Chairman's Closing Remarks at AoB XII
Wednesday, February 01, 2023
My Beloved Brothers and Concelebrants in the Holy Spirit,
We have spent the last few days in prayer, in dialogue, and in fellowship – both within the Holy Altar and in casual settings.
I hope that our time together has brought us closer and knit us more securely in our relationships as Hierarchs and as human beings. When you think of the hundreds of thousands of Orthodox Christians who dwell in our land, and are struggling every day to live the life in Christ, we few, who hold the sacred office of Bishop, have an enormous responsibility to them to hold the faith together and constitute the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church in America.
The greatest risk that the Church has always faced is not persecution from without, but fragmentation from within. And in our modern, technologically-driven age, where anyone can become an influence on others via Social Media, we have an uphill battle to take command of the narrative about the Church and about the Faith.
I hope that we are leaving here with a greater sense of our mission to be leaders to our people, especially to those who have only recently joined the Church, and who often see the Church through filters that do not reflect the glory and purpose of our Holy Orthodox Church.
We all are well aware of the diminishing numbers of religious practitioners in the United States; Orthodoxy is not immune to this trend.
Unless we are willing to stand shoulder to shoulder, and to bear witness to the unity of the Church, we have to ask the question: Why would the people follow us? And my concern is not about numbers. It is about souls.
This Assembly can have an out-sized impact on the Faithful from coast to coast, but we have to make that happen.
By committing to our mission. By respecting our differences. And by uniting around the essentials of our Dogma and Doctrine.
Thank you all for making the effort to gather once again, and may the Lord continue to bless us to magnify His Holy Name here in America, and to share with our Nation the inestimable treasure that is His Holy Orthodox Church.