Prokopis Grant Supports Orthodox/Catholic Dialogue

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

         Press Release
             December 20, 2005


            PROKOPIS GRANT SUPPORTS ORTHODOX/CATHOLIC DIALOGUE


      The Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have each received $15,000.00 grants from the Prokopis Charitable Foundation to underwrite for 2006 the official dialogue between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches in the U.S.

      Twice each year, twelve Orthodox theologians and twelve Roman Catholic theologians gather for the North American Orthodox/Catholic Theological Consultation that was initiated in 1965 by SCOBA and the USCCB.  Having become aware of the papers and statements issued over the years by this oldest ongoing official dialogue between the two Churches, Mr. and Mrs. Emmanuel Prokopis decided to encourage this effort and to underwrite the costs of the Consultation for a second year.  A similar grant covered all the costs of the Consultation in 2005.

      "I am genuinely interested in the success of these efforts," Mr. Prokopis stated,  "and offer this gift to the efforts of our Churches to rediscover the unity that existed during the first millennium.  These efforts are of importance to me personally, as well as to all Christians worldwide."

      The religious philanthropy of the Prokopis Charitable Foundation is guided by the following principles:  preserving the Word of the Lord; the health, morale and welfare of parish priests; education; and embracing mixed marriages.

      In expressing thanks on behalf of Archbishop Demetrios, Chairman, and the SCOBA hierarchs, Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos, General Secretary of SCOBA, said "It is truly encouraging to know that the significant work done by our theologians over the past forty years is beginning to bear fruit. Seeking to implement our Lord's prayer 'that all may be one,' our hierarchs and theologians, both lay and ordained, embarked on this long difficult journey four decades ago.  Please know that your generous support of the serious academic and theological work being accomplished by the members of the Consultation, is received with deep gratitude."

      For his part, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, the out-going Chairman of the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the USCCB, thanked Mr. and Mrs. Prokopis for the grant, and said that "I leave my post with prayers that the Holy Spirit will increase the unity of all Christians, and with gratitude for the great generosity you have shown to support our endeavors."  

      Statements produced by the North American Orthodox/Catholic Theological Consultation can be found on the SCOBA website at www.scoba.us, under the heading News and Events, then Resources and Texts.

      For further information CONTACT:  SCOBA General Secretariat, Tel: 212-570-3593.