has struck numerous people with death, devastation, and damage. May God grant rest to the souls of the departed and may the gentle breeze of His Spirit grant the victims the strength to rebuild their lives. We fervently encourage our parishes to offer generous material, financial, and spiritual support.

We cannot remain silent in the face of atrocities and persecutions committed against Christian minorities by fundamentalists and extremists, in Palestine and Egypt, especially against the Christians caught up in the upheaval of the Arab Spring, which has unleashed long-oppressed diverse sectarian animosities. In particular, the Christian communities in Palestine and the Middle East have been drastically reduced and compelled to emigrate as refugees. We urge political leaders throughout the world to stop ignoring the manifestations of intolerance, discrimination and open persecution against all religious communities – Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike – living in contentious regions and countries of the world, notably in Northern Africa and the Middle East.

In light of the designation of June as “internet safety month,” we exhort our priests and parishioners to raise awareness and secure appropriate protection for our children and communities from the many and diverse prevalent dangers, including pornography, cyberbullying, perils by predators, risks of geotagging, and in particular dissension in the Church. Technology is not sinful; but the abuse of technology is a sin and a crime. We encourage our faithful to disseminate relevant internet safety literature, organize internet safety classes, utilize parental controls, and take rigorous advocacy measures to pressure wireless companies and carriers to mandate protective options.

Finally, we are united in wholeheartedly acknowledging and fervently blessing the tireless ministry of our parish clergy and their families, the honorable presbyters and deacons in the service of Christ, the brothers and sisters of our monastic communities, and all those who do charitable work, those who serve our holy houses of worship, those who labor, teach, and chant, and all the people of God, who await His great and rich mercy.

Truly the Lord is Risen!

 

Archbishop Demetrios, Chairman

Metropolitan Philip, 1st Vice Chairman

Archbishop Justinian, 2nd Vice Chairman

Archbishop Antony, Treasurer

Bishop Basil, Secretary

Metropolitan Iakovos

Metropolitan Constantine

Metropolitan Methodios

Metropolitan Athenagoras

Metropolitan Isaiah

Metropolitan Alexios

Metropolitan Nicholas

Metropolitan Evangelos

Bishop Savas

Bishop Andonios

Bishop Ilia

Bishop Demetrios

Bishop Daniel

Bishop Antoun

Bishop Joseph

Bishop Thomas

Bishop Alexander

Metropolitan Hilarion

Archbishop Alypy

Archbishop Kyrill

Bishop Peter

Bishop John

Bishop Theodosy

Bishop George

Bishop Ieronim

Archbishop Nicolae

Bishop Ioan Casian

Metropolitan Joseph

Metropolitan Jonah

Archbishop Nathaniel

Bishop Nikon

Bishop Tikhon

Bishop Benjamin

Bishop Alejo

Bishop Melchisedek

Bishop Michael

Bishop Matthias

Bishop Irineu

Bishop Mark

Bishop Irénée
Joseph

Offline mike

  • A sexual pervert with limited English reading comprehension
  • Protostrator
  • ***************
  • Posts: 24,872
  • Polish Laser Jesus shooting down schismatics
  • Faith: Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Diocese of Białystok and Gdańsk
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #28 on: October 19, 2011, 11:39:28 AM »
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America has created a legal entity with the filing of its Articles of Incorporation in Washington, D.C. This action follows the second annual meeting of the Assembly of Bishops held May 25-27 in Chicago, Illinois...
Hyperdox Herman, Eastern Orthodox Christian News - fb, Eastern Orthodox Christian News - tt

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who can watch the watchmen?
"No one is paying attention to your post reports"
Why do posters that claim to have me blocked keep sending me pms and responding to my posts? That makes no sense.

Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,017
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Diocese of the South (OCA)
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #29 on: November 14, 2013, 11:48:59 AM »
News release from ACOB, Friday, November 01, 2013:

"Nearly 300 clergy and laity attended a pan-Orthodox forum on Sunday, October 27 to learn about the Assembly of Bishops, pose questions, and comment on the progress of Orthodox unity in America...The event, which was held at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, began with Vespers and a presentation by Protodeacon Danilchick, who provided an overview of the Assembly and its achievements to date. He also shared highlights from the fourth annual Assembly meeting, including a look at the various models of unity that were discussed in Chicago this past September.

See more at: http://www.assemblyofbishops.org/news/2013/hundreds-attend-cleveland-forum#sthash.0jpp1d8k.dpuf
« Last Edit: November 14, 2013, 11:49:49 AM by Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) »

Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,017
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Diocese of the South (OCA)
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #30 on: September 18, 2014, 03:53:38 PM »
The September 17, 2014 statement by the OCA Holy Synod on canonical restructuring follows. Of interest is the conclusion:

"For these reasons, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America strongly urges that all efforts continue to be made by the Assembly to fulfill the expectation of the Most Holy Primates, as re-iterated by His All-Holiness, Patriarch Bartholomew, in his inspiring address to us this morning, that we offer a proposal which “moves beyond words to actions” and which “puts our theology into practice.” We submit that the most clear and direct path to this goal is the establishment of a local autocephalous Orthodox Church here in our region and recommend this to the Assembly for their consideration as the most effective way to fulfill the exhortation of His All Holiness: “To move beyond what is mine and yours, to what is ours.”

http://oca.org/news/headline-news/oca-holy-synod-issues-preliminary-response-to-canonical-restructuring-propo

Offline Antonis

  • Μέγα το Θαύμα!
  • Section Moderator
  • Archon
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,545
  • Faith: The Ancientist Faith
  • Jurisdiction: Patristic, Neptic, Hesychastic, Philoka-
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #31 on: September 18, 2014, 03:55:38 PM »
The September 17, 2014 statement by the OCA Holy Synod on canonical restructuring follows. Of interest is the conclusion:

"For these reasons, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America strongly urges that all efforts continue to be made by the Assembly to fulfill the expectation of the Most Holy Primates, as re-iterated by His All-Holiness, Patriarch Bartholomew, in his inspiring address to us this morning, that we offer a proposal which “moves beyond words to actions” and which “puts our theology into practice.” We submit that the most clear and direct path to this goal is the establishment of a local autocephalous Orthodox Church here in our region and recommend this to the Assembly for their consideration as the most effective way to fulfill the exhortation of His All Holiness: “To move beyond what is mine and yours, to what is ours.”

http://oca.org/news/headline-news/oca-holy-synod-issues-preliminary-response-to-canonical-restructuring-propo
:o :o :o

EDIT: Oh, I thought that was a statement by the assembly as a whole, not from the OCA...

I was extremely surprised when I thought the former. :P
« Last Edit: September 18, 2014, 03:58:57 PM by Antonis »
You sound like a professional who knows what he's talking about.  That's because you are.

"This is the one from the beginning, who seemed to be new, yet was found to be ancient and always young, being born in the hearts of the saints."
Letter to Diognetus 11.4

"The human being is earth that suffers."
Letter of Barnabas 6.9

Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,017
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Diocese of the South (OCA)
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #32 on: September 18, 2014, 04:12:32 PM »
(Sorry I forgot this section is restricted to documents and such).

« Last Edit: September 18, 2014, 04:13:52 PM by Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) »

Offline Basil 320

  • Site Supporter
  • Archon
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,159
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #33 on: September 18, 2014, 04:46:08 PM »
Thanks, Carl. Interesting and informative.

I too am sorry.

Moderator: Delete this post if you wish.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2014, 04:47:41 PM by Basil 320 »
"...Strengthen the Orthodox Community..."

Offline Maria

  • Boldly Proclaiming True Orthodox Christianity
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 14,023
  • O most Holy Theotokos, save us.
    • Saint Euphrosynos Cafe Discussion Forum
  • Faith: TrueGenuine Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: GOC under Archbishop Stephanos
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #34 on: July 06, 2015, 08:42:56 PM »
To: abpublic@LISTS.ASSEMBLYOFBISHOPS.ORG

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 2, 2015


Response of Assembly of Bishops to Obergefell v Hodges

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America strongly disagrees with the United States Supreme Court decision of June 26, Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Court invents a constitutional right for two members of the same sex to marry, and imposes upon all States the responsibility to license and recognize such ?marriages.?

The Supreme Court, in the narrowest majority possible, has overstepped its purview by essentially re-defining marriage itself. It has attempted to settle a polarizing social and moral question through legislative fiat. It is immoral and unjust for our government to establish in law a ?right? for two members of the same sex to wed. Such legislation harms society and especially threatens children who, where possible, deserve the loving care of both a father and a mother.

As Orthodox Christian bishops, charged by our Savior Jesus Christ to shepherd His flock, we will continue to uphold and proclaim the teaching of our Lord that marriage, from its inception, is the lifelong sacramental union of a man and a woman. We call upon all Orthodox Christians in our nation to remain firm in their Orthodox faith, and to renew their deep reverence for and commitment to marriage as taught by the Church. We also call upon our nation?s civic leaders to respect the law of Almighty God and uphold the deeply-rooted beliefs of millions of Americans.

The memory of God should be treasured in our hearts like the precious pearl mentioned in the Holy Gospel. Our life's goal should be to nurture and contemplate God always within, and never let it depart, for this steadfastness will drive demons away from us. - Paraphrased from St. Philotheus of Sinai
Writings from the Philokalia: On Prayer of the Heart,
Translated from the Russian by E. Kadloubovksy and G.E.H. Palmer, Faber and Faber, London, Boston, 1992 printing.

Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,017
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Diocese of the South (OCA)
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #35 on: September 17, 2015, 03:55:40 PM »
Official reports from the September 2015 session:

Sptember 16, 2015. Assembly Convenes Sixth Annual Meeting in Chicago, including a link to Archbishop Demetrius' address.
http://assemblyofbishops.org/news/2015/assembly-convenes-sixth-annual-meeting-in-chicago

September 17, 2015. Annual Meeting Continues With Focus on Canonical Regional Planning and Pastoral Practices.
http://assemblyofbishops.org/news/2015/untitled-resource

Offline Mor Ephrem

  • Take comfort in the warmth of the Jacuzzi of Oriental Orthodoxy
  • Section Moderator
  • Protospatharios
  • *****
  • Posts: 33,081
  • Two half-eggs
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: The Ancienter Faith
  • Jurisdiction: East
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #36 on: September 18, 2015, 11:12:46 PM »
Quote
Statement of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America to the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the United States Regarding the Draft Proposal of the Committee on Canonical Regional Planning

Presented at the Meeting of the Assembly of Bishops Convened in Chicago, IL

September 15-17, 2015

http://antiochian.org/statement-antiochian-orthodox-christian-archdiocese-north-america-assembly-canonical-orthodox-bishop
Please don't project meta-debates onto me.

Quote
The erection of one’s rod counts as a form of glory (Theophylaktos of Ohrid, A Defense of Eunuchs, p. 329).

Offline Opus118

  • Site Supporter
  • Archon
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,273
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #37 on: September 18, 2015, 11:58:45 PM »
Quote
Statement of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America to the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the United States Regarding the Draft Proposal of the Committee on Canonical Regional Planning

Presented at the Meeting of the Assembly of Bishops Convened in Chicago, IL

September 15-17, 2015

http://antiochian.org/statement-antiochian-orthodox-christian-archdiocese-north-america-assembly-canonical-orthodox-bishop

This is almost a naked link. I do not care, but there is no clue why you posted the link. Is it related to this statement in the PDF that is found at that link?

Quote
The Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch and her Patriarch JOHN X remains committed to the unity of the Patriarchate
with all of Antiochian faithful wherever they are. The Antiochian Metropolitan and bishops of North America remain committed to our consecration pledge.

I seem to recall this is not news.

Always yours,
Clueless in La Jolla.

"Mi tío es enfermo, pero la carretera es verde!" - old Chilean saying

Offline Mor Ephrem

  • Take comfort in the warmth of the Jacuzzi of Oriental Orthodoxy
  • Section Moderator
  • Protospatharios
  • *****
  • Posts: 33,081
  • Two half-eggs
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: The Ancienter Faith
  • Jurisdiction: East
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #38 on: September 19, 2015, 12:33:39 AM »
Quote
Statement of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America to the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the United States Regarding the Draft Proposal of the Committee on Canonical Regional Planning

Presented at the Meeting of the Assembly of Bishops Convened in Chicago, IL

September 15-17, 2015

http://antiochian.org/statement-antiochian-orthodox-christian-archdiocese-north-america-assembly-canonical-orthodox-bishop

This is almost a naked link. I do not care, but there is no clue why you posted the link. Is it related to this statement in the PDF that is found at that link?

I'm sorry, I don't think I can help you with this one. 
Please don't project meta-debates onto me.

Quote
The erection of one’s rod counts as a form of glory (Theophylaktos of Ohrid, A Defense of Eunuchs, p. 329).

Offline Opus118

  • Site Supporter
  • Archon
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,273
Re: Documents from the North American Episcopal Assembly
« Reply #39 on: September 19, 2015, 02:41:30 AM »
Quote
Statement of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America to the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the United States Regarding the Draft Proposal of the Committee on Canonical Regional Planning

Presented at the Meeting of the Assembly of Bishops Convened in Chicago, IL

September 15-17, 2015

http://antiochian.org/statement-antiochian-orthodox-christian-archdiocese-north-america-assembly-canonical-orthodox-bishop

This is almost a naked link. I do not care, but there is no clue why you posted the link. Is it related to this statement in the PDF that is found at that link?

I'm sorry, I don't think I can help you with this one.

Nice to know that I am in good company.
"Mi tío es enfermo, pero la carretera es verde!" - old Chilean saying