Ann Rodgers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette picks up Day Two of OCL’s Road to Unity Conference:
Orthodox bishops in America are now free to use the A-word.
That’s autocephaly — meaning a self-governing church that doesn’t answer to an authority overseas. America is now divided into overlapping ethnic jurisdictions, most of which answer to a church in Eastern Europe or the Middle East. Many of those overseas churches had squelched talk of autocephaly for their mission dioceses in places such as the Americas and Australia. But in June they unanimously called for all bishops in each of those regions to assemble and make decisions about their own territories.
“It is a transition that will lead us, as quickly as possible, to our goal of a united, autocephalous American Church,” said Metropolitan Jonah, national leader of the Russian-rooted Orthodox Church in America.
At the conference, the speakers and attendees examined how unity might actually take shape:
Many speakers addressed what American Orthodoxy might look like, urging that it focus on outreach to all Americans. Christopher Shadid, 22, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh, said that campus Orthodox fellowships are already models of unity where students worship without ethnic distinction.
“The youth want unity,” he said.
Read Orthodox Christians celebrate independence in America on the Web site of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.