[Syosset, NY] A Preliminary Response of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America to proposals with regard to canonical restructuring, a topic of discussion at the fifth meeting of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America in Dallas, TX September 15-19, 2014, was issued and distributed to all bishops on September 17.
The text of the Preliminary Response reads as follows.
PRELIMINARY RESPONSE OF THE HOLY SYNOD OF BISHOPS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA TO THE PROPOSALS FOR CANONICAL RESTRUCTURING
September 17, 2014
“The light of Orthodoxy was not lit to shine only on a small number of men. The Orthodox Church is universal; it remembers the words of its Founder: ‘Go ye unto all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature’ [Mark 16:15]…. We ought to share our spiritual wealth, our truth, light, and joy with others who are deprived of these blessings, but often are seeking them and thirsting for them….” [St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and Enlightener of North America Homily for the Sunday of Orthodoxy, 1903, San Francisco].
The fourth gathering of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in North America (ACOB) took place on September 17-19, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. At that meeting, the Committee for Canonical Regional Planning presented a Proposal for Canonical Administrative Restructuring, which was discussed in detail at several sessions by the assembled bishops.
According to the minutes of Assembly IV, “[t]here was a general sense that there was no agreement on the proposed model at this time, but that the model was a good starting point for further discussion and development.” In addition, the suggestion was made that, “following the conclusion of Assembly IV, there should be discussion within each jurisdiction about the proposals.”
More recently, the Committee for Canonical Regional Planning has forwarded to all the bishops of the Assembly an updated proposal for canonical restructuring in our region along with a second unsolicited proposal from an interested group outside of the Committee. These are being discussed at our Assembly gathered here in Dallas. Several jurisdictions have already offered responses to the most recent proposals or expanded on the comments they have made about last year’s Proposal.
The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America is presently considering its own fuller and more comprehensive contribution to the present discussion but offers the following points as an outline of some principles which we feel should be considered by the brothers of the Assembly:
The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America remains committed to the work of the Assembly of Bishops and is grateful to the Most Holy Patriarchs and Primates for initiating the process that has taken us from the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan Orthodox Conference in Chambésy, Switzerland in June of 2009 to our present expectation of a Great and Holy Council in 2016.
We likewise remain supportive of the efforts of the Assembly of Bishops within our region, which has met now for five years in a row, in a spirit of mutual love and respect, with a view to fulfill the mandate of the “swift healing of every canonical anomaly” in our region and to propose, by consensus, a plan for canonical reorganization to be submitted in time for the Great and Holy Council [Message of the Patriarchs 3.12].
In particular, we offer sincere thanks to Archbishop Nicolae, the Chairman of the Canonical Regional Planning Committee, along with all its members and consultants, for their excellent initiative and work to date. We recognize the exhaustive research and complex reflection that were required to address the issue of canonical organization in our region. We also acknowledge the many hours of discussion and review that have gone into the drafting of the initial 2013 proposal and the subsequent proposals presented to this Assembly.
We also would like to acknowledge the concerns expressed on the two proposals that we are considering here in Dallas, including those referring specifically to the canonical implications of the proposals, the duty of the Mother Churches to pastorally care for the flock of their particular ethnic and cultural heritage and the need address current variations in pastoral and ecclesiastical practice. These are legitimate concerns that must be carefully addressed in any plan that is put forward. We also emphasize that the principle of consensus, which has been operative on the global level through the Synaxes of the Holy Patriarchs and the Chambésy process, as well as within our own Assembly, must be preserved as we look to finalize our Assembly’s proposal to the Great and Holy Council.
We note that the two proposals most recently distributed to the bishops articulate two different approaches to the question of canonical restructuring. The first (from the Committee) proposed a 10-year path towards a potential autocephaly via an interim status of autonomy to be overseen by all the Primates of the Orthodox Churches. The second (from an unsolicited source) proposes a similar 10-year plan but with the emphasis on common and concerted joint local effort of the members of the Assembly in addressing a number of specific areas (pension, theological education, missions, etc.).
Although both plans present concrete solutions, the Holy Synod of the OCA feels that both options require further discussion and analysis both within the Assembly and within each of our respective jurisdictions. Nevertheless, in terms of a principle of approach, we remain committed to the vision of a fully functioning and canonical local Church in our region. Therefore, we continue to maintain the principle that the best solution for this region is a canonically and administratively united local Church with a properly functioning Holy Synod.
We acknowledge that the status of the Orthodox Church in America as an autocephalous Church is not universally recognized within the Orthodox world. We likewise re-affirm that we do not consider our autocephaly as an obstacle to a broader autocephaly, which is, in fact, envisioned within the Tomos of Autocephaly, granted to us by the Russian Orthodox Church. In the words of His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri, of blessed memory, who was bishop here in Dallas: The Orthodox Church in America is autocephalous not in order to be self-sufficient and isolated, but in order to be in living communion and close contact with all Orthodox Churches… The Orthodox Church in America received autocephaly not in order to be master of Orthodox unity in America but in order to be a servant of this unity.
At the same time, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America fully acknowledges that attention needs to be legitimately directed to the question of the pastoral and administrative care of particular ethnic/cultural groups. The cooperative work that has been undertaken by all the brothers gathered here, not only through the work of the Assembly, its Committees and Agencies, but for many decades before. We are confident that the universal dimension of the Orthodox Church, reflected in the beautiful diversity of the Orthodox presence in the United States, should remain a hallmark of our Church here. Is it not possible that an administratively united Church might offer a more effective means to collectively and in brotherly fashion assist the bishops of the Assembly in the care of the diversity of our faithful?
As such, we ask our brothers of the Assembly to consider a broader question: For what purpose has God, in His infinite Wisdom and Providence, brought us together in this country? Is our answer a positive response to the Lord’s commandment to “preach the Gospel to every creature”? Is our answer to look to the model provided St. Tikhon at the turn of the last century, and to “share our spiritual wealth … with others who are deprived of these blessings”? In His High Priestly Prayer in St. John’s Gospel, our Lord Jesus Christ prays to the Father and asks that “they may be one, as we are”. How is this to be realized if we place limits on our responsibility to be the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church? St. Paul tells the Galatians that “There is neither Jew nor Greek … for you are all one in Christ Jesus” [Gal. 3:28] Does this not direct us to see no difference between the immigrant from Russia and the one from Indonesia, between the one from Africa and the one from Central America? Does this not direct us to see the Agnostic, the Protestant, the Buddhist or Taoist in the same way we see the marginal Orthodox Christian?
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.”
WHAT: College Age Retreat WHERE: Vatra Romaneasca, Grass Lake, Michigan WHEN: SEPTEMBER 26 - 28, 2014 - arrive Friday evening and depart Sunday early afternoon WHO: College students SPEAKERS: Fr John Konkle and Fr Dan Hoarste Confirm Participation: by September 24, 2014 COST: Free will donation CONTACT: Fr Dan Hoarste, 517-522-4800 or email@example.com
MEMORY ETERNAL! HIS EMINENCE METROPOLITAN PHILIP - 03/20/14
The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, with great sadness, announces the passing unto life eternal of His Eminence the Most Reverend Metropolitan Philip (Saliba), Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America. May his memory be eternal! Details are forthcoming.
Communiqué of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches - 03/11/14
(March 9, 2014 - Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople) By the grace of God, the proceedings of the Synaxis of the Primates of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches concluded today, on the Sunday of Orthodoxy. The Synaxis took place at the Phanar from 6-9 March, 2014, at the invitation and under the presidency of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and was attended by all the most venerable Primates in person, with the exception of His Beatitude Patriarch John of Antioch, who, due to illness, was represented by Hierarchs of his Church.
Episcopal Consecration of Bishop David of Sitka and Alaska - 02/22/14
ANCHORAGE, AK [OCA – February 22, 2014] – Faithful from parishes and villages across Alaska and the dioceses of the Orthodox Church in America began arriving early at the spacious Saint Innocent Cathedral here on the morning of Friday, February 21, 2014 for the celebration of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, during which Bishop-Elect David [Mahaffey] was consecrated to the episcopacy as Bishop of Sitka and Alaska.
Assembly Faces Temporary Withdrawal of Participation by Hierarchs of Patriarchate of Antioch
Archbishop Demetrios of America, Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, has issued the following statement in response to the temporary withdrawal of the Hierarchs of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America from their participation in the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. The Synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch, in October 2013, decided to temporarily withdraw from all Assemblies of Canonical Orthodox Bishops around the world because of a jurisdictional issue in the Middle East.
College Conference West 2013 at St. Nicholas Ranch in Dunlap, California, December 27-30
Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is gearing up to host their annual College Conferences! We would like to ask for your help in promoting College Conference West 2013, held this year at St. Nicholas Ranch in Dunlap, California, December 27-30th.
[November 1, 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. Metropolitan Savas of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Bishop Peter of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia served as panelists, together with Protodeacon Peter Danilchick, member of the Assembly’s Secretariat.
Holy Synod elects Archimandrite David [Mahaffey] to Alaska See
SYOSSET, NY [OCA] - Archimandrite David [Mahaffey] was elected by the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America to fill the vacant Episcopal See of Sitka and Alaska on Wednesday, October 16, 2013.
CHAMPION, OH - John G. Ghindia, 89, passed away Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, at his residence. John was born Aug. 20, 1924, in Niles, the son of John G. and Maria Ghindia Sr. He was a 1942 graduate of Warren G. Harding High School. John retired in 1986 from GM Lordstown Fab Plant as a metal assembler after 18 years. From 1989 to 2004, he was the Champion Township Zoning Inspector.
[CHICAGO, IL - September 20, 2013] In the final day of its annual meeting, the Assembly agreed to issue two statements—one on the Church’s unchanging position on marriage and one expressing grave concern over the escalating violence in the Middle East. The Assembly also released a message to the faithful on the conclusion of Assembly IV.
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will make all Thy wonders known. (Psalm 9:1) / (First Antiphon, Nativity of Christ)
The heart has been understood in the Orthodox tradition as short-hand for one’s whole being. The Fathers frequently cite Proverbs 23:26 in this connection, “My son, give me your heart….” Likewise, the prayer of the heart, the Jesus Prayer, is meant to transform one’s entire way of thinking, feeling and behaving, in conformity with Jesus’ teaching that the greatest commandment is this: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt 22:37).
Although the precise formula of the Jesus Prayer varies, the most common is “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me [a sinner].” I recently came across an interview about the Prayer of the Heart with Father Roman Braga, the Romanian elder at the Monastery of the Dormition in Rives Junction, Michigan.
Metropolitan Tikhon attends Romanian Episcopate Congress
GRASS LAKE, MI [ROEA/OCA] - The 81st Annual Episcopate Congress of the Romanian Episcopate of the Orthodox Church in America took place at the Diocesan Center “Vatra Romaneasca” (“Romanian Hearth”) here September 5-7, 2013.
This year marked the 75th Anniversary of the inaugural events that had taken place at the Vatra in 1938, when services were held and the property blessed by His Grace, Bishop Policarp [Morusca], the Episcopate’s first ruling bishop, and His Eminence, Archbishop Athenagoros of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. As customary, the Congress is hosted by a parish or mission of the Episcopate. Saint Elias Mission, Anjou, Quebec, Canada was this year’s host mission. Congress participants were blessed by the presence of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, who attended all meetings and other Congress sessions.
[HOLLYWOOD, FL - August 23, 2013] We were notified today of the falling asleep in the Lord of V Rev Fr Jon Sfera, retired priest of Holy Cross Romanian Orthodox Church in Hollywood, FL. At this point in time, the funeral arrangements have not yet been finalized, so we will update this announcement as soon as we have all of the details.
Parish Ministries Conference to feature nearly three dozen individual workshops
[SYOSETT, NY - OCA] A descriptive listing of the 30 workshops slated to be presented at the 2013 Parish Ministries Conference of the Orthodox Church in America, to be held at Marymount University, Arlington, VA July 10-13, 2013, is now available. A detailed schedule and on-line registration forms may be found here.
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon presided at the sessions. Members of the Lesser Synod who participated included His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel; His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin; His Grace, Bishop Michael, secretary of the Holy Synod of Bishops. His Eminence, Archbishop Nikon also attended.
Highlights of the meeting, according to Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary, included the following....
The Assembly of Bishops Research Coordinator, Alexei Krindatch, has prepared a range of reports on Orthodox Christianity in America. Along with the following research summaries, the full reports are available in PDF format. ...
Assembly of Bishops Posts Minutes, Budget and Articles of Incorporation
The Assembly of Bishops has releasedminutesfrom its most recent meeting (Assembly III), held in Chicago from September 10-12, 2012. Though the final minutes will not be approved until the next meeting of the Assembly, scheduled for the Fall of 2013, the Assembly presents these assummary minutes.
At their January 28, 2013 meeting, the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America established the Department of Continuing Education to provide for the ongoing development of clergy and lay leaders. This action came in response to decisions made at the 16th All-American Council with regard to the Strategic Plan. . . .
Preoteasa Victoria Moldovan, of Jameson Care Center, formerly of Buhl Terrace, Farrell and Reith Miller Road, West Middlesex, passed away peacefully of natural causes at 4:50 a.m. on Friday, January 18, 2013 in Jameson Care Center, New Castle, Pennsylvania. She was 99.
His Eminence the Metropolitan Archbishop of Western and Central Europe has been elected Patriarch of the Great City-of-God Antioch and all the East. The Patriarch-elect Youhanna X (Yaziji) was elected by the members of the Holy Synod earlier today, December 17, during a special session held at the Balamand Patriarchal Monastery of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos. Continued...
Metropolitan Tikhon calls for prayers in wake of Connecticut school shooting - 12/16/12
SYOSSET, NY [OCA]
As widely reported in the media on Friday, December 14, 2012, twenty-six individuals—twenty of whom were elementary school children—perished at Sandy Hook School, Newtown, CT, when a lone 20-year-old gunman entered the school and opened fire on students and faculty alike.
Upon learning of the tragedy, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, released the following letter to the faithful. Continued...
Two days after he was admitted to Saint George Hospital here, His Beatitude, Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch and All the East fell asleep in the Lord on Wednesday, December 5, 2012.
Patriarch Ignatius had suffered a severe stroke on Monday, December 3, and had been under the care of physicians in the hospital’s intensive care unit. He was 91 years old. [See related story.] ...Continued
Metropolitan Tikhon addresses the Church in video address - 11/30/12
SYOSSET, NY [OCA] - A video address to the Church, featuring His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, is now available for viewing on the web site of the Orthodox Church in America. The address was recorded on Monday, November 26, 2012 at the OCA Chancery in Syosset, NY....Continued
Archbishop Tikhon elected Metropolitan of All America and Canada - 11/13/12
PARMA, OH [OCA] His Eminence, Archbishop Tikhon, Archbishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, was elected Primate of the Orthodox Church in America during the 17th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America at Holy Trinity Church here Tuesday, November 13, 2012. . . .continued
How parishes can help with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts - 11/07/12
SYOSSET, NY [OCA CSHA] The Orthodox Church in America’s Department of Christian Service and Humanitarian Aid (CSHA) is encouraging all parishes to assist International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) in providing emergency assistance to those suffering as a result of Hurricane Sandy. . . .continued
Third Annual Meeting of the Assembly of Bishops - 09/13/12
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America held its third annual meeting for all member hierarchs, that is, all active canonical bishops in its region. The meeting was held from September 10-12, 2012, at the Chicago O'Hare Hilton in Chicago, Illinois. Forty-three bishops were in attendance. . . .continued
Vă voi ține la curent cu alte informații atunci când acestea vor deveni disponibile.
jos este un fragment dintr-un email trimis noaptea trecută membrilor
Sfântului Sinod de către Prea Cucernicul Părinte John Jillions,
să vă asigur că Înalt Prea Sfințitul Mitropolit Jonah este acasă și a
spus că dorește să colaboreze cu ceilalți episcopi pentru binele OCA,
pentru pacea și stabilitatea familiei sale și pentru propria sa viitoare
Dumnezeu să vă binecuvinteze!
From His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel:
Christ is in our midst. He is and always shall be!
Although it is already posted on theOrthodox Church in America website,
I wanted you to know from me personally that His Beatitude JONAH
tendered his resignation as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America in
a letter dated July 6, 2012 and reiterated his desires on July 9,
I will update you later as further information is made available.
Below is an excerpt from an email sent to the Holy Synod last night from Very Reverend John Jillions, Chancellor:
would like to reassure you that Met Jonah is at home and says he is
willing to collaborate with the bishops for the good of the OCA, for the
peace and stability of his family and for his own future episcopal
Heaven Smiled [St. Nicholas Church, Regina, Saskatchewan] - 05/21/12
Heaven smiled and blessed St. Nicholas Parish with perfect weather as it celebrated its 110th Anniversary in Regina, SK, Canada, May 12 & 13, 2012. The occasion was blessed by a visit from His Eminence Nathaniel, Archbishop of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America and Canada. . . .continued
A New Book: Challenges of Orthodox Thought and Life Reflections on Christian Foundations and Living Traditions By Hieromonk Calinic (Berger) 185 pages. $15.00.
Challenges of Orthodox Thought and Life presents a series of short essays centered around essential and provocative questions of Christian belief and life, all meant to bring the reader into the spiritual arena, where the decisive challenge of salvation is presented. Based on the Holy Scriptures, engaging the living and patristic Tradition and informed by contemporary scholarship, these short reflections provide a source-book of knowledge and inspiration for a vibrant Orthodox faith in today's world.
Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America: Year in Review - 02/23/12
In today’s secular society, which is often filled with meaningless rhetoric, it is encouraging to report that the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America is progressing toward its stated goals.
Recent achievements include the official incorporation of the Assembly on October 18, 2011 as the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America (ACOB). (It was formerly known as the “Episcopal Assembly” of North and Central America.) Last month an historic teleconference of the Assembly’s committee chairmen was held, bringing together representatives of all Orthodox jurisdictions in North America. On January 24 and 25, 2012, the Secretariat—which holds monthly teleconferences—held its second annual face-to-face meeting in Riverside, CA. . . .continued
Second Annual Meeting of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America - 05/27/11
Issued from Chicago, IL on 27 May 2011 by the Secretariat of the Assembly
May 25-27, the second annual Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of
North and Central America gathered for its meeting at the Chicago O'Hare
Hilton. There was a total of 45 bishops in attendance. In addition,
nearly all of the members were present at the Assembly: the Ecumenical
Patriarchate, including the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, the Ukrainian
Orthodox Church, and the Albanian Orthodox Diocese; the Antiochian
Orthodox Archdiocese; the Patriarchate of Moscow, including the Russian
Orthodox Church in the USA and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of
Russia; the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of the Americas; the Bulgarian
Eastern Orthodox Church; and the Orthodox Church in America. Not
represented were the American Carpatho-Russian Diocese, as they
currently have no bishop, owing to the recent repose of Metropolitan
Nicholas; the Georgian Orthodox Church, whose bishop resides in Georgia;
most of the bishops of Canada and Mexico, as the Canadian bishops
anticipate their own assembly, as do those of Mexico and Central America
who have requested to join the Assembly of South America. The Bishops
of the Serbian Orthodox Church were detained by the business of their
Synod in Belgrade, which was in session at the same time, and by delays
in travel caused by the volcanic ash over Europe, and so were not able
Archbishop Nathaniel, Bishop Irineu meet with western European Romanian bishops - 12/17/10
ROME, ITALY [OCA] -- His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate and His Grace, Bishop Irineu of Dearborn Heights, participated in a gathering of western European Romanian bishops, the theme of which was "Conscience and Canonical Orthodox Ecclesiology," at the headquarters of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of Italy here during the last week of November 2010. Attending the gathering, the third of its kind, were bishops from the Metropolia of Western and Southern Europe and the Metropolia of Germany, Central and North Europe, according to the Romanian Patriarchate's news agency "Basilica." Quoting His Grace, Bishop Siluan of Italy, Basilica reported that the meeting provided an opportunity for the hierarchs to share pastoral experiences in their respective regions and to discuss various aspects of mission, Christian identity, and the sharing of the faith and traditions in light of major westward emigration of Romanians witnessed since the fall of communism in Romania. During the gathering the hierarchs celebrated the Divine Liturgy in Rome's mid-second century Saint Callistus Catacombs.
Statement of Clarification - 10/18/10
[ROEA Chancery - October 18, 2010] Concerned that unofficial internet postings distort and misrepresent the current status of the dialogue of reconciliation with our sister Romanian eparchy in North America, we offer the following information. The Press Release posted on our website, www.ROEA.org, is the only official statement of the ROEA on this issue. We deplore any other postings that claim to report factual information from unknown “sources close to the Episcopate”. Such erroneous postings disinform and foster disunity in the Church and our Episcopate.
[Cancelaria ROEA, 18 Octombrie 2010] Preocupat de faptul că anumite comunicări neoficiale făcute pe internet deformează şi reprezintă eronat statutul curent al dialogului de reconciliere cu eparhia soră Ortodoxă Română din America de Nord, oferim următoarea clarificare. Comunicatul de Presă publicat pe website-ul nostru, http://www.ROEA.org, este singura comunicare oficială din partea ROEA (Episcopiei Ortodoxe Romane din America) pe această temă. Deplângem orice alte declaraţii care pretind că rapoartează informaţii “factuale” provenite de la “unele surse apropiate Episcopiei.” Astfel de declaraţii eronate dezinformează şi alimentează dezbinare în Sf. Biserică şi în Episcopia noastră.