April 23, 2014

Orthodox Christian Laity issued a call for broad community support and involvement in Orthodox Unity efforts which will formally begin when all Orthodox Bishops in North America meet after Pentecost in May, 2010.   The independent lay movement announced its action plan on October 31 at the end of its 22nd Annual Meeting held at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. “It appears that for the first time in the history of the Orthodox Church in America, we have a process which can lead to unity, a hope which OCL has kept alive these past two decades,” stated Bill Souvall, the group’s newly-elected president. He was referring specifically to the Episcopal meeting of all Orthodox bishops which will consider preparations and plans for bringing about Orthodox unity in America.   “We stand ready to assist our bishops in any appropriate way as they prepare for this meeting and urge all concerned clergy and laity to begin their own discussions and dialogue on the important … [Read more...]

http://www.aoiusa.org/blog/4365/

Road to Unity: The A-word

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 … [Read more...]

OCL’s Road to Unity Conference

Fr. Peter-Michael Preble is blogging from the Road to Unity conference here. Ann Rodgers of the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette covers day one with "Orthodox Christians in U.S. face obstacles before unifying." Sister Sara Elisabet Oftedal, co-founder of Martha and Mary House in Escondido, Calif., a small home for women who choose adoption over abortion, said her board has members from the Serbian, Antiochian, and Greek jurisdictions and is incorporated in the Orthodox Church in America. "As a convert, I'm blind to the differences. But I do think it would be wonderful if we were all together because it would be a much more powerful witness," she said. The Rev. Justin Mathews, director of FOCUS North America, a pan-Orthodox ministry to aid poor Americans with food, shelter and employment, said global Orthodoxy has a long tradition of social service, but it has been neglected in America. Ministry to the poor "is the responsibility of our church and perhaps the beginning of the … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s statement on SCOBA meeting

NEW YORK – His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew gave an audience yesterday Tuesday, Oct. 27, to the Orthodox Primates of the USA, most of whom were present the previous evening for the Ninth Annual Orthodox Prayer Service for the United Nations Community. Present at the audience were Archbishop Demetrios of America (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese); Metropolitan Philip (Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese); Metropolitan Christopher (Serbian Orthodox Archdiocese); Metropolitan Nicholas (Carpatho- Russian Diocese); Archbishop Nicolae (Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese); Metropolitan Jonah (Orthodox Church in America), Metropolitan Constantine (Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA); Bishop Ilia (Albanian Orthodox Diocese) and Archpriest Alexander Abramov (Representation of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USA). Archbishop Demetrios welcomed His All Holiness on behalf of the Primates. The remarks of His All Holiness follow: “We bring to you the greeting, the blessing, and the love … [Read more...]

Greek lobby: Bartholomew leads U.S. church into ‘canonical normalization’

Hellenes Abroad News, one of the primary voices of the Greek lobby, reports that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will meet with SCOBA during his visit to the United States, which kicked off yesterday. The article makes a startling assertion: Under the leadership of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the worldwide Orthodox Church has moved significantly in the past year toward a canonical normalization of the Churches that exist in the so-called “Diaspora.” This opportunity for the Members of SCOBA to meet with the Ecumenical Patriarch comes at a fortuitous time in the process. Considering that the newly constituted U.S. episcopal assembly is not scheduled to gather for its first meeting until May 2010, this is what we "barbarians" in America's so-called "diaspora" refer to as jumping the gun. Recall, to cite just one example, Antiochian Metropolitan Philip's critique of Constantinople's interpretation of Canon 28. Met. Philip argues that Constantinople’s … [Read more...]

Green Patriach ‘continues his witness to the unity of Orthodox Christians’

From the bulletin insert provide by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese for the Green Patriarch's visit to the United State later this month: His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew ascended to the Apostolic and First Throne of the Orthodox Christian World on November 2, 1991. Since becoming the Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch, he has engaged all Orthodox Christians and the world’s diverse religious communities, policy makers and cultural leaders, with his message of peace, reconciliation, restoration, and renewed hope. As the Ecumenical Patriarch, a purely spiritual leader, he transcends national, cultural and ethnic divisions. For the world’s 250 million Orthodox Christians, he is the convener and visible sign of unity of the worldwide Orthodox Christian Church. In his role as Ecumenical Patriarch, His All Holiness Bartholomew serves as a global peacemaker and bridge builder, a tireless advocate of religious freedom and tolerance, and a … [Read more...]

Locality, the Episcopate, and Canonicity: Reflections on the Recent Pre-Conciliar Meeting at Chambesy

eagle

Author: George Michalopulos ABSTRACT: In previous essays posted on this forum, the present author analyzed the formation of autocephalous churches, the role of the metropolitan and its role within the episcopate, the canonical claims of existing patriarchates regarding primacy within the so-called Diaspora, and the current jurisdictional crisis within North America. As to the idea of a “diaspora,” certain issues need to be more fully developed. Specifically, which autocephalous church has the authority to evangelize within such an area? How is autocephaly to be proclaimed? Are parallel dioceses and/or multiple episcopal seats in one city evidence of schism? And can fidelity to the Gospel trump the claims of an already existing diocese? Parts 1 through 5 are primarily historical whereas the last two sections contain analysis and commentary based on recent events. Read the article on the AOI main page. … [Read more...]

Ancient Faith Radio interviews George Matsoukas, Executive Director of Orthodox Christian Laity

150x150-OCL-EVENT-LOGO-medium

Bobby Maddex interviews George Matsoukas, Executive Director of Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL), about the upcoming OCL conference titled “The Road to Unity: From Vision to Action—Orthodox Christianity in America.” The conference will take place from October 28th to the 31st at the Antiochian Village, and it will be broadcast on Ancient Faith Radio. Listen here: … [Read more...]

Unraveling Chambesy — Administrative Unity In Our Time

Presented by Ancient Faith Radio

Our canons call for there to be one bishop in one place but here in America as well as other countries of the so called “diaspora” immigration and pastoral concerns have served to violate those canons. To address this issue, the leaders and representatives of all of the autocephalous Mother Churches were convened by HIs All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew first in Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) and later in Chambesy, Geneva, Switzerland to commission certain Episcopal Assemblies who will in turn develop regional plans to correct this anomaly. To help you sort through this complicated process, Ancient Faith Radio has produced a 2-part documentary featuring Fr. Mark Arey, General Secretary of SCOBA (The Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America), Charles Ajalat, former chancellor of the Antiochian Archdiocese and long time champion of Administrative Unity, Metropolitan Jonah, primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and Nick Katich, an attorney who … [Read more...]

Orthodox Christian Faithful Meet at Unity Conference

Get info on the OCL Conference here: www.ocl.org/roadtounity Contact: George Matsoukas, Executive Director, Orthodox Christian Laity, 877-585-0245, ocladmin@ocl.org LIGONIER, Penn., Sept. 11 /Christian Newswire/ -- Orthodox Christianity in America stands at the threshold of a new era of renewal. As the ancient faith lays down new and dynamic roots in America, new and indigenous leadership is emerging as the Church engages American culture. Meeting in Ligonier, Pennsylvania on October 20-31, 2009 for "The Road to Unity: From Vision to Action" conference, leaders and participants will develop ideas on how the American Orthodox Church can achieve unity in America. The meeting takes on greater significance as world church leaders challenge the American Orthodox jurisdictions to work together to present a nuts and bolts plan for a unified North American Church. The process toward unity was established at the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference of Orthodox … [Read more...]

Ligonier 1994: ‘A New Era Has Begun’

Watch and listen as American Orthodox metropolitans and bishops make a case for administrative unity -- 15 years ago. The Ligonier Meeting was a gathering of twenty-eight or twenty-nine Orthodox Christian hierarchs in North America, specifically those affiliated with SCOBA, held Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, 1994, at Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pa. In Part 3, Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Methodios says: "There's no question that we all want to be one administratively, and share not only a theological union that we have ... but we want to be united administratively. I like to think it can be done soon. I'm not saying in a month or two or three or a year. But I hope that it doesn't take 50 years to accomplish. It will certainly take some time." Antiochian Metropolitan Philip issues an appeal to the Mother Churches to include the American churches in "overseas" Pan-Orthodox synods. "We pray that the mother churches will realize soon that we are no longer little children and that the … [Read more...]

Met. Jonah — The Necessity of Unity

At the Friday night Sept 4 first session of the Missions and Evangelism conference, OCA Primate Met Jonah makes a strong call for unity preceded in importance only by the preaching of the Gospel. Listen here:   … [Read more...]