Assembly of Bishops considers canonical regional planning, pastoral practices

Assembly Bishops

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA continued discussions on canonical regional planning and pastoral practices during the second day of its sixth annual meeting here on Wednesday, September 16, 2015.

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon and members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America are among the 45 hierarchs currently in Chicago for the annual gathering.  [See related story.]


In the day’s first session, the hierarchs engaged in a candid and lengthy discussion on the proposal presented by the Committee for Canonical Regional Planning, exploring in greater depth the opinions that had been offered on Tuesday.  After deliberation, the hierarchs unanimously agreed that the Committee for Canonical Regional Planning should proceed in its work with the goal of conducting an in-depth regional study that will explore ways to address canonical structure and collaboration between jurisdictional ministries and departments within specific regions.  Each region will be determined by the committee and hierarchs.  The results of the study will be submitted to the Assembly at its next meeting.

In the afternoon session, the Committee for Pastoral Practice, represented by His Grace, Bishop Sevastianos, presented a document detailing the points of consensus on pastoral practices of marriage and divorce.  The document was based on the committee’s research of the practices of each jurisdiction.  The hierarchs then worked in small groups to discuss points of consensus and divergence.  The results of the small group discussions will be shared with the committee to further its work.

In the day’s final session, the bishops reviewed and commented on a draft message for the faithful, slated to be issued at the conclusion of the meeting.