The theme of the Eighth Council, assembled in Washington, DC on August 17-22, 1986, was “EVANGELIZATION.” Following the organizational pattern of the previous council, a detailed study of this key topic was made through study papers, workshops, panel presentations, discussions and a film. Numerous resolutions on Evangelization and the ways it can be accomplished emanated from this council.
Many aspects of various social issues were again addressed by council resolutions. Some of the new topics not previously addressed by conciliar action were: the Alaskan seal harvest, Alaskan Native Land claims, ministry to the handicapped, the millennium of Christianity in Russia, Orthodox parochial schools, the centennial of the Statue of Liberty, and several new human rights issues. In its resolutions on Evangelization, the council paid particular attention to the use of mass media and youth ministry. Because of the increased presence of youth at this council, it was decided to hold a parallel “youth council” simultaneously with the Ninth All-American Council.
Other issues faced by the council included: whether deacons could be clergy delegates (no solution to this was found and the topic was tabled for further study), the pension plan and health insurance for clergy, as well as numerous minor revisions to the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America to eliminate discrepancies.
In conjunction with the twenty-fifth anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood, appreciation and respect were expressed to His Beatitude, Metropolitan THEODOSIUS with the presentation of an honorary doctorate granted by St. Vladimir’s Seminary. The council also viewed a film profiling the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America especially prepared in honor of the occasion.
This council saw its theme, “EVANGELIZATION,” as a means to achieving “CHURCH GROWTH,” the theme of the Seventh Council. In its multifaceted and innovative resolutions, the Eighth Council responded effectively to the challenge of setting goals and objectives in this key area of Church life.
Written by Alexis Liberovsky
OCA Archivist, Director of the Department of History and Archives.