The Fourteenth All-American Council was only the second council to be convened outside of the United States. It was held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on July 17 - 22, 2005. In order to focus on specific aspects of the theme, study materials were prepared and distributed prior to the council, covering the following topics:
- Vision and Identity
- Clergy Formation and Development
- Parish Health
- Orthodox Relations
As at the council in 2002, plenary sessions were again held in a ballroom which had been transformed into a chapel for the duration of the council, thus providing a prayerful setting for council deliberations.
During the council, at least one plenary session was devoted to each of the five topics and included presentation of background information as well as panel, table and floor discussions with question-and-answer sessions. Particularly noteworthy during deliberation on “Vision and Identity” were the reflections on autocephaly by Protopresbyter Daniel Hubiak and Dr. Constantine Kallaur, who offered personal perspectives as members of the OCA delegation sent to Moscow in 1970 to receive the Tomos of Autocephaly. In the session devoted to “Orthodox Relations”, a video message from Bishop Basil (Essey) of Wichita and Mid-America of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese was a clarion call for a united Orthodox presence in North America and it was received with a standing ovation. Fruitful discourse took place on each of the five topics leading to the formulation of ideas for more effective ministry in each area.
Other council events and proceedings included the Address of the Metropolitan, the Reports of the Chancellor and Treasurer, extensive youth and young adult activities, and numerous luncheon forums at which special interest topics were treated in small groups.
At this council, a Summary Team was appointed and tasked with summarizing each day’s discussions and, at the conclusion of the council, gleaning the three most compelling priority areas of concern in the OCA for future action from formal deliberations and private conversations. In its final report, the Summary Team listed the following as the main areas of concern distilled from all the proceedings of the council:
- Education and Formation
- Orthodox unity
The report also included specific proposals - both long-range and immediate – for wide-ranging initiatives in each of the three areas identified, to be developed in cooperation with other Orthodox jurisdictions whenever possible. Having established “Mission” as a preeminent, urgent concern among council participants, the Summary Team proposed it as the theme of the next All-American Council.
The Fourteenth Council, in looking towards the future, revealed an overarching yearning among Council participants for administrative unity among all Orthodox Christians in North America in order to strengthen the Church’s witness on this continent and to manifest proper ecclesial order.
Written by Alexis Liberovsky
OCA Archivist, Director of the Department of History and Archives.
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