Meeting in Pittsburgh, PA on November 13-15, 1973, the Third All-American Council displayed a new style in council proceedings in several ways. It was the first council to be held entirely in a hotel instead of within a church. For the first time at this type of gathering, a hotel ballroom was transformed into a chapel. Those in attendance testified to the prayerful atmosphere and centrality of the Eucharist permeating this council as compared to previous councils. A new and perhaps better-informed generation of delegates obliterated the clergy-versus-laity conflicts of councils in previous decades. This was also the first council to be divided into sections, rather than meeting exclusively in plenary sessions, to deliberate certain key issues: 1) The National Church, 2) The Parish, 3) Finances, 4) Missions. Additionally, workshops were also held to deal with following practical topics: 1) Youth Work and Religious Education, 2) Liturgical Music, 3) Inter-Orthodox Relations and Ecumenism, 4) Information and Public Relations. The council made several amendments to fine-tune the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America. As a result of the section meetings and workshops, it was resolved to expand the full-time workforce at the chancery of the Orthodox Church in America, to appoint a Public Relations Director, to permit women to be delegates at diocesan assemblies, to enhance coordination between parishes, dioceses and the central church administration, to increase assessments for the central administration, to find additional ways and means for funding the National Church, and to create a Department of Missions.
This council warmly welcomed Bishop JOSE (Cortes-y-Olmos), who along with the clergy and faithful of the Exarchate of Mexico, had been received into the Orthodox Church in America in 1972.
Subsequent councils followed the new format and style initiated at the Third All-American Council. In its actions and resolutions, this council began to integrate the new Statute of the Orthodox Church in America into the day-to-day practical life of the Church.
Written by Alexis Liberovsky
OCA Archivist, Director of the Department of History and Archives.