Address of Archbishop Justinian at the 2011 Assembly of Bishops
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Address by Archbishop Justinian
25 May 2011
Your Eminence, Your Grace, beloved in the Lord, brethren in Christ, Christ is risen!
I am greeting you with the words of this Paschal message because our meeting is taking place in the days when our Holy Church is still celebrating and glorifying the resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ the Savior. As the co-vice chairman of the Episcopal Assembly of the North and Central America, I am representing the Russian Orthodox Church, and I''d like to convey to you wholehearted greetings and good wishes on behalf of his holiness, Patriarch of Moscow and of all Russia, Kirill.
I am glad to welcome the fruitful work of the Assembly for the time elapsed since its first plenary meeting in May 2010. First of all, I would like to admit that we came to deep understanding among the leadership, and I can attest to the spirit of brotherly love among us from the experience of my meetings and maintaining mutual contact with the Chairman of the Assembly, Archbishop Demetrios and Co?Vice Chairman, Metropolitan Philip. In turn, this cannot but have a positive impact on the interaction of the coworkers and assistants. In fact, I have to note the excellent work of the Secretariat of the Assembly, headed by Bishop Basil. The work of the committees of the Assembly that began lately inspires great expectations for success. I can give the example of the Committee for Regional Planning, of which I am a member, and I can see how important and topical are the issues debated. Of course, on each of them we can have different opinions, which do not necessarily coincide. But the fact of living, informal discussion of these issues to achieve an agreement and resolve any existing problems is a stride in the practical realization of our unity.
And many challenges facing us, I think it is extremely important to consolidate our efforts to achieve genuine - not just in word but in deed ? Orthodox unity. For us who are surrounded by a non-Orthodox majority, certain visible signs of Orthodox unity are also extremely necessary. These can be joint inter-church worship and a wide range of activities. I am convinced that these issues should be carefully worked out by the members of the Assembly.
Of course, before speaking of the implementation of unity, we have to become better acquainted with each other. At last year?s meeting of the Assembly we spoke of the paradoxical situation in our region when we give spiritual guidance to the flock belonging to our jurisdiction, but often do not know anything about the life of our counterparts from other local Orthodox churches. Therefore, I would consider it essential to continue, and indeed, accelerate the work on the complete database of canonical Orthodox structures in North and Central America.
In view of the critical challenges that we face, I wish all of us God''s wisdom, help and protection in our labors for the benefit of His holy Church.
Archbishop of Naro-Fominsk,
Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA