On the Orthodox Christian Network, Fr. Mark Arey, the General Secretary of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), discusses the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference that met in Chambésy, Switzerland, in June, in an interview with Fr. Chris Metropulos.
“If we’re serious, really serious about Orthodox unity, well my friends, we have to do the hard work and put it together,” says Fr. Arey. “You can’t just snap your fingers and everybody says each bishop can have his own title and then we’re done.”
Fr. Arey talks about SCOBA’s future, in light of the move toward a new episcopal assembly, and how that would affect current governance of American Orthodoxy.
“It’s easy to talk about Orthodox unity when you don’t have to actually do it,” Fr. Arey says.
From the Chambesy announcement on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Web site:
Acting as formal representatives of the Autocephalous Churches, the members of the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Conference in Chambésy affirmed “that is the common will of all of the most holy Orthodox Churches that the problem of the Orthodox Diaspora be resolved as quickly as possible, and that it be organized in accordance with Orthodox ecclesiology, and the canonical tradition and practice of the Orthodox Church.” The Conference decided to establish an “Episcopal Assembly” in specific regions which are beyond the boundaries of the Autocephalous Churches. The Conference initially identified twelve regions throughout the world. The Episcopal Assembly will include all the canonical Orthodox bishops in a given region such as North America. The representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch (in this case, Archbishop Demetrios of America) will chair the Episcopal Assembly in each region. The Assembly will meet yearly and will have an Executive Committee which will meet every three months. Other committees, composed of clergy and laity, will be established to address particular concerns.