Saint Vartan Armenian Cathedral in midtown Manhattan was the setting for a luncheon hosted by His Eminence, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America [Eastern] honoring His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, on Wednesday, December 10, 2003.
Attending the luncheon were numerous hierarchs representing the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas [SCOBA] and the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches [SCOOCH].
As Archbishop Khajag noted, the SCOBA and SCOOCH hierarchs had desired to honor Metropolitan Herman in recognition of his July 2002 election as OCA Primate. The Archbishop spoke of Metropolitan Herman’s numerous achievements, and assured him of the prayerful support of the SCOOCH hierarchs in all his future missionary and pastoral endeavors.
Other hierarchs, including His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in America, SCOBA Chairman, expressed similar sentiments. Metropolitan Herman offered thanks and expressed his desire to see the positive relationship already shared by SCOBA and SCOOCH hierarchs grow stronger.
In recent years, SCOBA and SCOOCH hierarchs have met with increased frequency to discuss issues of mutual concern. In September 2003, the two bodies of hierarchs cosponsored the third annual Service of Prayer for Orthodox and other members of the United Nations Community, hosted by Metropolitan Herman at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York City.
Other SCOBA hierarchs attending the luncheon, in addition to Archbishop Demetrios, included His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip and His Grace, Bishop Antoun, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America; His Eminence, Archbishop Peter of New York and New Jersey and His Grace, Bishop Nikon of Boston and the Albanian Archdiocese, OCA; His Grace, Bishop Mercurius of Zaraisk, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the US; and His Grace, Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos and His Grace, Bishop Gerasimos of Krateia, Greek Archdiocese. SCOOCH hierarchs in attendance included His Eminence, Archbishop Yeghishe Gizirian, His Eminence, Archbishop Anania Arabajyan, and His Grace, Bishop Bicken Aykazian, Armenian Church; His Eminence, Archbishop Mar Cyril Aphrem Karim, Syrian Orthodox Church; and His Grace, Bishop David, Coptic Orthodox Church. Representing His Eminence, Archbishop Matthias of the Ethiopian Church was the Very Rev. Michael Greene.
Also attending from the OCA were Protopresbyter Robert S. Kondratick, Chancellor; the Very Revs. Leonid Kishkovsky and David Brum; Archdeacon Alexei Klimitchev, and Messrs. David Wagschal and John Mindala.