Orthodox Christian Laity Forums

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Will the Assembly of Bishops Lay a Foundation for Unity? Why is our Geographic Church in America Subject to Patriarchates Abroad Whose Actions Appear to be Obstructing Unity?

The Apostle Paul preaching in Athens

Mandate The Assembly has been established in accordance with the Decision of the 4th Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference, convoked in Chambésy, Switzerland, June 6-12, 2009, at which met representatives from all the universally-recognized autocephalous Orthodox churches. These representatives recognized substantial canonical "anomalies" in the organization and life of the Church in these regions, and realized that, though these anomalies had arisen from specific historical circumstances and … [Read more...]

Measuring the Assembly of Bishops’ Progress on Unity

The Apostle Paul preaching in Athens

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America sets out the vision of the goal of its work, when it states: "...the Assembly is a transitional body. If it achieves its goal, it will make itself obsolete by developing a proposal for the canonical organization of the Church in North and Central America. This proposal will in turn be presented to the forthcoming Great and Holy Council, which will consist of all canonical Orthodox bishops throughout the world. Should this … [Read more...]

Ethno-Phyletism: A Problem for the American Church

The Apostle Paul preaching in Athens

The article "The 1872 Council of Constantinople and Phyletism" by Rev. Fr. Stephane Bigham provides helpful background to the Council of 1872. Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Archdiocese has often raised this issue in the past, asking "Why is a heresy in 1872 no longer a heresy today?" I think we would find with a careful study that the Council of 1872 was not very successful in putting down the heresy, and that there were many instances of ethno-phyletism being tolerated on a smaller … [Read more...]

Pan-Orthodox Ministries / Grassroots Unity

The Apostle Paul preaching in Athens

I am interested in what pan-Orthodox ministries there are out there. I know of very few TRULY pan-Orthodox ministries—those ministries that are incorporated as a pan-Orthodox entity or, at least, have a board that is truly pan-Orthodox. Most ministries that we might consider to be pan-Orthodox (at least on the local level) are really more (what I would call) "cooperative ministries." They are spearheaded by a particular parish with some help from the surrounding parishes. While this … [Read more...]

Western Rite Orthodoxy’s Contribution to Unity

The Apostle Paul preaching in Athens

As you know there is a growth in Western Rite Orthodox in this country. As they are not ethnically oriented as are many of the Eastern parishes, and use English exclusively in their services, they are able to reach out to non-Orthodox, non-Ethnic Protestants and non-churched individuals to offer them another avenue into Orthodoxy. My question is this: How can Western Rite Orthodox contribute to the Pan-Orthodox unity and catholicity of the Orthodox Church here in America? Fr Anthony, … [Read more...]

The Role of the Laity in the American Church

The Apostle Paul preaching in Athens

God works with and through people. As the body of Christ, the members of the Church (clergy and laity) are called to work together in synergy with the head who is Jesus Christ and with each other. The Orthodox Church is based on a conciliar form of governance. In the current atmosphere of working toward jurisdictional unity in North America and other regions of the world, what is the role of the laity? … [Read more...]

Funding Unity

The Apostle Paul preaching in Athens

How do we undertake and develop a plan to finance a unified Orthodox Archdiocese in the United States from the fragmented-jurisdictional Archdioceses that exist? What does the transitional stage of finances look like? Will the fragmented Archdioceses merge legally? How will the unified archdiocese be funded? This concept and questions need the input of the People of God who are the stewards of the Church. We need to provide input to assist the committees formulating regional … [Read more...]