Source: Orthodox Church in America
Metropolitan Tikhon’s Address at the AAC opening plenary session
ATLANTA, GA [OCA] His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, addressed hundreds of delegates and observers at the opening plenary session of the18th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America on Monday evening, July 20, 2015.
Metropolitan Tikhon called the AAC to order after an opening Service of Intercession.
In his address, Metropolitan Tikhon challenged the assembly to join him “in this ascetical journey to discern and develop our apostolic calling here in North America, through prayer, repentance and common work for the glory of God, always remembering the words of the Lord:
‘Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock’ (Matthew 7:24-25).
“Each of you, gathered here this week, has his own history and family background,” Metropolitan Tikhon continued. “And each of you is here as a member of the Body of Christ, the Holy Church. But what is amazing is that all of us are gathered here as the Church. We may have our own opinions about our countries, about social and moral issues, about immigration issues, gun control, about states’ rights and centralized government, about diocesan sovereignty and the central administration. At the same time, every one of us is a member of the Body of Christ. And this gives me hope—hope in the beauty, goodness and kindness of humanity; hope in the potential of our Church to be a true witness to the divine beauty, goodness and kindness that is offered to all of mankind; hope that, by God’s providence, I stand before you as the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and that I am able to hear your concerns and hopes, your complaints and praises, your frustration and your encouragement.”
Turning his attention to the AAC theme—“How To Expand The Mission”—Metropolitan Tikhon went on to reflect on the witness of those who have gone before us. “Besides Saint Tikhon, we have many bold advocates for our vision in North America. Father Alexander Schmemann spoke at the time of the funeral of Metropolitan Leonty, noting that His Eminence had left the Church in North America with a legacy: a legacy of unity, the legacy of his vision of the Church and the legacy of being a true man of God. Concerning unity, Father Alexander said, ‘[Metropolitan Leonty’s] whole life was above everything else a ministry, a liturgy of unity, and in this he fulfilled the first and most essential function of the Bishop. He literally kept us together in his heart, in his prayer, in his love. And his heart was big enough for all and everything. And everyone, whatever his position, his calling, his ideas, could identify himself with the Metropolitan and through him with the Church…. Whenever he appeared – all knew immediately that he was the father, the center of unity—all felt immediately secure and confident in his love, understanding and response.’
“The Orthodox Church in America holds sacred its vision for a local Orthodox Church in North America, and we are able to articulate this more firmly than any other jurisdiction on this continent,” Metropolitan Tikhon continued. “Not only this, but while living in brotherly good relations with all other Orthodox, we have had the blessing of being able to live the reality of that local Orthodox Church and to strive to be all things to all people, so that even a few might be saved.