We glorify the name of the Triune God for gathering us at this first Episcopal Assembly of this region in New York City on May 26-28, 2010 in response to the decisions of the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference held at the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy, Switzerland, from June 6-12, 2009, at the invitation of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
My opening remarks this morning are taken from the Vespers of Palm Sunday, "Today the Grace of the Holy Spirit has gathered us together." How wonderful and pleasing to God for all of us to meet and discuss matters related to the life of our Church on this particular continent. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chairman of SCOBA for his hard work to make this gathering possible. The literature which we received from Chambésy via the Greek Archdiocese of America, raises some important questions.
I sincerely greet all of you as the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church, and would like to convey to you the warmest of well-wishes from His Holiness Kyrill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. The opening of the Episcopal Assembly of North and Central America coincided with the beginning of my service as Administrator of the Patriarchal parishes in the United States of America. I am glad that, not long after my arrival in this country, I am bearing witness to this inspirational moment of Pan-Orthodox unity and mutual understanding. I hope that our current gathering will lay the foundation for further development of efforts to consolidate Orthodoxy on the American continent.
We have gathered here these days bathed in the Light and Grace of the All-Holy Spirit to discuss the future of our Holy Orthodox Church in North America. Whether this comes to be seen as an historic meeting will depend on us, and what we decide. And while we may have been convened in a new way, that fact is that the project of organizing the Church on this continent is not new. As we continue our deliberations it would be helpful to pause and reflect on all of the efforts over the last century that have enabled us to come to this moment.
A highlight of the morning session was the Address of His Eminence, Archbishop Nicolae of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas, in which he offered a comprehensive account of the five-decade legacy of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas.
My opening remarks this morning are taken from the Vespers of Palm Sunday, "Today the Grace of the Holy Spirit has gathered us together." How wonderful and pleasing to God for all of us to meet and discuss matters related to the life of our Church on this particular continent.
Archbishop Demetrios Convenes First Episcopal Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs in North and Central America
The first Episcopal Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs in North and Central America was convened today by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America at the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel in New York City.
I sincerely greet all of you as the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church, and would like to convey to you the warmest of well-wishes from His Holiness Kyrill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
At the October meeting of the Heads of the Autocephalous Churches, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew called upon them to "activate the 1993 agreement of the Inter-Orthodox Consultation of the Holy and Great Council in order to resolve the pending matter of the Orthodox Diaspora." This agreement provided a plan to establish an Episcopal Assembly with appropriate authority for the bishops to guide the entire Church in each of the regions of the so-called Orthodox Diaspora. The texts that are linked below are the official English Translations and official Greek texts issued by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Communiqué, the Decision, and the Regulations
As we behold the event of Pentecost, we observe that the multiplicity of languages used by the Holy Apostle in proclaiming the single Gospel is not a cause of confusion or conflict, but a reason for thanksgiving and celebration. The one Gospel does not obliterate linguistic, ethnic, or cultural differences and particularities. The Gospel is clearly a call to unity, but as our history of 2000 years demonstrates, it does not cause an eclipse of the diversity within the Church. And this speaks directly to our case.