The Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch (Gavrilovic) reposed in the Lord in the Military Covid Hospital “Karaburma” in Belgrade, on Friday, November 20, 2020, at 7:07 AM.
All other details regarding the funeral of His Holiness the Patriarch will be announced soon. Eternal memory and the Kingdom of Heaven!
His pious parents Zdravko and MilijanaGavrilovic from the village of Vidova near Cacak – and with them the entire Serbian family – were blessed the by the Lord, on August 27, 1930, with the birth of a male child whose baptismal name was Miroslav. He finished elementary school in his native village and high school in Cacak and the Theological School in Prizren, Kosovo and Metohia. Thereupon he graduated from the Faculty of Theology in Belgrade.
After completing his military service, he was appointed professor of the Prizren Theological School, but before accepting the appointment he received monastic tonsure in the monastery of Rakovica, n. Rakovica, by the Serbian Patriarch German, receiving the monastic name Irinej, inOctober 1959. On the Holy and Great Friday of the same year, he was ordained a hieromonk in the church of Ruzica, Belgrade. As professor at the Prizren Theological School, he spent some years at postgraduate studies in Athens. He was appointed principal of the Monastic School in the Ostrog monastery in 1969, from where he returned to Prizren to the position of Principal of that famous Theological School.
It was in 1974 that he was elected Vicar Bishop of the Serbian Patriarch with the title of Bishop of Moravica. He was elected Bishop of Nis in 1975.
Our father among the saints Tikhon of Moscow, Enlightener of North America, was Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. While in America, he established his cathedral in New York City, and presided over a vast archdiocese, encouraging and authorizing many publications in the English language. Among these, he encouraged the translation of the Eastern liturgy into English by Isabel Florence Hapgood, and he wrote an extensive catechism based on the Nicene Creed and the Our Father.
Given on the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, during Great Lent in 1907, St. Tikhon of Moscow’s Last Sermon during His Years of Ministry (1898 to 1907) as the Archbishop of the American Missionary Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church. This translation is of the text as it appears in the Russian-American Messenger.1
by St. Tikhon of Moscow
This Sunday is called “The Sunday of Orthodoxy” or “The Triumph of Orthodoxy,” since on this day the Holy Church solemnly commemorates her victory over Iconoclasm and other heresies. And this triumph of Orthodoxy took place not just a thousand years ago. No – for due to the mercy of God, the Church up to this day, now here and now there, gains victory and is triumphant over her enemies – and she has many of them.
It is not a coincidence that the Church is likened to a ship, sailing amidst a ferocious, stormy sea that is ready to drown it in its waves. And the further the ship sails, the harder the waves slam against it, the fiercer they attack it! But the harder the waves hit the ship, the further they are thrown away and rejoin the abyss and disappear in it, and the ship continues its triumphant sailing as before. For
“the foundation of God standeth sure” (2 Tim. 2.19),2
since the Church of Christ is built on an immovable rock, and
“the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16.18).
The Church of Christ is the kingdom not of this world. It does not possess any of the attractions of the earthly world. It is persecuted and slandered. Yet it not only avoids perishing in the world but grows and defeats the world! This happens everywhere, and here in our land as well.
“We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4.20).
It is true that our Church here cannot boast of the quantity of its members, neither of their erudition. Just like the
“preaching of Christ crucified” (1 Cor. 1.23),
for some, it seems lowly and contemptible, and for others, it seems simple and foolish, but in reality
“God’s power and wisdom” (1 Cor. 1.24)
are concealed in it. It is strong and rich with the authenticity of the doctrine which has been preserved unaltered, with full adherence to the guiding regulations of the Church,3 a deep sense of liturgical service, and a plenitude of grace. And with all of this, it is gradually attracting the hearts of people, and it is growing and getting stronger more and more in this country.
You brethren have witnessed and seen for yourselves the growth and strengthening of Orthodoxy here. Just a mere twelve to fifteen years ago, we, aside from faraway Alaska, barely had any churches here. There were no priests, and the Orthodox people numbered only in a few dozens and maybe a few hundreds.4 And even they lived dispersed, far from one another.
“The Orthodox are seen this day in this country.”5
Our temples appear not only in big cities but in obscure places as well. We have a multitude of clergy, and tens of thousands of faithful – and not only those who have been Orthodox for a while, but those who have converted from among the Uniates. Schools are opened, the brotherhoods are established. Even strangers acknowledge the success of Orthodoxy here. So how can we ourselves not celebrate “The Triumph of Orthodoxy,” and not thank the Lord who helps His Church!
But it is not enough, brethren, only to celebrate “The Triumph of Orthodoxy.” It is necessary for us personally to promote and contribute to this triumph. And for this we must reverently preserve the Orthodox Faith, standing firm in it in spite of the fact that we live in a non-Orthodox country, and not pleading as an excuse for our apostasy that “it is not the old land here but America, a free country, and therefore it is impossible to follow everything that the Church requires.” As if the word of Christ is only suitable for the old land and not for the entire world! As if the Church of Christ is not “catholic”!6 As if the Orthodox Faith did not “establish the universe”!7
Furthermore, while faithfully preserving the Orthodox Faith, everyone must also take care to spread it among the non-Orthodox. Christ the Savior said that having lit the candle, men do not put it under a bushel but on a candlestick so that it gives light to all (Matt. 5.15). The light of the Orthodox Faith has not been lit to shine only for a small circle of people. No, the Orthodox Church is catholic;8 she remembers the commandment of her Founder,
“Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature and teach all nations” (Mark 16.15; Matt. 28.19).
We must share our spiritual richness, truth, light, and joy with others who do not have these blessings. And this duty does not only lay upon the pastors and the missionaries but on the lay persons as well, since the Church of Christ, according to the wise comparison of the Holy Apostle Paul, is the body, and every member takes part in the life of the body. By means of all sorts of mutually binding bonds which are formed and strengthened through the action of every member according to his capacity, the great Church body receives an increase unto the edifying of itself (cf. Eph. 4.16).
In the first centuries, it was not only the pastors who were tortured, but laypersons as well – men, women, and even children. And it was laypeople likewise who enlightened the heathen and fought heresies. And now, in the same way, the spreading of the Faith should be a matter that is personal, heartfelt, and dear to each one of us. Every member of the Church must take an active part in it – some by personal podvig9 spreading the Good News, some by material donations and service to “the needs of the holy persons,” and some by profuse prayer to the Lord that He
“keep His Church firm and multiply it”
– and concerning those unaware of Christ, that He would “proclaim the word of truth to them, open to them the Gospel of Truth, and join them to the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.”10 I have told this numerous times to my flock. And today, upon my departing from this land, I once more command all of you to preserve and act upon this, and especially you brethren of this holy temple.
You witnessed yourself last Sunday that
“The foreknowledge of God drew you closer to the bishop’s cathedra, and that the awareness of this closeness elevates your Christian spirit and edifies the nature of your undertakings, inspiring you for everything good.”11
Your temple is a Cathedral. It is preeminent in the diocese. And being its parishioners, you brethren must give others an example in everything good that concerns the life of the Church, including caring for the Orthodox Faith.
Furthermore, your parish is Russian, almost entirely consisting of people who came from Russia. And to this very day, Russia has been famous as a holy Christian land, whose adornment is the Orthodox Faith, the piousness of her people, and her temples of God. So brethren, uphold here in a foreign land the glory of your motherland. Manifest yourselves before the non-Orthodox as the Russian Orthodox people.
I can say with comfort that in these days, with your zealous attendance at our temple, you’ve made a good impression on the local residents. And you have especially gladdened my heart and expelled the sadness and grief which was felt not only by me in other places at the sight of empty temples during the feast day Church services.
May the Lord strengthen you to excel in the Orthodox Faith more and more – my last prayer is about this . . . Today I depart from you. And so, farewell, fathers and brethren of this holy temple, who are close to me not only in spirit but in our joint prayers, labors, and residence! Farewell to you, the rest of my flock scattered across the wide horizon of this land! Farewell, all those of you wandering in the deserts, working in the mountains and in the depths of the earth, and those on the islands far out in the sea!
Farewell to you, my Cathedral temple! You are dear and close to me. It has been during the time of my service that you were opened, you were adorned during my time as well, and you were made a cathedral during my time.
Perhaps for some who have seen the large, magnificent temples in Russia, you might seem small and modest, and you do not shine with gold and silver and precious gemstones like those temples do. But for Russian Orthodox people, who suffered here for a long time without a temple, you represent a precious treasure, and they rejoice that they have you – like the Jews who returned from the Babylonian captivity rejoiced at the time of the construction of the second temple, even though it was not as splendid as that of Solomon.
“Oh Lord, the God of Israel! May Thine eyes be open toward this house night and day, that Thou mayest hearken unto the prayer of Thy people when they shall pray in this place! . . . Moreover, concerning a stranger that is not of Thy people, when he shall come and pray in this house, hear Thou him from Heaven, Thy dwelling place!” (3 Kingdoms 8.26-27, 39-41).12
Farewell to you, this country! For some you are the motherland, the place of birth; for others you gave shelter, work, and well-being. Some received the freedom to profess the right Faith in your liberal land. God spoke in ancient times through the prophet, \
“And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall you have peace” (Jer. 29.7; Hebrew text).
And so, let us pray to the Lord that He send this country
“a plenitude of the earthly fruits, fair weather, timely rain and wind, and preserve it from the cowardly, flood, fire, sword, invasion of foreigners, and civil strife.”
Let God’s blessing be upon this country, this city, and this temple. And let
“the blessing of the Lord, with grace and love for man,”
rest upon you all,
“now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.”13
Printed in Amerikanski Pravoslavni Vestnik [The American Orthodox Messenger; popularly known as the Russian-American Messenger], 1907, no. 6, pp. 96-98.
Words in parentheses are given that way in the text; words in square brackets are our editorial additions.
In the Russian, literally, “purity of the rules”
St. Tikhon is exaggerating a bit here. In 1892 there must have been at least one priest at the Russian Cathedral in San Francisco, the parish in Chicago had had a priest for some years before St. John Kochurov arrived as the new priest there in 1895, and St. Alexis Toth and his Uniate parish of 361 Ruthenian immigrants were received into Holy Orthodoxy in the Spring of 1891 by Bp. Vladimir of the Russian Cathedral in San Francisco.
Quotation marks are in the original; source unknown.
Probably quoting from the Nicene Creed: “One holy, catholic, apostolic Church.”
Quoting from the service for the Sunday of Orthodoxy.
St. Tikhon is clearly taking the word “catholic” here to mean “universal” or “worldwide.”
Podvig is a rich, distinctive Russian word roughly meaning “ascetic, spiritual struggle.”
Quotation marks in the original; wording taken from various liturgical prayers.
Quotation marks in the original; source unknown.
This is the source in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, designated as the LXX. In the Hebrew text, the source is 1 Kings 8:28-29, 41-43.
Quotation marks in the original; phrases taken from various liturgical prayers of the Church.
Orthodox Christian Laity Celebrates and Congratulates Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit, Senior Hierarch of the Orthodox Church in America, Model of Servant Leadership and Visionary Advocate of Orthodox Christian Unity in the USA, as he celebrates his 40-year Anniversary as a Bishop, November 15, 2020.
We lead off this tribute to His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel with his address to the Orthodox Christian Laity 14th Annual Meeting, October 20, 2001, in Oakbrook, Illinois, one year after he joined the OCL Advisory Board. His talk is entitled: A Possible Scenario: “The Celebration of the First Anniversary of the Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of the United States.” Please read and reflect upon this visionary account. This inspirational and visionary talk has motivated the OCL board, members, and friends all these years. His vision keeps us moving ahead to promote a unified Orthodox Christian Church. Look what we could accomplish! We would be fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission to make disciples of all nations (Mt. 28:19).
Now you know why we consider His Eminence a national treasure and respect his guidance. It should be noted that in 20 years, he has missed only four meetings. We know him very well as our spiritual guide. Board members, members, and staff persons are inspired by his patience, support, guidance and love. He has served with us in good times and bad times. He has always prayed with us, so that we could stay true to our purpose.
His Eminence is a leading spokesperson on Orthodox Christian Unity in the United States. His work with OCL, within the Assembly of Bishops, his many writings on the topic, his work within Church Committees and support of Inter-Orthodox institutions are examples of his commitment to Unity. He truly is an eloquent and knowledgeable spokesperson for this movement.
We also know about his work, many long years, as the head of the Romanian Episcopate. His work is put together for all of us to read, ponder and to emulate. The book compiling his writings is“The Servant for All,” Archbishop Nathaniel Popp; Thirty Years of Leadership 1980-2010. It was presented to him on the 30th Anniversary of his ordination to the Episcopacy. During his tenure as ruling hierarch, the church has grown, is well organized and governed, and the message of Christ feeds those seeking spiritual renewal. He is especially sensitive to the needs of youth and young adults. His support of Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) and Project Mexico is exemplary. His work is made possible with the love, prayers, talent and resources of the clergy and laity and Auxiliary Bishop Andrei.
But the great beneficiary of the application of the gifts that God has provided to His Eminence is his work with the Holy Synod of the OCA. He is the Church elder. He has guided the OCA through turbulent times with an even keel. He has provided wisdom to his brother bishops. He has helped maintain the autocephaly of the OCA during his tenure as Locum Tenens. He continues to serve on the Holy Synod as its senior member.
May God continue to grant His Eminence many years to teach the Word of His Truth. He is truly Worthy!
SYOSSET, NY [OCA] The Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, Archpriest Alexander Rentel, made the following statement today, Friday, October 30, 2020:
In recent weeks, the members of the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America have been sent numerous reports that clergy and faithful have received emails purportedly from His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon asking for money, gift cards, or for further contact. These spoofing emails are completely false, perhaps malicious, and should be reported as such to internet providers or email applications, and deleted without further action. No one should respond to these emails under any circumstances.
Each of us should remain vigilant with regard to internet security: do not click on links in emails sent from unknown senders. Do not respond to odd or irregular requests to send money, gifts, gift cards, to known or unknown senders. Examine emails carefully, and, in case of doubt, contact the purported sender via other means in order to authenticate the request. Never respond directly to such emails, but report them, and then delete them immediately.
In Cyprus, the Orthodox Church of Cyprus released on October 29 a photocopy of the four-page letter from Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew relating to the commemoration of the OCU primate, Metropolitan Epifany, by the Archbishop. https://churchofcyprus.org.cy/65925 For those of you who are Greek-speakers, the entire text of the letter can be easily read. For those of us who are not, computer translation tools sadly do not work on the photocopy. Although I have searched, I have not yet found the text on the Internet in a form that can be translated by a translation tool. Brief summaries of the letter in English are found at https://orthodoxtimes.com/letter-from-the-archbishop-of-cyprus-to-the-ecumenical-patriarch-how-i-made-the-decision-to-commemorate-metropolitan-epifaniy/ and https://orthochristian.com/134963.html. The four metropolitans of the Church of Cyprus, who wrote a strong statement attacking the commemoration of Epifany by Chrysostomos, have continued to voice their strong disapproval. There is some indication that a fifth hierarch, Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou, believes that Metropolitan Onufry is the sole primate of the Ukrainian church. https://orthochristian.com/134988.html Even so, the five still represent a minority of the 18-member Synod of the Church of Cyprus.
After the commemoration of Epifany by Chrysostomos, the Moscow Patriarchate released a letter, dated July 26, 2018, from Chysostomos to Patriarch Kirill on the occasion of the 1030th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus. https://mospat.ru/en/2020/10/28/news187525/ (English) The July 2018 letter includes the statement: “And for this reason the Church of Cyprus will never deviate from her position, which we have set forth for you on many occasions, that is to say, we will use all our resources to support the position of the Russian Orthodox Church on the issue of the so-called autocephaly in Ukraine. She believed this position to be fair and wholly justified. In it are your spiritual roots and you cannot be torn away from them.” It should be noted, however, that this letter was sent several months before the Ecumenical Patriarchate first indicated that it would be granting autocephaly to the church in Ukraine.
In Serbia, Metropolitan Porfirije ofZagreb and Ljubljana (Serbian Patriarchate) has given an interview to the major Serbian newspaper Politikaconcerning the discharge of full professor Rodoljub Kubat from the Orthodox Theological Faculty of the University of Belgrade. http://www.politika.rs/scc/clanak/465256/Pokusavaju-da-eliminisu-Bogoslovski-fakultet-iz-akademske-zajednice The title of the interview is: “They are trying to eliminate the Faculty of Theology from the academic community.” The Metropolitan, who is himself a graduate of the Faculty, stated that the decision of the Holy Synod “was preceded by long-term anti-church and anti-faculty activities of Dr. Kubat, which irreversibly damaged the most important institutions and reputation of the Serbian Orthodox Church through social networks, printed and electronic media, as well as in other direct and indirect ways.” The Metropolitan explained that the Teaching-Scientific Council of the Faculty almost unanimously asked the Holy Synod to review Dr. Kubat’s competencies for possessing a work permit at the Faculty. The Synod subsequently revoked the license of Dr. Kubat to teach at the Faculty. According to the statute of the Faculty, such a license is required for teaching. The Metropolitan maintains that this license requirement “is completely in accordance with relevant regulations such as the Labor Law, the Law on Higher Education, and the Statute of the University, as well as the Statute and Rules of Procedure of the Orthodox Theological Faculty.” He believes that there are individuals who see the Kubat case as an opportunity to eliminate the Faculty from the academic community as was done during the communist era. He asserts that some university teachers and official are using the matter to divert attention from their own problems at the University. Approximately 200 teachers at the University have now signed an open letter to the rector the University supporting Kubat and providing arguments why his dismissal was improper. https://pescanik.net/otvoreno-pismo-rektorki-ub/ (actual petition); https://www.danas.rs/drustvo/na-slucaju-kubat-se-prelama-buducnost-beogradskog-univerziteta/ (article discussing the matter) Kubat has stated that excluding the Faculty from the University would be bad for everyone. https://www.slobodnavojvodina.rs/slobodna-vojvodina/kubat-ako-mi-daju-otkaz-bogoslovski-se-izopstava-iz-bu/ With respect to the current problem, he does not blame the Faculty but rather “a handful of people who enforce arbitrariness.”
In other news, Father Nikolay Balashov, deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s DECR, has called the installation of a fake ceiling in the Church of the Chora Monastery in Istanbul for the purpose of hiding the historic Christian frescos a “horror of modern-day barbarity” and “a disaster for Orthodox Christians [actually for all Christians].” http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=15941
After a second day of productive deliberations, the Assembly of Bishops agreed on a Common Vision that commits themselves to work together toward Orthodox Christian Unity and Outreach, Common Orthodox Witness, Ministries and Initiatives, and Organizational Excellence. Read the full document here.
The collaborative process, initiated by the Executive Committee, acknowledges the spiritual needs of the collective Orthodox faithful in the United States of America. The Bishops look forward to working with the clergy and laity to implement their Common Vision.
Metropolitan Joseph, Vice-Chair of the Assembly of Bishops, commented, “Declaring 2021 as the Year of the Youth will set us on the right path to achieving our Common Vision. The youth are our present and our future.”
As such, the Assembly is beginning the process to create two new Agencies – a Youth Ministry Agency, as well as the Orthodox Volunteer Corps – to launch in 2021. Additionally, the Committee for Youth will continue to work on Orthodox Youth Spiritual Formation by taking inventory of existing efforts and developing new tools. The Assembly updated the Committee’s Terms of Reference to allow a wider breadth of work and approved the annual Orthodox Camping and Youth Workers Conference to take place again in 2021.
Finally, the Hierarchs of the Assembly released a Message of Hope during a difficult time in our country’s history. Read the message here.
The Assembly of Bishops, comprised of the 51 canonical Orthodox Bishops in the United States of America, is the premier and official forum for Orthodox Christian Unity in the United States of America. Its purpose is to preserve and contribute to the unity of the Orthodox Church by helping to further her spiritual, theological, ecclesiological, canonical, educational, missionary and philanthropic aims.
NEW YORK – His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America has today announced his appointments to the 2020-2022 Archdiocesan Council. The Archdiocesan Council is the advisory and consultative body to the Archbishop and to the Holy Eparchial Synod and is concerned with the ministries, institutions and financial affairs of the Archdiocese. Its voting membership is comprised of:
The Archbishop as President, the members of the Holy Eparchial Synod, the Auxiliary Bishops, the Chancellor of the Archdiocese, fifty-one (51) members appointed by the Archbishop who shall serve at his discretion, each Past Vice-Chair of the Council, the Chancellors of each Metropolis, the Vice-Chairs of the Local Councils, as well as one Clergy and two (2) lay persons from the Archdiocesan District and each Metropolis elected by the Local Assembly held prior to the Congress.
In addition, the various ministries and institutions of the Archdiocese are also included at the Archdiocesan Council, through their ex-officio representatives.
The Officers of the Archdiocesan Council, in accordance with the Regulations of the Archdiocese, are elected from among the members of the Council as nominated by the Archbishop. At the first meeting of the 2020-2022 Archdiocesan Council, Archbishop Elpidophoros will nominate the following individuals:
John Catsimatides as Vice-Chair,
Elaine Allen as Treasurer, and
Honorable B. Theodore Bozonelis as Secretary
In addition, the Archbishop has appointed the following to the Executive Committee:
Lazaros Kircos as the Finance Committee Chair,
Michael Psaros as Administration Committee Chair,
Maria Stefanis as Audit Committee Chair,
George Demos, and
Lastly, Archbishop Elpidophoros has created a special advisory body, called, “Senators for Orthodoxy and Hellenism.” This body is comprised of members to bring both mentorship for the new generation, with their energy, innovative ideas and creative thinking, and the steadfastness of the senior generation. The aim of this prestigious Senate will be to advise the Archbishop, the Holy Eparchial Synod and the Archdiocesan Council on various matters concerning our Sacred Archdiocese and its continued sound operation for the betterment of our Church and the welfare of its Christ-loving plenitude — especially as we commence the monumental task of drafting a new Charter that will meet the ever-growing modern day pastoral needs of our devout faithful, and propel our Church in America into its next historic and illustrious centenary chapter.
New York – On Monday, October 12, 2020, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America convened the Holy Eparchial Synod via videoconference for an extraordinary session to consider the current issues concerning the life of the Church.
Significant decisions were made, such as:
The expression of gratitude to His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Holy and Sacred Synod of the venerable center of Orthodoxy for the opportunity provided to the Archdiocese of America to draft a new Charter. This distinguished prospect is made even more profound in light of the celebration in the year 2022 of the first centennial since the inception of the Archdiocese. The compilation of the new Charter, with the collaboration of the Hierarchy, the clergy and the laity of the Church, will inaugurate the new centennial of Archdiocesan ministry, and for this reason two Committees will be commissioned with this great and sacred task: 1) An extensive committee in America, composed of representatives of the Holy Eparchial Synod, the clergy and the laity and 2) a second committee, assigned to participate in the Joint Committee that will be devised by our Mother Church, in order to convey and communicate the essence and the ideas of the former committee.
The validation of the Press Release of the Holy Archdiocese regarding the uninterrupted authority and continuous operation of all the Archdiocesan administrative bodies until the ratification and publication of the new Charter by the Patriarchate such as the Holy Eparchial Synod, the Archdiocesan Council, the Executive Committee, the Clergy Laity Congress and the respective administrative bodies of the Metropolises.
The dedication of upcoming meetings of the Archdiocesan Council to the formulation of the vision for the new Charter.
To ensure a dignified life with sufficient earnings, befitting to his hierarchal distinction and to the tradition of the Church, for His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos of Sardes, who has served the Archdiocese for many decades.
Lastly, the Archbishop announced the a) composition of the Executive Committee and the National Board of the National Philoptochos Society, b) the appointment of the V. Rev. Archimandrite Constantine Moralis as the Chancellor of the Holy Metropolis of New Jersey and the appointment of the Metropolitan Council of the aforementioned Metropolis and c) the dates for the ordinations to the Sacred Hierarchy of the Bishops-elect: His Grace Spyridon (Kezios) of Amastris on November 14th, His Grace Timothy (Bakakos) of Hexamilion on December 5th and His Grace Ioannis (Constantine) of Phocaea on December 19th of this year.
From the Office of the Chief-Secretary of the Holy Eparchial Synod
New York, NY – The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, wanting to strengthen the role of the largest Eparchy of the Mother Church with a new vision and a new Charter suitable for the evolving and changing modern pastoral needs of American society, decided to place the current Charter (2003) of the Holy Archdiocese of America into abeyance. Temporarily, until the issuance of the new Charter, the administrative structures of the Archdiocese, i.e., the Holy Eparchial Synod, the Executive Committee, the Archdiocesan Council, the Clergy-Laity Assembly, as well as the respective structures of the Metropolises will continue to function as they are.
Archbishop Elpidophoros commented on the decision of the Holy and Sacred Synod:
“We have just received a wonderful opportunity to rebuild the Church in America from the ground up. Over the past one hundred years, great hierarchs led the Archdiocese of America, of which the later Patriarch Athenagoras and Archbishop Michael stand out, who consolidated and strengthened our communities. Of course, Archbishop Iakovos was the one who, in his 37 years as Archbishop, transformed our Archdiocese, giving it a leading role in American society.
“Today we feel especially blessed, because with this decision, the Ecumenical Patriarchate gives us the great opportunity to envision and design our Church together in view of its 100th anniversary. All together, clergy and laity, we will participate in a joint committee with our Patriarchate, and we will develop and complete a new plan with new perspectives on Orthodoxy in America for the next 100 years.
“With the Ecumenical Patriarchate, we will establish a joint committee to study the current needs and the dynamics of our Archdiocese and prepare the plan for our new Charter.
“I consider this decision to be divinely inspired and auspicious, because it comes a few days before the name day of the ever-memorable Archbishop Iakovos, during which we recall the glorious past, and prepare for a new century with new visions to strengthen our ministry and renew Pan-Orthodox cooperation. We are all grateful to the leader of Orthodoxy and the Holy and Sacred Synod that is with him.”
Finally, it is announced that His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros has convened an extraordinary teleconference of the Holy Eparchial Synod on Monday, October 12, 2020, in order to evaluate these new decisions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.