When the Thirteenth Sobor was already assembled in New York on November 14-16, 1967, it was announced that the Council of Bishops had forbidden a vote on a proposal, carefully prepared in advance with the knowledge of the hierarchy, to change the Metropolia’s official name from “Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of America” to “Orthodox Church in America”. Following stormy debate, a non-binding “straw vote” on the name change was permitted by the hierarchs. This vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the name change. Therefore, it was decided that an extraordinary sobor should be convened in two years to deal with this issue.
In contrast to heated debates on the Statute at previous councils, the Thirteenth Sobor unanimously adopted a completely revised article defining the administrative functioning of the parish and parish membership. Other council decisions included permitting parishes, upon approval of their diocesan bishop, to use the new calendar. In the area of finances, a $5.00 per capita assessment was established to fund the central church administration and further expand its activities.
The Thirteenth Sobor expressed an unequivocal desire for the Metropolia to be a missionary Church in and for America. These aspirations were to be realized in a tangible manner less than three years later when the long-sought autocephaly became a reality.
Written by Alexis Liberovsky
OCA Archivist, Director of the Department of History and Archives.