Source: The National Herald | George Matsoukas, Executive Director of Orthodox Christian Laity
Having looked over the information concerning the recently completed National Assembly of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, which took place in Phoenix, AZ and having talked to some members of my local community in Southeast Florida who attended, I conclude that there were no workshops, discussions, or information presented on the work of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America.
Unity of the Orthodox in America was not on the conference’s agenda. I find this amazing and shocking. The 14 Patriarchs of the worldwide Orthodox Christian groupings, have requested in 2008, that the bishops in the boundaries beyond the mostly homogeneous Orthodox Christian countries become Assemblies of Bishops in their regions. They challenged the bishops in these areas to work in a conciliar way and come up with a blueprint for unity to present to the meeting of 14 Patriarchs for discussion, so that the blueprint could be presented to a Great and Holy Council of worldwide bishops. This meeting would consider the status of the governance of these regions.
Why did the National Assembly of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese not include a session to educate its faithful about what progress the Assembly of Bishops is making in developing this blueprint for the Church in North America? The “Ethnarch” of the Patriarchate of Istanbul is the chairman of this effort. Is he serious about the work of the Assembly or is he merely playing lip service to an idea? Why is the work of the Assembly such a secret? Why not involve the people of God by at least offering them an update at the National Assembly of the GOA?
Archbishop Demetrios recently decreed that that all students at Holy Cross Seminary pass a Greek proficiency test. Whom did he consult on this matter? This seems to run contrary to the work of the Assembly of Bishops, and will keep the Orthodox Church in America fragmented because the GOA wishes to be the exclusive Orthodox grouping.
It is my hope that the agendas of all the other National Assemblies of the Orthodox Christian groupings in America include workshops on the progress of the Assembly of Bishops. It is time that the work and progress of the Assembly is shared with the faithful who provide the financial support for Orthodox Christianity in North America.
We will not pay and obey! We are part of the conciliar process of Church Governance and we will work together with our hierarchy, clergy and laity to overcome the fragmentation of the Church which is too costly to maintain. Why continue having separate National Assemblies, which cost millions of dollars? Why is there not one National Convention Center for Orthodox Christianity in the United States?
It is time to call a National Assembly of all Orthodox Christians together to show that we are serious about building a unified and self-governing Orthodox Christian Church. It is God’s will that the Orthodox Christian Church be united and self-governing and we must all be on board in synergy with the Holy Spirit and with each other to fulfill God’s will to bring good order to His church in the United States and throughout the world.