SCHAUMBURG, IL [OCA]
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon and the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America are among 65 hierarchs participating in the 2013 annual meeting of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America at the Chicago Marriott here Tuesday through Thursday, September 17-19, 2013.
The first annual meeting was held in New York City in 2010, while the second and third gatherings were held in Chicago in 2011 and 2012.
The schedule and agenda as posted on the Assembly web site may be accessed here.
According to the announced schedule, the Assembly will open with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral (Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia), Des Plaines, IL and a commemoration of the 1700th Anniversary of the Edict of Milan. During the opening plenary session the Assembly Chairman, His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, will deliver his opening address. Reports by the Treasurer, Secretary, and Coordinator for Committees; a proposal from the Coordinator for Agencies and Endorsed Organizations; and an announcement concerning the establishment of Permanent 501(c)(3) status are slated to follow. Other issues on the agenda include proposals for canonical restructuring, a regional model for communications, and a proposal to plan an Assembly-sponsored national conference for Orthodox Christian youth.
By way of background, delegates from 14 of the world’s Autocephalous Orthodox Churches participated in an historic Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference at the Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy-Geneva, Switzerland June 6-12, 2009. The Conference was a direct result of the Synaxis of the Heads of all the Orthodox Churches, convened by His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I at the Ecumenical Patriarchate October 10-12, 2008. At that time, the Heads of the Churches expressed their “desire for the swift healing of every canonical anomaly that has arisen from historical circumstances and pastoral requirements, such as in the so-called Orthodox Diaspora, with a view to overcoming every possible influence that is foreign to Orthodox ecclesiology.”
Acting as formal representatives of the Autocephalous Churches, the members of the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Conference in Chambésy in 2009 affirmed “that is the common will of all of the most holy Orthodox Churches that the problem of the Orthodox Diaspora be resolved as quickly as possible, and that it be organized in accordance with Orthodox ecclesiology, and the canonical tradition and practice of the Orthodox Church.” The Conference decided to establish an “Episcopal Assembly” (aka “Assembly of Bishops”) in specific geographic regions which are beyond the boundaries of the Autocephalous Churches. The Conference identified 12 such regions throughout the world, including North and Central America.