Assembly of Bishops continues Chicago meeting

Assembly Bishops

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the USA entered the second day of its sixth 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.

His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Assembly Chair, addressed the hierarchs at Tuesday’s opening session.  [The text of Archbishop Demetrios’ address may be read on the Assembly’s web site.]  In his report as Assembly Treasurer, His Eminence, Metropolitan Antony [Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA] noted the expected budget shortfall and expressed his hope that the hierarchs would seek donations from the faithful to meet the shortfall.  The report of the Assembly Secretary, His Grace, Bishop Basil [Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America], followed.  In his report as the Chairman of the Committees, His Grace, Bishop Maxim [Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America] acknowledged the committees that have been especially active to date, including the Committees on Agencies and Endorsed Organizations, Canonical Regional Planning, Ecumenical Relations, Financial Affairs, Legal Affairs, Pastoral Practice, Monastic Communities, and Youth.

Canonical regional planning received special attention in the first of two planned sessions devoted to this matter.  Each of the first hierarchs of the Assembly’s 12 jurisdictions expressed his opinion on a proposal circulated in advance by the Committee for Canonical Regional Planning, which focuses on three main areas of common work over the next three years: diverging pastoral practices among the jurisdictions, the development of possible models for a canonical reorganized Church administration, and greater cooperation and integration of jurisdictional ministries and departments.

The hierarchs were allotted approximately 15 minutes each to express their views on the proposal.  The statement of His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph [Antiochian Archdiocese], was read on his behalf in his absence.  Discussion on the opinions expressed continued during Wednesday’s opening session.

On Tuesday evening, the hierarchs joined more than 100 Chicago-area youth at Chicago’s Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral for a Service of Thanksgiving and a question and answer forum.  Four hierarchs—His Grace, Bishop Gregory [American-Carpatho Russian Orthodox Diocese of the USA]; His Grace, Bishop Anthony [Antiochian Archdiocese]; His Grace, Bishop Maxim [Serbian Orthodox Church]; and His Eminence, Archbishop Michael [Orthodox Church in America]—responded to questions from the youth that touched on a wide range of topics, including what parishes can do to keep youth in the Church, anxiety and suffering, the possibility of Church unity, and the Church’s view of homosexuality.  The event was videotaped and will be made available on the Assembly’s web site in the near future.

The hierarchs also expressed their sincere gratitude to the clergy and faithful of Saint John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, Des Plaines, IL, site of Tuesday morning’s opening Divine Liturgy, and Holy Resurrection Cathedral for their gracious hospitality.

The meeting will conclude on Thursday, September 17.