An increasingly secularized world tends more and more to neglect the traditional biblical understanding of marriage and family. Misunderstanding freedom and proclaiming the progress of a humanity supposedly too mature, sophisticated and scientific to follow Christ's Gospel, many have abandoned its moral demands.
Encyclicals of the Holy Synod of Bishops on preaching, confession and communion, marriage, Christian unity and ecumenism, and spiritual life.
We members of the Orthodox Church in America are called to reflect upon our place in American society and our mission as Orthodox Christians. We are called at the same time to rededicate ourselves to the service of God and our fellow men in this place where God has put us, striving to be faithful to our divine calling.
Forty years ago, the Orthodox Church in America received its autocephaly from the Russian Orthodox Church and soon after glorified the first North American saint, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska... By the grace of God, this great gift was the result of a long process of reconciliation between the Metropolia and the Moscow Patriarchate, whose relations had tragically gone astray, a gift which still stands at the heart of our ecclesial life and serves as the basis for understanding ourselves.
There are those who have the gift to preach spontaneously. Others find it necessary to prepare their homily even to the point of writing it out. When such is the need, the preacher must set aside a scheduled and sufficient amount of time in which to prepare his sermon. Carefully chosen words are an offering to God and food for the faithful.
Today we perceive a grave crisis in the ecumenical movement. In the first place, there have appeared in the movement theories and understandings of its nature, which are radically different from those upon which it was founded. In the second place, there have arisen among the Orthodox positions and even practices, which are clearly contradictory to the consensus that formerly guided us in ecumenical activity.
The questions and the controversies about more frequent communion, about the link between the Sacrament of Communion and that of Penance, about the essence and form of confession, are, in our Church today, a sign not of weakness or decay, but of life and awakening. That there is among the Orthodox people, among the members of our Church, a growing interest in that which is essential, that there appears a thirst for that which is spiritually genuine, can no longer be denied and for this alone we ought to render thanks to God. It would be extremely wrong therefore to try to solve these questions and controversies by merely `administrative' measures, with decrees and interdicts. For what we face is, indeed, a crucial spiritual question which is related literally to all aspects of our Church life.