Thursday, September 24, 2009

News from the Synod of Bishops

This report from the OCA Synod of Bishops was glorious to read. Thanks be to God for faithful hierarchs!

Posted 09/23/09

SYOSSET, NY [OCA Communications] -- The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America and the OCA's Metropolitan Council completed the first day of their fall sessions Tuesday, September 22, 2009.

The day opened with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, at which His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah. presided. In his sermon, Metropolitan Jonah cautioned all gathered against surrendering to the passions, the most destructive of which are spiritual in nature -- resentment, gossip, fear, and retribution. He stressed that the faithful, meeting together in love, render service to Christ and for the good of all involved.

Following the Divine Liturgy, members of the Holy Synod and Metropolitan Council met in joint session to begin a discussion on conciliarity. Many issues were addressed in an open dialogue. It was stressed that the ecclesiatical structure of the Orthodox Church in America was motivated by an intentional effort to recover an ancient paradigm of the concilar process that was lost in the Church for centuries. Participants in the discussion acknowledged that this process had broken down in recent years. However, they affirmed the fundamental principle of conciliairty and the mission of the OCA to evangelize the North American continent, are the bedrock of the Church's life.

The Holy Synod and Metropolitan Council then met in separate sessions. During the Holy Synod's sessions, hierarchs met with the two episcopal candidates nominated by the Diocese of New York and New Jersey for consideraiton in the election of a diocesan bishop. After meeting with each candidate separately, the Holy Synod elected the Very Rev. Michael Dahulich, Dean of Saint Tikhon's Seminary, to the office of Bishop of New York and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey. The Synod announced that Bishop-elect Michael's consecration will take place after the new year.


In addressing the strategic plan, Metropolitan Council members entered into a long and passionate discussion about the mission and vision of the OCA. It was observed that in recent times the mission of the Church has become identified almost exclusively with the idea of a unified Church in North America. Members of the Council stated that, while Church unity is desirable and must be a goal in the life of the OCA, Church structures are far less important than the proclamation of the Gospel.

Evangelization must be the Church's first priority, and this is work that is not dependent on, or has to wait for, a unfied Orthodox body in North America. It was also stressed that Evangelization must focus on the culture, or more accurately the cultures, within North America, in particular on those segments of society which are yet unchurched.

Read it all here.