NEW YORK, NY [OCA Communications]—His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, was among several hierarchs participating in the fall meeting of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas [SCOBA] at the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America here November 25, 2003.
His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Archdiocese and SCOBA Chairman, presided at the session.
The hierarchs heard reports on the work and progress of several SCOBA Commissions. Mr. Dean Triantafilou delivered a report on behalf of International Orthodox Christian Charities, while the Rev. Martin Ritsi reported on the work of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center. The Very Rev. Paul Kucynda reported on recent developments within the Orthodox Christian Education Commission. The work of the Orthodox Christian Fellowships was highlighted by the Rev. Michael Nasser.
The Rev. Nicholas Apostola, on behalf of the Ecumenical Commission, reported on the recent statement adopted by the Orthodox-Catholic Consultation. The statement, titled “The Filioque: A Church Dividing Issue?” together with supporting documents developed over a four year period of study, will be published in a single volume in the near future. His Grace, Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos, SCOBA General Secretary, reported on the June 2003 meeting of the Orthodox-Lutheran Dialogue and the October 2003 meeting of the Joint Commission of Orthodox and Catholic Bishops. He also reported on the work of the Joint Commission of Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches, which sponsored the well attended Third Annual Prayer Service for the United Nations in October 2003, at which Metropolitan Herman presided. He noted that the 2004 service will be held at Saint Vartan Armenian Cathedral, New York, NY, at which time His Grace, Bishop David of the Coptic Orthodox Church, will preside.
The Rev. Christopher Metropulos, Executive Director and founder of Orthodox Christian Network [OCN], presented a proposal requesting that OCN become an agency of SCOBA. The proposal, supported in writing by His Eminence, Metropolitan Nicholas of Amissos, was approved unanimously, making OCN the eleventh commission functioning under SCOBA’s aegis. OCN produces the weekly radio program, “Come Receive The Light.”
Other items on the agenda included discussions on the proposed SCOBA Advocacy Office in Washington, DC, the convening of a Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in 2005, and plans for the celebration of the Sunday of Orthodoxy in 2004. These issues were referred to the Study and Planning Committee for further research and the formulation of specific proposals.
The hierarchs also endorsed publication of a directory of all SCOBA parishes and organizations, edited by Mr. Philip Tamoush. The directory is expected to be released in January 2004.
The hierarchs expressed deep gratitude to His Grace, Bishop Basil of Wichita [Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America] for serving as SCOBA’s liaison to Project Mexico. After several years in this position, Bishop Basil requested to be relieved from this position.
Father Apostola distributed copies of the FACT Report, which summarizes the findings of the Hartford Survey, endorsed by SCOBA. This survey will be ongoing and it is hoped that more Orthodox parishes will respond so that findings reflect the reality of Orthodoxy in America.
Mr. Theo Nicolakis, Greek Archdiocesan Director of Internet Ministries, reviewed the proposed SCOBA web site, which currently is under construction. The site is expected to become operational in January 2004.
Before adjourning, the hierarchs expressed their thanks to Gregory Havrilak, who served as Associate General Secretary for two years, and to all its commissions, agencies and endorsed groups for the tremendous and significant work they are doing throughout the world, and especially in fostering ever greater cooperation among all Orthodox Christians in America.