July 29, 2014

The Bishops Are Coming To New York, As Complex Diaspora Question Looms

Fr. Mark Arey

Read closely. What are the greatest fears? The autocephaly of the OCA (wild card) and the Ligonier Council (precedent). The times are changing folks. The lumbering bureaucratic structures that have sublimated the nascent creativity and energy of American Orthodoxy under the weight Old World self-interest might be loosing their grip. There is more anxiety here than is being revealed. +++++++++++++++++++++ The National Herald, Friday, May 21, 2010 By Theodore Kalmoukos Nearly 60 hierarchs will descend on New York from May 26-28 for the first Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops from the United States, Canada and Central America, under the chairmanship of Archbishop Demetrios of America, and the stage has been set for some clashes about the direction the church should take, and the role of self-rule of some. The Assembly will convene at the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel, and its expense will be assumed by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, through the Leadership 100 grant to the … [Read more...]

The Sounds of Silence?

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A contributor who asked to remain anonymous sent me this piece earlier. It asks why we have not heard more about the Episcopal Assemblies being held next week. ++++++++++ Around six months ago, SCOBA issued a press release indicating that the first ever Episcopal Assembly for North America would take place during the Pentecostal season of 2010. Much was made of the fact that this would be the first assembly of all canonical Orthodox bishops presently serving in North America. Although this was not in reality the first such gathering of all Orthodox bishops, it was the first that would transpire under the procedures that were settled on last year by the primates of the old world patriarchates as finalized by their representatives in Chambesy, Switzerland in June of 2009. We have found out in the interim that all sixty-five North American bishops received invitations early in the Lenten season. Their travel expenses and room and board were to be covered so that even bishops … [Read more...]

Before the Manhattan Declaration: ‘A Letter from America’s Religious Leaders in Defense of Marriage’

Given the vitriol, smug arrogance, and sectarian sentiment with which some Orthodox Christians have greeted Orthodox Christian participation in the Manhattan Declaration, let us review the 2006 letter below which was signed by Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Herman. In fact -- and this may be upsetting to some readers so brace yourself -- Archbishop Demetrios was bookended on this list by Chuck Colson and James Dobson. Let us also revisit SCOBA's 2003 "Statement on Moral Crisis in Our Nation" which defended traditional marriage. "The Orthodox Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality, firmly grounded in Holy Scripture, 2000 years of church tradition, and canon law, holds that marriage consists in the conjugal union of a man and a woman, and that authentic marriage is blessed by God as a sacrament of the Church," SCOBA said. This statement, in many quarters today, would likely be described as hate speech. Note that the following statement calls for a constitutional … [Read more...]

Orthodox Christian Laity Says Patriarch Bartholomew’s Remarks to SCOBA Boost Orthodox Unity Effort in America

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ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN LAITY Press Release November 3, 2009 For more information contact: George Matsoukas 877-585-0245 Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL) described Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s remarks to the recently-held SCOBA (Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas) meeting held in New York City on October 27, 2009 “as another important step on the road to Orthodox Unity in the United States.” “By reaffirming his support for the unity process which commenced a year ago in Istanbul and subsequently refined this past June in Chambesy, Switzerland, His All Holiness delivered a clear message to America’s Orthodox leadership that he backs the unity effort,” said Bill Souvall, newly-elected President of OCL. Mr. Souvall added that the Patriarch “demonstrated an acute understanding of our situation in the United States,” citing excerpts from his remarks which referred to the evolving status quo of the Church in America. “Patriarch Bartholomew’s … [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...]

SCOBA calls first episcopal assembly for May 2010

Standing Conference of the Orthodox Bishops of America

SCOBA Hierarchs Convene For Special Session New York, NY - A Special Session of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) met on September 25, 2009 from 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., hosted by the Chairman of SCOBA, Archbishop Demetrios of America, at the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in Manhattan. The session was attended by the following Members of SCOBA: Archbishop Demetrios, Chairman (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese), Metropolitan Philip, Vice-Chairman (Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese), Metropolitan Christopher, Secretary (Serbian Orthodox Church), Archbishop Nicolae (Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese), Metropolitan Joseph (Bulgarian Orthodox Church), Metropolitan Jonah (Orthodox Church in America) Archbishop Antony (proxy, Ukrainian Orthodox Church) and Archpriest Alexander Abramov (Representation of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USA). Also present were the General Secretary and members of the SCOBA Study and … [Read more...]

Silent Bishops

In his post "The Teaching Office of the Bishop," Fr. Peter-Michael Preble wonders why Orthodox bishops have said so little about the current health care debate. Recently Dr. Bradley Nassif wrote an article entitled "The Calling of a Bishop is to Preach the Gospel" and this is a good start and a jump off point for this discussion. Dr. Nassif states that "All bishops are to proclaim and interpret the gospel of Christ to the church and to the world." and what is the Gospel? "The gospel is the “good news” that God became human in Jesus Christ, took upon himself our fallen humanity in order to restore it into communion with God, conquer sin and vanquish death. This he did pre-eminently through Christ’s life, death, resurrection and ascension into heaven. This “good news” must be at the very core of every life-giving action in the church – the sacraments and throughout every liturgical season of fasting and prayer." My personal belief is that the Gospel also includes the … [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...]

Memorial Day

Among Your saints give rest, O Christ, to the souls of Your servants, in a place where there is no pain, or sorrow, or grieving, but only life everlasting. Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen. The American Battle Monuments Commission oversees 24 permanent American burial grounds on foreign soil in places like Ardennes, Belgium; Brittany, France; Cambridge, England; Flanders Field, Belgium; Florence, Italy; Manila, Philippines; Meuse-Argonne, France; Normandy, France; North Africa, Tunisia; Sicily-Rome, Italy; and Somme, France. Presently there are 124,909 U.S. war dead interred at these cemeteries, 30,921 of World War I, 93,238 of World War II and 750 of the Mexican War. Additionally 6,177 American veterans and others are interred in the Mexico City and Corozal American Cemeteries. Brief video tours of a number of these cemeteries are posted online. Here is the video tour of the American Cemetery in Henri-Chapelle, … [Read more...]

Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry Announces 2009 Convocation

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OCPM sets the date for its 2009 meeting. The ministry brings "the light of Christ to those who are in prison in North America by providing encouragement, material support, transition and reintegration services, Christian education, spiritual guidance and the sacramental life of the Church to prisoners and their families." Also see the February news in which OCPM named a new Executive Director, Chaplain Patrick Tutella. Fr. Duane Pederson talks about OCPM on Ancient Faith Radio. Listen in: "Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who suffer evil, as though you yourselves were suffering." Hebrews 13:3 Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry Announces 2009 Convocation May 4, 2009 Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM), the official prison ministry of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) announces its 2009 Convocation, which will take place July 28-30 in Denver, Colorado. The purpose of … [Read more...]

E Pluribus Unum: One Church From Many?

The American Orthodox Institute has published a new paper on Orthodox unity by George Michalopulos that examines the historical usage of the title "metropolitan," the role of the metropolitan in Church administration, and the "crucial" pastoral duty defined in the Divine Liturgy as "rightly dividing the Word of [God's] Truth." In "E Pluribus Unum: One Church From Many?" Michalopulos takes it a step further. He offers a "sketch" of how an American Orthodox Church might be structured along traditional lines. In a unified American Orthodox Church, for example, the Archbishop of Washington would be the primate of the American Church and also carry the title of Patriarch. Rather coincidentally, AOI published "E Pluribus Unum: One Church from Many?" just a day after the Very Reverend Archimandrite Dr. Elpidophoros Lambriniadis delivered his speech "Challenges of Orthodoxy in America And the Role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate" at Holy Cross seminary. The Ecumenical Patriarchate sees … [Read more...]

Fr. Hopko: A Spiritual Springtime for American Orthodoxy

Fr. Thomas Hopko, an advisor to AOI, delivered an address in late September for the 40th Anniversary of the Consecration of the Chapel at the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, a monastery for women in Ellwood City, Pa. Fr. Tom observes that while a "sprinkling" of Orthodox Christians in academic circles have been known to the wider American public, "hardly any other practicing Orthodox Christian has been publicly recognizable in American society in the past forty years." Among the clergy, the late Archbishop Iakovos is singled out for social witness in the civil rights movement. "Things are not much different today," Fr. Tom says. "But there are some notable exceptions." He opens with a sobering assessment and then explores the accomplishments of the Church in recent decades: A Spiritual Springtime for American Orthodoxy -- Reflections on the last 40 Years Membership in the Orthodox churches in North America in the past forty years has radically decreased. There … [Read more...]