Open Forum of Clergy and Laity at the Annual Meeting of the Assembly of Bishops in September

ClergyLaityDallasFlyerEditor’s Note: First Open Forum of Clergy and Laity at the Assembly of Bishops

September 15, 2014 is the first meeting of Bishops, Clergy and Laity in an Open Forum related to developing a blueprint for a unified Orthodox Church in the USA.  The “Clergy-Laity gathering” will take place following a doxology at Holy Trinity Church, Dallas,Texas.   The bishops will welcome questions and answers from those gathered to exchange ideas.  The Very Reverend Archimandrite Dr. Nathanael Symeonides, Director of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical & Interfaith Relations for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of  America, will moderate the Forum.  His email is: frnathanael@goarch.orgFather Christopher Constantinides is the local organizer of the event.  His phone number is 972-991-1166.  His email is:  Bishop Basil, Chairman of the Secretariat of the Assembly, will be part of the program.  You may also email your questions to OCL at

Source: Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America

The Assembly of Bishops will hold its fifth annual meeting September 16-18, 2014 at the Grand Hyatt Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. This year’s agenda includes a session on evangelism and outreach with
presentations by the Assembly’s Agencies (see the list of agencies here). Canonical regional planning and a national youth rally are other key topics of discussion. The full agenda can be found here on the Assembly’s website.

The hierarchs of the Assembly request the prayers of all clergy, monastics, and laity for a spiritually fruitful meeting.

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America is a body of all active, canonical Orthodox bishops in the USA. There are currently 52 bishops in the Assembly, representing the following archdioceses and dioceses in the US: Albanian, American Carpatho-Russian, Antiochian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Greek, Orthodox Church in America, Romanian, Russian, Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Serbian, and Ukrainian. The Assembly was established to address the pastoral needs of Orthodox faithful, present a common and unified witness of the Orthodox Faith, and manifest the unity of Orthodoxy.


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  1. Ellie Malavis says:

    Question submitted to the Assembly of Bishops:

    How do we grow Orthodoxy in America without secularizing it?
    We all know that what doesn’t grow, dies. Most people have little knowledge of Orthodox Christianity, the oldest and truest Church in the world, yet everyone knows something about Catholicism. So, perhaps consideration should be given to how Orthodoxy is branded, or perhaps, rebranded. The various ethnic identities are diluting the strength and focus of “Orthodoxy” which in itself says it all – true and correct. Unfortunately, most people can’t tell you much about the Orthodox church and there’s even more confusion about the jurisdictional distinctiveness. I’m stunned when some people ask me if Orthodoxy is a Christian faith or if we believe in Jesus Christ.

    From an outsider’s perspective, the ethnic component identifies us more than the spiritual one, i.e. “the church that hosts the Greek Festival.” Many of the guests I bring to a liturgy comment on how they would never fit in because of the strong ethnicity. Yet, Orthodoxy transcends all cultures. What is so pure about the faith that so many people would embrace, instead, becomes nested in cultural preservation.

    Perhaps the answer is to focus on branding the essence of Orthodox Christianity worldwide, being one church rather than geographic extensions of the respective Mother Churches, with the liturgy spoken in the vernacular, as Catholicism has done worldwide. To simply peel back cultural layers to unveil the essence – Christianity in its purest form – Orthodox Christianity. What could be more American than John 8:32? “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” To quote Father Alexander Schmemann, “It is only by being fully Orthodox that American Orthodoxy becomes fully American.”

    Father Alexander said it best:

    “. . . At present almost all organized efforts of the Church are split between the attempt to keep the “American Orthodox” as Russian or as Greek as possible and the attempt to make the “Russian” or “Greek Orthodox” as American as possible. In the last analysis both attempts are wrong because both deal not with the ‘content’ but the ‘form’ of Christian life and both, in fact, leave the door wide open for secularism to become precisely the content of life. Ultimately a ‘value’ is to be accepted or rejected, lived by or fought, not because it is American or ‘foreign’-Greek, Russian, etc., but because it is either true or wrong.”

    “. . . It is at this point that one must forcefully state that Christianity deals not with ‘cultures’, ‘societies’, and ‘ages’, and even not with ‘people’—but it is based on a concept which precisely is not reducible to history and sociology.”

    Father Alexander Schmemann