14th All-American Council of The Orthodox Church in America draws to a close

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman addresses the hierarchs, clergy, and faithful during the 14th All-American Council grand banquet on Thursday evening, July 21, 2005.

TORONTO, ON, CANADA [OCA Communications] — Participants in the 14th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America returned home on Friday, July 22, 2005, after a week of discussions and deliberations on the direction the Church hopes to take in the immediate future.

At the closing banquet on Thursday, July 21, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman stressed faithfulness to Christ and His Church as the Orthodox Church in North America and throughout the world faces the crucial task of unity. He noted that the Church throughout the world is facing numerous challenges, especially since the fall of communism, while in North America the presence of multiple jurisdictions severely limits the Church’s ministry and witness to the world. He challenged nearly 1000 banquet attendees to return to their parishes with a renewed spirit and commitment to the vision of the Church, planted in North America 211 years ago with the arrival of missionaries in Kodiak, AK.

Delegates approved by a wide margin an increase in the amount of funding provided by the Church’s nearly 700 parishes through their dioceses to maintain and expand the Church’s programs, departments, and administration.

Nearly 300 children, teens, and young adults also participated in special events ranging from discussions to helping at a soup kitchen and a tour of Niagara Falls.

The Council officially opened on Monday, July 18, with the address of Metropolitan Herman, who reported on the life of the Church since the 13th All-American Council held in 2002. On the eve of the Council opening, he concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with members of the Holy Synod of Bishops and over 1100 clergy and faithful at the Sheraton Centre Toronto hotel.

Additional information and photos will be posted on the OCA web site at http://www.oca.org during the week of July 24 and will appear in the August-September issue of “The Orthodox Church” newspaper.