NEW YORK – The first ever Monastic Assembly of the Sacred Monasteries of the Holy Archdiocese of America convened on the invitation of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, September 21-22 at the Sacred Monastery of Saint Nektarios in Roscoe, NY concluded today.
Abbots and abbesses of 18 Sacred Monasteries of the Holy Archdiocese of America participated in this assembly. In addition, the following hierarchs attended: their Eminences Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver, Alexios of Atlanta, Nathanael of Chicago, and their Graces Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, Apostolos of Medeia, and Bishop Ierotheos of Eukarpia, Abbot of the Sacred Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery of St. Irene Chrysovalantou.
His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew blessed the Assembly with an inspiring video message in which he congratulated the Archbishop for his initiative and encouraged him to continue to promote and support the blessed Orthodox Monasteries in the USA. “Orthodox monasteries express Christian authenticity, ‘what is needed’ according to the faith concerning man and his eternal destiny, within the pluralistic, technocratic, and economically focused world of our age,” concluded the Patriarch in his message.
At the conclusion of the inspirational opening address of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America—in which he made reference to the principles and values of the monastic life as angelic life and the observance of the word of the gospel—the following presentations were made:
- Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta spoke about the current General Regulations and the Regulations of Internal Operations of the Sacred Monasteries of the Holy Archdiocese.
- V. Rev. Archimandrite Paisios, Abbot of the Sacred Monastery of Saint Anthony spoke on the topic: “Monasticism: The Apostolic Life.”
- The Reverend Mother Superior Melani, Abbess of the Sacred Monastery of Saint John Chrysostom spoke on the topic: “Commentary of the Orthodox Monastic Experience.”
The following points were raised during the discussions that followed:
- A desire was expressed to update the General Regulations and the Regulations of Internal Operations of the Sacred Monasteries of the Holy Archdiocese. A period of time was requested in order to afford the Sacred Monasteries to express their opinions on these to the Archbishop and the members of the Holy Eparchial Synod.
- The beneficent presence of Elder Ephraim, former abbot of the Sacred Monastery of Philotheou on Mount Athos, was raised, as was his great contribution to the spreading and strengthening of monasticism in the USA.
- The need to draft a Protocol for the Sacred Monasteries in the USA was recognized.
- It was decided that the minutes from the Assembly would be published in both Greek and English.
- Following the kind invitation of His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, it was decided that the second Monastic Assembly will be held at the Sacred Monastery of the Life-Giving Spring in Fresno, CA, the days of October 9-11, 2020 with the theme: “The spiritual inheritance of the blessed Elder Joseph the Cave-dweller and his offering to Orthodox monasticism in America.”
The Assembly culminated with the festal celebration of the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, September 22 presided over by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America together with the Reverend Abbots of the monasteries. In closing, thanks were expressed to His Grace Bishop Apostolos, Chief Secretary of the Holy Eparchial Synod, for organizing the Monastic Assembly. Gratitude was also expressed to the V. Reverend Archimandrite Joseph, Abbot of Sacred Monastery of Saint Nektarios and his sacred brotherhood, for their Abrahamic hospitality.