International Orthodox Christian News


Archaeologists discover ancient Orthodox church



















Archaeologists discover the ruins of the ancient St. George Orthodox church considered to be the oldest church in the world [230 A.D.]

Moscow Patriarchate to write updated Orthodox Catechesis

Moscow, June 28, Interfax – The Bishops' Council considers it important to launch the work on the Russian Church modern catechesis (a book of Christian foundations outlined in brief – IF).

Besides, the decision of the Council, which is held in Moscow these days, found it necessary to hold systematic pastor seminars in the dioceses in order to improve theological knowledge and for priest to share their pastor experience.

The hierarchs also backed up the idea to set up diocesan courses to advance theological knowledge of clerics, monks and nuns and believed it necessary to lead systematic work with pilgrims who come to monasteries and churches to venerate shrines for the purpose of their theological education.


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Moscow, June 28, Interfax - The Bishops' Council proposed to change the principles of arranging inter-Orthodox meetings.

Thus, the Council believes it necessary to insist on representation of autonomous and self-governed Churches of the Moscow Patriarchate (the Ukrainian Church, the Japanese Church, the Latvian Church, the Estonian Church, the Moldavian Church, the Chinese Church, and the Russian Church Abroad) in all such meetings.

The Council, which is being held in Moscow these days, decided that the Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America should also take part in the meetings.

Such initiative was caused by the position of the Constantinople Patriarchate as it believes that inter-Orthodox events can be attended by representatives of the so-called Estonian Apostolic Church generally unrecognized as an autonomous or independent Church.

The Moscow Patriarchate delegation was forced to leave the session of the Mixed Orthodox-Catholic Theological Commission held in Ravenna in October 2007 as representatives of "Estonian Apostolic Church" were among its participants. The Constantinople Patriarchate established this structure in 1996 on the canonical territory of the Russian Church.

A new conflict has been kindled between the Moscow and the Constantinople Patriarchates this June as the latter invited representatives of this uncanonical Estonian structure to participate in work of the Inter-Orthodox commission on Rhodes. Further to this step, the Russian Church delegation had to leave the session.


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The ordinations of the new Metropolites

His Beatitude the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Hieronymus will participate to the ordinations of the new Metropolites on the 27th, 28th and 30th of June 2008. The ordinations of the elected Metropolites will take place as follows:

a. The ordination of his V. Rev. Theofilos, Metropolite of Lefkada and Ithaca, will take place on Friday, June 27 2008, at the Cathedral Church of Athens.

b. The ordination of his V. Rev. Georgios, Metropolite of Thebes and Livadia, will take place on Saturday, June 28 2008, at the Holly Monastery of Osios Loukas, Viotia.

c. The ordination of his V. Rev. Klinikos, Metropolite of Paronaxia, will take place on Monday, June 30 2008, at the Cathedral Church of Athens.

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The 14th plenary of the International Joint Commission on the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and Lutherans was held from 30 May – 7 June 2008 at the St. George Hotel in Paphos, Cyprus, hosted by the Orthodox Church of Cyprus.

The meeting was chaired by the two co-presidents, from the Orthodox side by H.E. Metropolitan Prof. Dr. Gennadios of Sassima, Ecumenical Patriarchate, and from the Lutheran World Federation side by Bishop Dr. Donald J. McCoid, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Orthodox participants were delegates from the following churches: H. E. Metropolitan Prof. Dr. Gennadios of Sassima and Rev. Deacon Theodoros Meimaris (The Ecumenical Patriarchate), H. E. Metropolitan Dr. Makarios of Kenya and Irinoupolis (Patriarchate of Alexandria), Maître Albert Laham (Patriarchate of Antioch), V. Rev. Protopresbyter Prof. Dr. George Dion Dragas (Patriarchate of Jerusalem), V.Rev. Archimandrite Dr. Cyril Hovoroun (Patriarchate of Moscow), V. Rev. Prof. Dr. Viorel Ionita (Patriarchate of Romania), H. E. Metropolitan Dr. Isaias of Tamassos and Oreini (Church of Cyprus), Prof. Dr. Christos Voulgaris (Church of Greece), Rev. Andrzej Minko (Church of Poland), Dr. Nathan Hoppe (Church of Albania), Rev. Prof. Dr. Vaclav Jezek (Church of Czech Lands and Slovakia), V. Rev. Rauno Pietarinen (Church of Finland) and Rev. Sakarias Leppik (Church of Estonia).

The ten Lutheran participants, by appointment of the Council of The Lutheran World Federation, came from LWF member churches in Australia, Finland, Germany, Norway, Romania, South Africa, and the United States.

Contacts between Orthodox theologians from the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Lutheran professors of the University of Tübingen, Germany, began at the time of the 16th century Reformation in Europe. Thus the dialogue has historical precedent. Present official conversations began in 1981 in Espoo, Finland, after three years of preparatory meetings.

The theme currently being studied by the Joint Commission continues and builds on the work of the 13th Joint Commission meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia, in 2006, on The Mystery of the Church: The Holy Eucharist in the Life of the Church. The special focus of this meeting was on the Preparation and the Social and Ecological Dimensions of the Eucharist.

From the Lutheran side papers were presented by Bishop Dr. Donald J. McCoid on “Holy Communion: Preparation and Practice in the Lutheran Tradition” and by Rev. Prof. Antti Raunio on “The Social and Ethical Aspects of the Eucharist.” On the Orthodox side papers were presented by V. Rev. Prof. Dr. George D. Dragas on “Preparation for Participation in the Canonical Celebration of the Divine Eucharist” and Rev. Prof. Dr. Václav Ježek on “Thine Own of Thine Own We Offer to Thee: A Possible Orthodox Eucharistic Ecological Theology.” Rev. Prof. Dr. Viorel Ionita delivered a paper on “The Liturgy after the Liturgy. The Holy Eucharist and the Mission of the Orthodox Church Today.” The papers presented provided theological expositions of Orthodox and Lutheran teaching on the theme, as well as specifications of commonalities and differences between the teachings of the two partners. Following discussion of the papers, the Common Statement was developed.

This Common Statement recognizes that, despite differences which prevent members of the two traditions from sharing together in the Eucharist, both Orthodox and Lutherans “regard the Eucharist as an awesome and most solemn sacrament which is essential to the life of the Church”; they agree also that careful preparation, involving instruction, prayer, confession and forgiveness of sin, is required for participation in the Eucharist. There are, however, also a number of differences, including the sacramental definition of confession and the requirement of fasting, whose significance has not been fully explored. Yet on the social and environmental implications of the Eucharist there has never been division. Both traditions affirm that the Eucharist does not end with its liturgical celebration in church but strengthens Christians to respond to the needs of the world as stewards of God’s grace. Both Orthodox and Lutheran churches recognize a communal character of the Eucharist with far-reaching implications for Christian involvement in human society, both in responding to human need and in addressing injustice and conflict. Moreover, the implications of the Eucharist are not confined to the human community. Recognizing the unprecedented urgency of the environmental crisis, the Commission said, “As partakers of the Eucharist, we are called to rethink our outlooks and practices in fundamental ways, ways that, with respect to the environment, go further than ever before and may extend beyond traditional patterns of Eucharistic thought and practice.”

During the meeting a message with blessings and prayers was received from His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. There was also a special message from the Ecumenical Patriarch on the World Environmental Day on 5 June, which the Commission received in gratitude and integrated into its discussions and Common Statement.

The Commission was informed of the reception process of the Bratislava Statement within the Russian Orthodox Church and within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.

On Sunday, 1 June, the group assisted at the Divine Liturgy in the Church of the Virgin Mary of Pantanassa in Paphos celebrated by H.E. Metropolitan Isaias of Tamassos and Oreini. Afterwards they visited the St. Solomones catacombs and the historic Church of St. Kyriaki, where the column of the Apostle Paul is preserved. In the afternoon, the group visited the Monasteries of St. Neophytos and of the Virgin Mary of Chrysorroiatissa as well as the medieval castle of Paphos.

On Wednesday, 4 June, the Holy Eucharist in the Lutheran tradition was celebrated at St. George’s Chapel, and on Thursday, 5 June, an Orthodox Liturgy on the Feast of the Ascension of Christ was celebrated. On Thursday 5 June, the members received the visit of His Beatitude Chrysostomos II, Archbishop of Cyprus, who addressed the commission and stressed the significance of continuing this important dialogue in truth and love. The Commission also went to Nicosia to visit the Archbishopric of Cyprus and the Bishopric of Tamassos and Oreini. At a dinner in the Bishopric they met with leaders from local Maronite, Armenian, Latin Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran churches, who assured them of their prayerful support for the dialogue. With deep regret the commission learned about the continuing suffering caused by the division of the island since the 1974 occupation and about the “green line” that makes Nicosia the only remaining divided capital in Europe. The commission urges the respective parties to work towards an equitable political solution that will end this costly and painful period of division and promises its prayers for such a resolution. On Friday 6 June commission members were delighted to visit the world famous and historically significant Royal Monastery of Kykkos.

Participants much appreciated the generous hospitality extended by the Orthodox Church of Cyprus and were grateful for the warm welcome extended by all.

The next Preparatory Meeting of the Commission is scheduled to take place in 2009, hosted by the LWF. Another Preparatory Meeting is planned for 2010, and the 15th Joint Commission meeting is scheduled for 2011.

Paphos, June 2008

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Pope Benedict XVI has renewed his call for Christian unity during a meeting at the Vatican with the leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, Patriarch Bartholomew I.The pope says visits with Orthodox leaders provide the chance for "brotherly conversations and moments of common prayer."

The pope has also called for increased joint activities "in our path toward the communion of all Christ's disciples."The Vatican under Benedict has been reaching out to the world's 250 million Orthodox Christians to try to heal the nearly 1,000-year-old schism between the two main branches of Christianity.Bartholomew's visit also includes a ceremony later Saturday with the pope in memory of St. Paul.

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His Holiness Patriarch Alexy confers High Church Awards

On 26 June 2008, His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia conferred church orders on the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church awarded in connection with remarkable dates in their ministry to the Church. His Holiness the Patriarch congratulated them on high church awards.

'Dear archpastors, your have celebrated remarkable jubilees recently. While congratulating you, I informed you of the awards, and now I have an opportunity to confer them on you. I thank you for your zealous ministry to the Church of God and wish you good health and God's help in your archpastoral work so that we can award you many times in future for your ministry,' His Holiness Patriarch Alexy said.

Metropolitan Vladimir of St, Petersburg and Ladoga awarded the Order of St. Alexy, Metropolitan of Moscow, 2nd degree

Metropolitan Iriney of Dnepropetrovsk and Pavlograd – the Order of St. Alexy, Metropolitan of Moscow, 3rd degree

Archbishop Alexy of Tula and Belev – the Order of St. Seraphim of Sarov, 2nd degree

Archbishop Anastasy of Kazan and Tatarstan – the Order of St. Alexy, Metropolitan of Moscow

Archbishop Varfolomey of Rovno and Ostrog – the Order of St. Daniel of Moscow, 2nd degree

Archbishop Tikhon of Novosibirsk and Berdsk – the Order of St. Seraphim of Sarov, 2nd degree

Archbishop Vasily of Zaporozhe and Melitopol – the Order of St. Seraphim of Sarov, 2nd degree

Archbishop Varsonofy of Saransk and Mordovia – the Order of St. Daniel of Moscow, 2nd degree

Archbishop Feodor of Kamenets-Podolsk and Gorodok – the Order of St. Seraphim of Sarov, 2nd degree

Archbishop Ioann of Belgorod and Stary Oskol – the Order of St. Daniel of Moscow, 2nd degree

Archbishop Panteleimon of Maikop and Adygey – the Order of St. Seraphim of Sarov, 2nd degree

Bishop Michael of Geneva and Western Europe – the Order of St. Sergius of Radonezh, 2nd degree

Bishop Iov of Kashira, a vicar of the Moscow diocese – the Order of St. Sergius of Radonezh, 2nd degree

Bishop Amvrosy of Chernigov and Novgorod-Seversky – the Order of St. Daniel of Moscow, 2nd degree

Bishop Sofrony of Mogilev and Mstislavl – the Order of St. Daniel of Moscow, 2nd degree

Bishop Maxim of Barnaul and Altai – the Order of St. Seraphim of Sarov, 2nd degree.

Metropolitan Vladimir of St. Petersburg and Ladoga thanked His Holiness Patriarch Alexy on behalf of the recipients, saying, 'Your are the only Patriarch in the history of our Church sparing no efforts to accomplish so many things and celebrate so many divine service. Thank You very much!'

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http://www.mospat.ru/index.php?page=41620


THESSALONIKI, GREECE [IOCC] -- More than 165 disabled individuals from the Thessaloniki, Macedonia and Epirus regions of northern Greece recently received wheelchairs, including sports wheelchairs for disabled athletes, other mobility devices, and therapeutic equipment.

"For many people and especially children, this was the first time they received a wheelchair, such as one 14-year old boy who has been carried around by his grandfather his whole life," says IOCC Greece Director Despina Katsivelaki.

The equipment, worth more than $200,000, was made possible through a generous gift to IOCC by Peja Stojakovic of the NBA's New Orleans Hornets. The wheelchairs were custom-fit to suit the needs of each recipient by a team of volunteer health care professionals from Wheels for Humanity.

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New Metropolites Elected for the Greek Orthodox Church


The Holly Synod had a meeting today(24/6/2008) under the presidency of His Beatitude, the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Hieronymus. At 6.30 a.m. the Holly Liturgy took place at the side church of Pamegistoi Taxiarhes, the catholicon of the Petraki Monastery. His Beatitude then addressed all the members of the Holly Synod and proceeded to the election of the new Metropolites. Very Rev. Archimandrite Theofilos Manolatos is elected to be the Metropolite of Lefkada with 49 votes. The head of Osios Loukas Monastery, Very Rev. Archimandrite Georgios Matzouranis is elected Metropolite of Thebes and Levadia while Very Rev. Archimandrite Kalinikos Demenopoulos is elected to be Metropolite of Paronaksia with 44 votes.

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The theme of church unity is urgent for all the Orthodox Christians, said Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia in his address to the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, which is taking place in Moscow.

He stated the fact that the current relations between Orthodox Churches left much to be desired and noticed that ‘the unity of Churches is in danger when some politicians, guided by political, nationalistic and other motives, seek as much as to break the unshakeable norms of inter-church regulations’.

Patriarch Alexy reminded the Council that the wounds of the Church’s body inflicted in this way take a very long time and much effort to heal. ‘The Russian Orthodox Church does its best to maintain fraternal relations with all of the Orthodox Churches. And it is ready to solve all the problems in the spirit of Christian love.’

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http://www.mospat.ru/index.php?page=41510


Within the current contemporary cultural environment of our country, the World Philatelic Exhibition EFIRO 2008, at its fourth edition, is an ample landmark which bears a powerful character.

In 2008, this event is enriched by the anniversary of 150 years since, in 1858, in Moldavia were published, just 18 years after the postal stamps appeared, the first Romanian stamps bearing the heraldic representation of an European bison’s head, which have become, through their age, rarity and signification, unanimously considered items of high philatelic value, both within our country and abroad.

With the utmost appreciation We have received news that, within this anniversary context of the World Philatelic Exhibition taking place in Romania’s capital, ROMFILATEIA launches a philatelic batch titled “Monuments Which Belong to the UNESCO World Heritage,” whose first series is dedicated to “Saint Georges” church of the Voronet Monastery, the renowned 1488 place of worship founded by Holy Voivod Stefan the Great.

Also, because this philatelic batch, initiated jointly by Romania and the Russian Federation, is linked as well with the anniversary of 130 of diplomatic relations between the two countries, it seems appropriate to complete the general framework in which this prestigious event takes place through the development of bridges between the past and the present.

We send Our warm congratulations to ROMFILATEIA for the organization of this exhibition of remarkable expressivity and We bless all the people involved in its planning and the participants to this great event in our cultural and diplomatic life.

† Daniel,
Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church

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In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!

Dear in the Lord Brother Archpastors, Reverend Fathers,
Brothers, Sisters and Children!!

In May, 2006, the IV All-Diaspora Council convened in San Francisco. The first point of order in this historic event in our Church was the matter of our relationship with the Church in Russia. The second was the future of our Church in the diaspora with special attention paid to our youth and the problems it faces in contemporary society.

By the limitless mercy of God and thanks to the spiritual guidance and righteous labors of our memorable Primate, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus of blessed memory, the painful division between the two parts of the Russian Orthodox Church was finally overcome with the signing in May, 2007, of the Act of Canonical Communion, and the process of healing began!

This means that the matter of work with youth today takes the forefront in the salvific labors of the Church in today’s world, and demands the most serious attention on our part. This was especially clearly stressed by His Eminence Vladyka at the opening of the XII World Russian People’s Council in Moscow: “Youth is not only our future, but also our present. Young people deserve our special attention by virtue of the fact that they are called upon to open new paths to disseminate the truths of the Gospel. Without the youth, we would not only be deprived of the ability to progress, we would stagnate.” Further, he said: “But if we attract and unite our youth, especially those young people who burn with love for God and the desire to serve the Church and Fatherland, we will be able to accomplish great feats to the benefit of the Church, Orthodoxy and our much-suffering Motherland. The Russian Church Abroad, scattered throughout the world, can especially fulfill this mission, fostering the expansion of Orthodoxy and its great legacy among the peoples, spreading the good news to those ‘which were afar off, and to them that were nigh’ (Ephesians 2:17).”

Following the call of our late First Hierarch, the Council of Bishops this past May decided that the Sunday of All Saints would from now on be designated the Day of Youth of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. This celebration will be aimed at all three basic socio-cultural groups of the youth of our Holy Church: young people born in Russia, those born abroad, and those who turned to Orthodoxy from the local populations where the Russian Church Abroad exists.

And so, dear brother archpastors, reverend fathers, brothers and sisters! I call upon you to active and salvific work with our youth! Our churches have parish schools where children are taught the Law of God, Russian language, Russian history and literature: there are youth groups led by priests and laypersons. There are summer camps and youth conferences. If we continue to follow the example of the old emigres who taught us, who burned with love for the Church, our history and culture, who founded Russia Abroad, if we share this wealth with the children and youth, and live by that which we received from our ancestors, then I am certain that the Lord will help us ignite young hearts with that same love, or at least, we can plant in them the good seed which will bear fruit. We are duty bound to walk among the people, remembering the Apostles, who were “weak, and not weak.” Let us labor to the best of our abilities!

Now a few words to our youth. The Lord said: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). The closest interpretation of this is as follows: I do not demand that you completely abandon all cares in seeking external goods and eschew daily joys. But I desire and request of you one thing: reorganize your priorities. Before you cared more for the temporal, but for the heavenly you cared little or not at all; and I say: place to the forefront all cares and desires for the heavenly, the eternal, and that which is worldly should be in second place. Christ then adds: if you seek the Kingdom of Heaven and His Truth over all things, know that the earthly needs will be granted to you—it will come as a result of a special benevolence to you from God. Our Lord Jesus Christ not only does not forbid happiness and the enjoyment of worldly success, but only under the mandatory condition that we hold these second in importance, ceding the first place to our cares in seeking eternal happiness, seeking perfect Good, Love and Beauty in God and in His Image, Which is reflected in our neighbor. One thing must be kept in mind: do what is needed for earthly life; a part of your time and efforts must be devoted to prayer and works of mercy; do not be prideful in happiness; do not despair in unhappiness; and remember that all—the good and the terrible—comes from God, Who loves us and directs us to blessedness. And God will be with you.

I conclude with the words of St Macarius of Egypt: "God sees neither virgin nor married person, neither monk nor secular; but seeks only earnest and good will. Obtain this good will and salvation is near, whosoever you are and wherever you may live.” Amen.

+Hilarion,
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York
First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad

Sunday of All Saints, 2008

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Patriarch Alexy reporting to the Council

In his report to the Bishops’ Council, which opened on June 24, 2008, at the Church of Christ the Saviour, Patriarch Alexy pointed out that the year 2008 was marked with a symbolical date – the 1020th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia. It is the date, he said, which makes us look back ‘at the one Kievan baptismal font in which the peoples now nourished by the Russian Orthodox Church have received salvation and the gifts of the Holy Spirit’.

The anniversary of the foundation of the Russian Orthodox Church, he stressed, makes the faithful reflect on the ages-long path covered by her and become aware of the spiritual unity of the peoples of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. ‘Our church unity is a great treasure that our ancestors preserved despite the hardships they experienced’, the Patriarch said, adding, ‘by God’s mercy we have inherited the precious gift of unity and this places a special responsibility on us for preserving and handing it over to our descendants’.

His Holiness noted with regret that certain political forces still continued their attempts to destroy the spiritual space of Holy Russia, to bring in strife and distrust in relations between millions of Orthodox Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians, Moldavians and people of other nations who make up the multinational flock of the Russian Orthodox Church.

He described the two decades that had passed since the 1988 Council as ‘a period of finding freedom coupled with tremendous responsibility for the enlightenment of millions’. ‘We have had to satisfy their spiritual thirst and lead those who sought the Truth to the initiation to the Church’, His Holiness stressed.

At the same time he pointed to the ambiguity of developments which occurred in the country in the period under consideration, saying, ‘Among negative developments there is a wide range of social problems including a considerable decline in the living conditions of many people, an inrush of mass pseudo-culture, a weakened public morality, growing social intolerance and tension. All this cannot but disturbs the Russian Orthodox Church, which has incessantly lifted up supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks for all people and for the authorities so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty (1 Tim. 2:1-3).

The four years that have passed since the previous Bishops’ Council, the Patriarch said, have shown that the problems, which were discussed at that Council, have been solved in this or that measure. At the same time, new challenges have emerged to pose new tasks for the Church.

Among the characteristic features of today, which need the Church’s special attention, the Patriarch believes, is the secularization of society. The secular way of thinking as well aggressive and intolerant atheism have not become weaker for the past years but rather stronger and more active in their attempts to prevent Orthodoxy from carrying out its salvific mission to lead people to the knowledge of the Gospel’s Truth.

His Holiness also called upon the Council members to discuss the urgent problems of church life in a spirit of openness, honesty, brotherly love and desire of unanimity. ‘Conciliarity, which is the seeking of one another’s counsel, is the best way for avoiding conflicts, divisions, bewilderment’, he said, adding, ‘Receiving the patriarchal insignia eighteen years ago, I spoke about the importance of governing church life while developing conciliarity. I would like to remind you of those words at a time when they become especially important’.

The period between the Councils, according to Patriarch Alexy, has shown that the dynamic of church grown has remained the same. ‘At the same time, it should be mentioned that the rate of quantitative changes has taken the lead over that of qualitative changes. Today our most important task is to build up church life spiritually, to build up human hearts and minds. It is in this direction that we should adjust and develop our work’, His Holiness said.

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http://www.mospat.ru/index.php?page=41487

BALTIMORE, MD [IOCC] -- Large sections of the U.S. farm belt are under water after a week of torrential rains. The worst flooding to hit the Midwest in 15 years has claimed two dozen lives and forced more than 40,000 to evacuate their homes.

This season’s corn and soybean crops are in danger, and Iowa’s agricultural losses alone are estimated to exceed $2 billion. Other states of the upper Midwest including Illinois and Indiana have also been affected.

International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is mobilizing its network of first responder Orthodox clergy to travel to Iowa to conduct a needs assessment and provide trauma counseling. Help us speed relief to the U.S.’s devastated communities by making a donation today. Call IOCC's donation hotline toll-free at 1-877-803-4622, make a gift on-line at www.iocc.org, or mail a check or money order payable to “IOCC” and write "US Emergency Response" in the memo line to: IOCC, P.O. Box 630225, Baltimore, Md. 21263-0225.

IOCC, founded in 1992 as the official humanitarian aid agency of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), has implemented over $275 million in relief and development programs in 33 countries around the world.

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The Bishops' Council opened in Moscow

Moscow, June 23, Interfax - The Bishop's Council of the Moscow Patriarchate has been opened on Tuesday in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and continue its work until Sunday, June 29. Ruling hierarchs from all Russian regions, CIS countries and foreign dioceses, as well as vicarial bishops in charge of Synodal Organizations and TheologicalAcademies, arrived to Moscow to attend the Bishops' Council. For the first time ever, the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad headed by Metropolitan Hilarion, Eastern America and New York Diocese will participate in the Bishops' Council.

The opening ceremony of the Bishops' Council was preceded by the Divine Liturgy conducted in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Three plenary sessions are planned for the first day. Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia addressed the audience with a report.

The Council is expected to focus on the issues of the Church unity. One of the major items on the Council's agenda shall be challenges of the church schism and canonical church in Ukraine. The Bishops' Council coincides with the celebration of 1020th Anniversary of the Baptism of Russia which will officially open during its work on June 28, Sunday.

The Council participants will also approve a document stipulating the position of the Russian Orthodox Church regarding human rights, the Regulation on Church Court, and address the question of church celebration of Shanghai Holy Hierarch John (Maximovich), former Supreme Pontiff of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad beatified by the Church in 1994.

The participants may also address some moral and ethical issues, in particular, will express their negative attitude to the so-called homosexual marriages. Patriarch Alexy II stated his intend to raise any issues at the Council "for the church unity benefit" and noted that the Russian Church was open to discuss any social matters. The Bishop's Council, the upper church administrative body, is called no less than once in four years. The last Bishops' Council was held in 2004.


Source:

http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=dujour&div=172

CELIBATE PRIESTS ORDAINED IN ANTELIAS



The Catholicosate of Cilicia gladly welcomed the ordination of Deacon Kortmossian as a celibate priest by the approval of His Holiness Aram I. Having finished the Catholicosate’s Seminary in Antelias, Father Kortmossian became yet another dedicated member of the Catholicosate of Cilicia.

Along with Father Kortmossian a group of deacons graduated from the Seminary’s preparatory program for priesthood and will, in the coming few months, be ordained as parish priests by the Primates of various Cilician Dioceses.

The Seminary’s Dean, Bishop Shahe Panossian, officiated the ordainment and delivered the sermon in the Saint Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral on June 22. The assistant priest was Father Magar Ashkarian.

The confession of faith was held in the afternoon of June 21 in the Cathedral. The candidate publicly pledged allegiance to our Church’s doctrine, rituals, traditions and the teachings of our forefathers, renouncing all old and new heresies and those who preach against the teachings of the Church. He then recited his oath of becoming a servant of the Catholicosate of Cilicia.

His Holiness Aram I presided over the Holy Mass held in Antelias on Sunday, during which Father Kortmossian parted from the material world and embraced the challenging yet rewarding role entrusted to him. Bishop Panossian anointed the Father’s forehead, his right and left hands with the Holy Muron, bestowing upon him a new name as a new servant of God. Renamed as Father Varant, the newly ordained priest gave his first blessings to the faithful gathered in the Church.

In his Sermon, the Bishop underlined the notion of relying on God’s guidance and encouraged the newly ordained priest to have faith in God’s way and to be truly committed to serving the Armenian Church and nation. Bishop Shahe congratulated His Holiness Aram I and the Cilician Brotherhood and emphasized the important mission of the Catholicosate of Cilicia.

Addressing the new priest Bishop Shahe said: “Through the Armenian Church and the Catholicosate of Cilicia today you embark upon a career of serving God and our nation with a high sense of responsibility and utmost dedication. Let God guide your steps so you may uphold your calling and the Cilician Brotherhood’s good standing. May you, through your life and work, put to practice your inherent capabilities and the graces that were bestowed upon you through ordination. Through your dedication the Catholicosate of Cilicia remains at the forefront of its mission to serve our nation so that the Holy Bible may further enlighten the spirit of our people.”

The Cilician Brotherhood members then congratulated Father Varant Kortmossian for his joining the Cilician Brotherhood. The newly ordained priest was then subjected to his first washing by his Godfather, Sarkis Kilaghbian. The Cowl (Veghar) was blessed before The Lord’s Prayer and placed on Father Kortmossian’s head.

The new Priest then knelt down in front of His Holiness Aram I in the Veharan and received the Pontiff’s blessings. His Holiness encouraged Father Kortmossian to value his calling as a Cilician Brotherhood member and the new life he is about to enter. Father Varant will spend the next 40 days in the Saint Asdvadzadzine Monastery in Bikfaya fasting and praying in preparation for his mission.


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Moscow, June 24, Interfax - Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia has noted the development of a dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, but he has also drawn attention to a series of problems, such as what he called the proselytism of the Roman Catholic Church in Russia and the CIS.

"Today we can see that there is a positive dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church on a range of pressing issues, especially such issues as the protection of traditional Christian values, the role of religion in social life, the problem of morals and the attitude toward the institution of family," Alexy II told the assembly of Orthodox bishops in Moscow on Tuesday.

Relations between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Catholic Church nonetheless "retain problems requiring a real solution, including the 'issue of missionary activity on the part of Catholics on traditionally Orthodox turf in Russia and other countries,'" he said.

"We would like also to see the long-awaited progress on the issue of the attitude of Greek Catholics to Orthodox believers in the regions of Western Ukraine where the Uniat Church is predominant. Unfortunately, we have not seen positive developments on this issue, and representatives of the canonic Orthodox Church in most cases continue to suffer oppression on the part of Greek Catholics," he said.

Speaking about contacts with the Protestant churches in foreign countries, the patriarch said that the Russian Orthodox Church has retained "stable and good relations" with its "long-time partners" - the Evangelical Church of Germany and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, with which the Russian Orthodox Church had a fruitful dialogue in 2005 and 2008.

Source:

http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=4838

Moscow, June 23, Interfax - The Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Kirill believes, that the Uniates' activity in Ukraine and the mission of certain Catholics among the Orthodox citizens in Russia and CIS still stands a barrier to the dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and Vatican, Interfax-Religion
reports.

"There is a series of unresolved problems in our relations [with Vatican]. First of all, they include the unsettled conflict between Orthodox and Greek Catholics in Western Ukraine, and unjustified expansion of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church mission into traditionally Orthodox regions," Metropolitan said in his interview to the official site of the Bishops' Council.

According to Metropolitan Kirill, another "uneasy issue" of these relations is "the missionary activity of certain members of the Roman Catholic Church among Orthodox citizens of Russia

"The joint Orthodox Catholic Working Group operates in Russia to decide such matters since 2004. We hope that its work bears fruit," said Metropolitan Kirill.

He also mentioned that the dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church "has strong inherent reserves for joint defending traditional Christian moral values, correct arrangement of social and family relations and protecting human rights."

Metropolitan Kirill stressed that "our standpoints on these matters are almost identical."

As regards the relations of the Moscow Patriarchate with Protestant communities, Metropolitan Kirill said that they "are more complex due to different circumstances", as many protestants these years "tend to extremely liberalize many aspects of their lives," giving public blessings to same-sex "marriages" and laying hands on homosexuals.

"Unfortunately, such tendency continues to spread onto many new protestant communities in the West. In a bid to successfully resist this attempt at total liberalization, we need to unite efforts of Orthodox and protestants who keep faith to Evangelist traditions, both in religion and in life," said Metropolitan Kirill. and CIS countries."

Source:

http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=4826

Dialog between Theology and Philosophy at the Romanian Patriarchate



The symposium 'Dialog between Theology and Philosophy,' at its second edition, has debuted yesterday in the Conventus Hall of the Patriarchate Palace. Organized by the Romanian Patriarchate, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Religions, the University of Bucharest and the Al. I. Cuza University of Iasi, the symposium debuted with an address by His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, who reminded a few guidelines needed in making use of philosophy in the theological process: 'When a theologian makes use of philosophy, he must keep in mind a few things about wisdom. The point of interference between theology and philosophy is wisdom, understood as intelligence which protects and promotes human life in harmony. The difference between intelligence and wisdom is that intelligence, when it is serving life and harmony, it becomes wisdom,' the Patriarch said.

During the opening session, Florin Frunza, who presented the message of the State Secretariat for Religions, and presidential counselor Bogdan Tătaru Cazaban have also spoken.

Professors of philosophy and theology from Bucharest and Iasi have presented, during the first working session of the symposium, papers on Romanian philosophers who discussed religion in their writings.

The themes addressed in the first day of the event have also highlighted the preoccupations for the relationship between reason and faith, as well as the issue of knowledge in the vision of some Romanian thinkers, such as Mircea Vulcanescu, Nae Ionescu, Lucian Blaga and others.

The symposium will conclude today, and participants will subsequently be divided into debate groups, whose purpose is to find paths of dialog between theology and philosophy. Their work will be followed by the presentations of the conclusions they reached, and by a press release.

SOURCE:

Today Georgian Orthodox Church marks the day of Saint Andrew the First-Called - the holy, glorious and all-laudable Apostle Andrew the First-Called was the first of the apostles of Jesus Christ and the brother of the Apostle Peter. Saint Andrew was the first to preach Christianity in Georgia. The Georgian Patriarchate elucidates that Saint Andrew is considered as ‘a messenger of Mother of God to Georgia and a founder of Georgia’s Church.’ Georgia’s Orthodox Church is mentioned in ancient historic sources with the name of St. Andrew Church.

Georgian Orthodox Church marks the day of Saint Andrew the First-Called twice a year - on 12 May and on 13 December. Georgian Catholicos Patriarch Ilia II conducted a mass in the Saint Trinity Cathedral today.

Source:

http://www.geotimes.ge/index.php?m=home&newsid=10692


Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II will hold a holy service dedicated to the celebration of the Day of the Arrival of Saint Nino to Georgia has been held the Monastery of St. George at Bodbe [which is nowadays nunnery and is one of the major pilgrimage sites in Georgia].

As it is known, relics of the Saint Nino, the 4th-century female evangelist of Georgians, are shrined there.

According to data, in the fourth century, Saint Nino stepped on Georgian land and preached Christianity to Georgian people and in several years King Mirian declared Christianity as the state religion. Since then Georgian nationality has always been related with Orthodox Christianity. (Broadcasting COmpany "Rusatvi 2")

Source:

http://www.medianews.ge/Society/2860.html




On Sunday, June 15, on the day of Holy Trinity His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine performed Divine Liturgy and Vesper service in the square in front of the Cathedral of Holy Dormition of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. Concelebrating with him were Superior of the monastery Archbishop Pavlo of Vyshgorod, Rector of the Kyiv Theological Academy and Seminary Bishop Anthony of Boryspil, Secretary to the Primate of the UOC Bishop Alexander of Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyi, brethren of the monastery and teachers of the theological schools in the holy orders.

Praying at the festive service were president of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko, Head of the National Security and Defense Council Raisa Bogatyriova, speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Arseniy Yatseniuk, and a number of people's deputies, among them Victor Yanukovych, Mykola Azarov, Vasyl Gorbal and Anna Herman.

In his archpastoral sermon His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr told the believers of the feast of the Pentecost.

"Before his ascension to heavens Christ commanded his disciples to return to Jerusalem and stay there until they get a power from God," said the Primate, "Thus, Jesus promised that they receive the Holy Spirit of whom he spoke throughout his life.

This prophecy came true in the apostles on the fiftieth day after Pascha, i.e. on the tenth day after Ascension of Christ. In this connection the Church praises and honours the Holy Trinity. Thus, the Pentecost is a feast of the Holy Trinity and a start of the blissful ministry of the Church."
At the Liturgy the Primate ordained priest an assistant to vice-rector of the KTA&S for pedagogical work hierodeacon Oleksiy (Koval).

At the end of the Divine service Metropolitan performed a traditional blessing of the green branches and greeted the faithful on the feast of the Holy Trinity, thereafter the President of Ukraine turned to those present.

"The Holy Pentecost is a birthday of the Church of Christ, a word of Truth the apostles were talking about" noted the head of the state, "The Holy spirit descended onto them, giving each nation the most prominent sign of God's grace - their personal language.

Our ancient land is an inexhaustible spiritual source of the Christ's faith, where the love to God, motherland, language and tradition of the Ukrainian nation take their origin."

Then His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr together with Victor Yushchenko and their escort visited an exhibition dedicated to 900th anniversary of the gate church of the Holy Trinity of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, which is open on daily basis for the worshippers of history of the church in the Cathedral of the Holy Dormition.

At the end the state authorities visited the church of the feast.

One of the peculiarities of the divine service of that day was reading the kneeling prayers composed by the Holy Hierarch Basil the Great in the IV century.

There is a tradition to decorate the churches and the premises with grass, flowers and branches on the feast of the Trinity. This is the way the Old Testament Church celebrated the Pentecost. The New Testament Church also kept this tradition, giving it a new significance: now the fresh greens symbolize not only bringing to God the first rudiments of spring but the Church of Christ itself symbolizing renovation of people with the Holy Spirit.


On the eve of the feast, June 14, the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church presided over the Vigils ion the Refectory Church of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.

Source:
http://orthodox.org.ua/eng/node/229#


On Saturday, June 14, 1His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr received at his residence in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra a delegation of leading oncology physicians from Georgia. Taking part in the meeting also were Chairman of Synodal Department of Charity and Social Ministry of the UOC archdeacon Sergiy Kosovskyi, and representatives of the Ministry of Health Protection of Ukraine.

During the conversation the issues of embodiment of the joint projects of the Department of Charity and Social Ministry, the Ministry of Health Protection and non-governmental organizations, engaged in spiritual patronage in the course of palliative treatment of those in need. It concerns those people which the medicine is unable to help any more. In the essence, the given project is a step towards the joint activity of the Church and state in the social sphere.

The Archpastor also greeted the guests on the Day of the Medical worker celebrated on June, 15 and wished God's help in their business, noting that "the Lord trusted you the most responsible affair- helping people in need".

As a souvenir of the meeting His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr blessed the guests with the icons of the Holy Trinity and presented the photo albums "Metropolitan Volodymyr: Ukrainian Orthodox Church... it's my whole life there".

Upon completion of the meeting the guests were suggested an excursion in the Caves of Lavra where they could pray at the reliquary with incorruptible relics of St. Agapit of Caves.
This visit of the Georgian health professionals to Ukraine was a return visit, after the visit of the joint delegation of the UOC and the Ministry of Health Protection of Ukraine, which met with His Beatitude Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II and the Minister of Health Protection of the country.

Source:
http://orthodox.org.ua/eng/node/230

Archbishop Augustine in his article "On Unity of the Chuch", published on the site of the Council of Bishops of the ROC, reflects on the causes of emerging of the church dissents and on the ways of their overcoming.

Commenting on the church canonical situation in Ukraine the hierarch points out that several aspects of the problem of preserving the church unity are to be considered: the canonical, dogmatic and moral ones.

"Today, as far as the church schism existing in our country is concerned, it is not unusual to hear from some people the appeals to refuse from certain church canons, which are declared to be outdated and to have sense only under particular circumstances, relevant to the historical past", - Vladyka Augustine noted. "As a rule, these declarations belong to representatives of quasi-church intellectuals or para-church political leaders taken with the ideas of national consciousness and the "state Church" and defend the initiators of both schisms.

Being unaware of the nature of the Church as a theanthropic organism, they put forward demands of immediate elimination of existing separations between the believers," Archbishop Augustine emphasizes. They argue that the modern life is different and the old canons has turned from instruments of order into the mechanism of breaking, which obstruct the development of the living spirit in the Church and making necessary transformations in it.

They suggest that one of the main conditions for the church development is overcoming schisms in a newly found manner in defiance the "old-fashioned" canonical ways. The reunion initiators "do not suggest reunification with the canonical Church through penance, but in any other way in order to evade the feat of moral choice", the hierarch notes. "The approach of the radical consolidators mentioned causes logically consequent indignation of the people who are well aware of the church tradition and are reverently concerned of its preservation. And this is understandable since the attempt against the canonical Law of the Church is unacceptable in terms of the evangelic morals."

As an example of a truly church solution of a similar problem archbishop Augustine mentioned the reunification of the Russian Church Abroad with the Moscow Patriarchate. He noted that "those modern influential politicians and representatives of the authorities, who consider their mission to be the support of the church reunification processes in Ukraine, are to learn by this example".

"The Russian Church Abroad was in dissent with the Moscow Patriarchate", emphasized Vladyka Augustine, "as a result of the Russian revolution of 1917, and it developed in its own way for many years, but by the beginning of the 21st century it realized that only the unity in love is the basic principle of being of the orthodox Church of Christ, which contains all plenitude of grace. The internal presupposition for the reunification of the two branches of the Russian Church became due and it took place willingly, naturally and without pressure from any party."

Today, states Vladyka Augustine, the initiators of the so-called "reunification of the two branches of the Orthodoxy", staying out of the fold of the canonical Orthodox Church, argue that this reunification is required by the interests of the state and the nation, and above all - this reunification is imposed by the necessity of freedom. "Of course it is not the freedom that is achieved by the comprehension of Truth, as the Apostle said, but by the freedom that headed the prodigal son to the distant land", he reminded the sense of the gospel parable.

In conclusion of his article the hierarch underlines that the return to the fold of the Holy Orthodox Church of the leaders and adherents of the so-called "Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church" and the "Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate" will be possible when the hostility is overcome and the Christian love is restored".

Source:
http://orthodox.org.ua/eng/node/228

Moscow, June 19, Interfax - Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia considers church blessing of homosexual unions unacceptable though it becomes wide spread among Protestant communities in the West.

"Blessing of the marriage urges God to bless childbearing and giving birth," Alexy II said at his meeting with general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance Neville Callam in St. Daniel's monastery in Moscow.

"We have every reason to think that the majority of Baptists share our concerns for today's state of Christian communities in the world and together we can oppose these destructive tendencies," the patriarch said.

The Baptist World Alliance's general secretary believes "militant secularism has become the highest and the strongest challenge" Christians face today.

"We, Baptists, also oppose this cancer of secularization and we seek to spread the good news of Jesus Christ like you do," Callam said. He hopes that friendly relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian Baptists will develop and it will let both parties "denounce the monster of secularism."

The patriarch reminded that the resolution of the last joint seminar of the Moscow Patriarchate and Russian Baptists held in 2006 "expressed deep concerns with alarming tendencies in some Protestant communities which revise Biblical norms of morality and ordain women." The resolution further stated "the necessity to reach harmonic unity between human rights and moral values."

The Russian Orthodox Church suspended contacts with the Lutheran Church of Sweden as it "not only blessed homosexual "marriages," but even worked out the text for blessing them in the church," Alexy II noted.

The Moscow Patriarchate had to suspend relations with the Episcopal Church of the USA as its leaders ordained an open homosexual.

Source:
http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=4810


THE FEAST OF PENTECOST IN CAIRO

On 14th June 2008,His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, presided at Great vespers at the Holy Patriarchal Church of St Nicholas in Cairo . His beatitude was assisted by the Patriarchal Vicar in Cairo , His Grace Nikodimos of Nitria.

On the Sunday of Pentecost, His Beatitude officiated at the Divine Liturgy and preached the homily at the same church again assisted by His Grace Nikodimos.

During this Eucharistic Synaxis which was attended by representatives of the Greek Embassy in Cairo,the Consulate of Greece and the Hellenic Community of Cairo,His Beatitude awarded the rank of Great Ecclesiarch to Archimandrite Isidore Salakos,Parish Priest of the Holy Church of the Theotokos in Heliopolis, Cairo, and ordained as a reader Mr John Gianniotakis, from the Patriarchal School of Athanasios the Great n Alexandria.

On 16th June 2008, the Feast of the Holy Spirit, His Beatitude attended the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Monastery of St George in Old Cairo, after which he departed for Alexandria .

Source:


Moscow, June 18, Interfax - The Constantinople Church's actions in church politics is one of the main challenges to Orthodox unity, the Moscow Patriarchate believes.

"One of the main threats is Constantinople's aggressive policy as it may lead to the schism of Orthodox world," Russian Orthodox Church Representative to European International Organizations Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria said in an interview published on Wednesday by the NG-Religii paper.

He points out that the Constantinople Patriarchate has recently "intensified its efforts to secure their primate's role as "the Eastern Pope," the supreme arbiter and head of the entire Orthodox diaspora."

"Main opponent of Constantinople and the only Church capable to contest its claims for hegemony in Orthodox world is the Russian Church. For this reason, Constantinople seeks to weaken, divide and deplete it in all fields," the bishop said.

Source:

http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=4808

Moscow, June 19, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad severely criticized the Constantinople Patriarchate.

"It seems to me that here (in relations with the Moscow Patriarchate - IF) Constantinople leads a kind of fight that is unhealthy and contradicts the spirit of Orthodoxy. They discredit Orthodoxy before non-Orthodox world. No one profits from it. They do it for their own reasons," Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany said in his interview published by the NG-Religii paper.

He believes that a Pan-Orthodox Congress should have discussed Constantinople's juridical claims.

"We have to clear out if Constantinople has any special rights in the Church, what are the bases for its claims to govern over the entire Orthodox diaspora and play the role of "the Eastern Pope" in Orthodox world," the foreign hierarch said.

He also called it "an outrage upon justice" that Constantinople decided to welcome under its jurisdiction former head of the Sourozh Diocese of the Moscow Patriarchate in Great Britain

Commenting on actions of certain Constantinople representatives who back up Ukrainian schismatics, Archbishop Mark said that "even if one doesn't understand anything in church politics, it's easy to come to the conclusion: a race for power is underway."

The archbishop stated that the Church Abroad, both in Western Europe and America, lived in peace with Constantinople and expressed hope that this tendency would be preserved. Bishop Basil (Osborne).

Source:

http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=4809

SCOBA Hierarchs convene for Spring 2008 Session

New York, NY [SCOBA] -- The Spring Session of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) met on June 12, 2008 from 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the Headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. This session was attended by all Hierarchs of SCOBA: Archbishop Demetrios, Chairman (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese), Metropolitan Philip, Vice-Chairman (Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese), Metropolitan Christopher, Secretary (Serbian Orthodox Church), Metropolitan Nicholas (Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese), Metropolitan Herman (Orthodox Church in America), Metropolitan Joseph (Bulgarian Orthodox Church), Archbishop Nicolae (Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese), Archbishop Antony (proxy, Ukrainian Orthodox Church) and Bishop Ilia (Albanian Orthodox Diocese). In attendance as well were Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese), Metropolitan Methodios of Boston (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese), and Bishop Antoun of Miami (Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese). Also present were the General Secretary and thirteen members of the SCOBA Study and Planning Commission representing all the SCOBA member Churches.

The Hierarchs held a fraternal and open discussion related to SCOBA Agencies, dealing with communications, education and mission. The formal request of the Vicar of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, who is also the Administrator of the Moscow Patriarchal parishes in the USA (33 in number), Bishop Mercurius of Zaraisk to be included on SCOBA was presented by the Chairman, Archbishop Demetrios. He noted that the Moscow Patriarchate, through its Exarchate, had been one of the original signers of the SCOBA Constitution. After the Archbishop's presentation of the matter, there was immediate unanimous agreement, in a spirit of fraternal welcome, by all SCOBA Hierarchs to welcome the Representation of the Moscow Patriarchate in the United States, in the person of Bishop Mercurius, to full membership in SCOBA.

In addition, both Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Philip shared with the other SCOBA Hierarchs the positive results of their individual meetings with Metropolitan Hilarion, the newly enthroned (May 18, 2008) First Hierarch of the Russi an Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR).

The Co-Chair of the Orthodox-Roman Catholic Theological Consultation, Metropolitan Maximos, gave a presentation on the status of the various Inter-Christian Dialogues. The meeting closed with an open and fraternal discussion of ecclesiastical issues that need attention.

Source:

http://www.oca.org/News.asp?ID=1566&SID=19




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