From the Worldwide Faith News archives


From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Tue, 24 Dec 2002 10:33:57 -0800

   The Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas
		    8 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10021

For Immediate Release
December 23, 2002

Contact: SCOBA Office
Phone: 212-774-0526
FAX: 212-774-0253


South Bound Brook, NJ -- At the autumn meeting of the Standing Conference
of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas on December 17, the
hierarchs approved the opening of an Orthodox Advocacy Office in
Washington, DC, to be operated under the aegis of SCOBA. Meeting at the
Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, the Washington
Office was among several topics discussed throughout the day-long meeting.

The meeting was chaired by His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of
the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and Chairman of the Standing Conference, and
was hosted by His Eminence, Metropolitan Constantine of the Ukrainian
Orthodox Church of the USA. Other hierarchs in attendance included
Metropolitan Philip, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese,
Metropolitan Herman, Orthodox Church in America, Metropolitan Christopher,
Serbian Orthodox Church in the US and Canada, Archbishop Nicolae, Romanian
Orthodox Archdiocese in the US and Canada, Archbishop Antony, Ukrainian
Orthodox Church of the USA, and Bishop Ilia, Albanian  Orthodox Diocese.
Metropolitan Nicholas of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese was
recovering from surgery and unable to attend, as was Metropolitan Joseph of
the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese, who was participating in a meeting
of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Patriarchate in Sophia.

Other hierarchs attending the autumn meeting included Archbishop Peter of
New York, Orthodox Church in America, Bishop Antoun, Antiochian Orthodox
Christian Archdiocese, and Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos, Greek Orthodox
Archdiocese and General Secretary of SCOBA.

Recognizing the need for a unified Orthodox voice in the nation's capital,
the hierarchs approved the opening of the Washington office for March 1,
2003. The SCOBA office in New York will be accepting applications for the
position of Executive Director for the Washington office, through January
31, 2003. Candidates with a theological degree and expertise in
Church-state relations may submit their resumes to His Grace, Bishop
Dimitrios of Xanthos, 10 East 79th St, New York, NY 10021.

In the aftermath of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the absence of
an Orthodox presence on the national stage was clearly noted. "By
establishing a full-time presence in the nation's capital," commented
Bishop Dimitrios, "with qualified people speaking on behalf of the entire
Orthodox community, a more visible and unified presentation of Orthodoxy
can be affected." "Furthermore," he continued, "the Church should not
ignore this opportunity to educate decision makers about Orthodox positions
on major issues." In confirming this new office, the bishops also approved
a commitment to funding from the several SCOBA jurisdictions, in addition
to soliciting funds from benefactors to support the Washington effort.

Another major item on the agenda was the upcoming Bishops' Conference at
Antiochian Village, scheduled for May 7-9, 2003. The last conference in
2001 brought 35 Orthodox hierarchs together in Washington to discuss issues
affecting all Orthodox faithful in North America. Following a discussion on
themes and speakers, the bishops instructed the Study & Planning Commission
to fine-tune the agenda for final approval after the new year.

The Sunday of Orthodoxy celebration, sponsored by the Standing Conference
in previous years, was re-instituted for 2003, and will take place on March
16, 2003 at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in New York City.  Parish
Council members from Orthodox Churches throughout the New York area will be
invited to participate in the Sunday of Orthodoxy Liturgy and to meet with
SCOBA hierarchs.

In other business the hierarchs issued a resolution "On the Destruction of
Spiritual and Cultural Property in Kosovo and Metohija," endorsed the
Orthodox Peace Fellowship (North American Chapter) and The Orthodox
Fellowship of the Transfiguration, and approved a constitutional amendment
establishing SCOBA as a non-profit organization.

Fr Michael Nasser, Chairman of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF),
informed the hierarchs of a substantial grant from the Lilly Foundation in
conjunction with the Holy Cross/Hellenic College grant. These funds will
enable the OCF to appoint a full-time director and expand work with
Orthodox college students. SCOBA reactivated the former Campus Commission
last year. The hierarchs agreed to designate the third Sunday in September
each year as "OCF Sunday."

The bishops worked on a war and peace statement, which will be finalized
and issued next month. Upon the recommendation of the Ecumenical
Commission, Bishop Seraphim of Ottawa, Orthodox Church in America, was
approved as Co-Chairman of the Joint Commission of Orthodox and Roman
Catholic Bishops.

Archbishop Demetrios expressed the gratitude of all hierarchs for the kind
hospitality extended by the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in
the USA.

  From SCOBA's Study & Planning Commission, the following members
participated: Fr Djokan Majstrovic, Serbian Orthodox Church in the US &
Canada; Fr Patrick Tishel and Michael Krochta, Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox
Diocese in the US; Fr Robert Stephanopoulos, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese; Fr
Robert Kondratick and Fr Leonid Kishkovsky, Orthodox Church in America; Fr
Michael Rosco, American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese; Fr Paul
Schneirla and Charles Ajalat, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese; Fr
Frank Estocin and Fr Basil Zawierucha, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the
USA; Fr Nicholas Apostola, Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese; and Fr Gregory
Havrilak, Associate General Secretary of SCOBA.

For more information contact the Office of the Standing Conference of the
Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas, 10 East 79 St, New York, NY
10021. Phone: 212-774-0526; FAX 212-774-0253.

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