74 Members of Congress Urge State Department to Prioritize Release of Kidnapped Archbishops in Syria
Seventy-four Members of Congress, led by Representatives Brad Sherman (D-CA), Gus M. Bilirakis (R-FL), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Trent Franks (R-AZ), and Mike Pompeo (R-KS), urged the State Department to prioritize the release of two kidnapped Archbishops in a letter to Secretary Kerry today.
We greet you in the surpassing joy of the Risen Christ. By the grace of God, we are blessed to observe the Sixth Sunday of Pascha, which this year falls on June 9, as Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday. We embrace the diakonia of prison ministry in keeping with the example of our Risen Lord Jesus Christ, the Great Physician of our souls, who did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance; who ate in the houses of thieves and forgave the sins of harlots; and who said that, when we visit those in prison, we are in truth visiting Him, the Lord of Glory.
We express to you our archpastoral joy in the proclamation of the Lord’s bright Resurrection. On behalf of the hierarchs of our Assembly of Bishops, we greet the numerous flocks of the Church in North America, whose lips announce this joy in countless tongues all across this land. Christ is risen!
We, the Members of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, kindly bring to your attention the urgent and very serious plight of the Greek Orthodox and Syriac Orthodox Archbishops of Aleppo, Paul Yazigi and Yohanna Ibrahim, who were abducted this past week by 'a terrorist group' in the village of Kfar Dael as they were carrying out humanitarian work.
On Monday, April 22, the Antiochian Archdiocese announced the following troubling news of the kidnapping of two Syrian bishops.
The Bylaws of the Assembly of Bishops are now posted on the website. These Bylaws were drafted over the course of 2012 with the help of a number of Orthodox attorneys who are a part of the Assembly’s Legal Affairs Committee, to whom the Assembly is deeply appreciative. They were finalized and approved by consensus at the last Assembly meeting in September 2012. They are now being made available to the public. The Bylaws, together with the Rules of Operation approved by The Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference held in Chambésy on June 13, 2009, govern the work of the Assembly. Also published with them is the Financial Report of the Assembly for the last fiscal year.
On the Third Lord’s Day of the Great Fast, the mid-point of our Paschal pilgrimage known as the Sunday of the Adoration of the Precious Cross, we bless and greet the Christ-loving and Reverend Clergy, Venerable Monastics, and Devout Faithful of the Holy Orthodox Churches in North and Central America, praying that we all may “be enabled to fight the good fight, to complete the course of the Fast, to preserve inviolate the Faith, to crush underfoot the heads of invisible serpents, to be accounted victors over sin, and, uncondemned, to attain unto and worship the Holy Resurrection.”
New relationships and unity among Orthodox Christian youth workers are the result of diligent efforts by the Committee for Youth, one of the very active committees of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America.
Scholarships for the 2013-2014 academic year are now available for graduating high school students and for college students pursuing a non-theological graduate degree. These scholarships are administered by the Chancellor’s Office of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and are open to students from any Orthodox church affiliated with the Assembly of Bishops.
The Assembly of Bishops convened a meeting to share ideas and discuss collaboration between the Assembly’s communications team and the internet staff of member jurisdictions. The meeting was held on the campus of St Vladimir’s Seminary in Crestwood, NY on March 6 and brought together representatives from the Assembly’s Secretariat, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, the Orthodox Church in America, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese. All of the Assembly’s member jurisdictions were invited to attend.
His Eminence, Metropolitan Neofit of Ruse, was elected Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Bulgaria at a meeting of the Holy Synod on Sunday, February 24, 2013. He succeeds His Holiness, the late Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria, who fell asleep in the Lord in November 2012. The enthronement was held at St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia.
The Assembly of Bishops Research Coordinator, Alexei Krindatch, has prepared a range of reports on Orthodox Christianity in America. Along with the following research summaries, the full reports are available in PDF format.
The Secretariat welcomes Chrysanthe Loizos, the newly-appointed Communications Officer for the Assembly, to its ranks. Also joining the Secretariat is the Archimandrite Irenei (Steenberg), a monk and priest of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROCOR).
The Assembly of Bishops has released minutes from its most recent meeting (Assembly III), held in Chicago from September 10-12, 2012. Though the final minutes will not be approved until the next meeting of the Assembly, scheduled for the Fall of 2013, the Assembly presents these as summary minutes.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, January 22 and 23, the Secretariat of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America convened for its annual face-to-face meeting. This year's meeting was hosted by His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America (ROCOR) at his Holy Virgin Cathedral - Joy of All Who Sorrow in San Francisco, CA.
Forty years ago the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision, known as Roe v. Wade, granting a “right” for women of the United States to terminate the lives of their children in the womb. This decision has resulted in some 54 million children’s lives ending almost before they began. The Holy Orthodox Christian Faith is unabashedly pro-life.
The latest interview as part of our series of "Conversations with our Bishops" is now available for you to hear online or download. Bishop Alexander of the Orthodox Church in America offers his reflections on the Assembly.
The Assembly of Bishops is saddened to bring to the attention of the faithful of North America the repose of two archpastors of the Church.
Recovering the theological significance of Sunday is fundamental to rebalancing our lives. As Orthodox and Catholics, we share a theological view of Sunday and so our purpose in this statement is four-fold: to offer a caring response to what is not just a human, but also a theological question; to add a little more volume to the growing chorus of Christian voices trying to be heard in the din of our non-stop worklife; to offer brief reflections in hopes of drawing attention to the fuller expositions elsewhere; and to reinforce the ecumenical consensus by speaking as Orthodox and Catholics with one voice.
The latest interview as part of our series of "Conversations with our Bishops" is now available for you to hear online or download. Bishop Ioan Casian of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of the Americas offers his reflections on the Assembly.