Over 1000 faithful from across North America—including nearly 400 children, youth and young adults—attended the Divine Liturgy concelebrated by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and members of the Holy Synod of Bishops at the Renaissance Orlando Resort here on Sunday, July 21, the eve of the official opening of the Church’s 13th All-American Council.
Concelebrating with the hierarchs was Bishop Mercurius, who oversees parishes of the Orthodox Church of Russia in the United States, and numerous clergy.
Many faithful from parishes in the region also participated in the Liturgy, which was held in a well-appointed chapel which will serve as the focal point for worship throughout the week-long Council.
Following the Liturgy and continental breakfast, delegates and observers began registering for the Council, which officially opens with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at 7:30 a.m. and the opening plenary session on Monday, July 22 and concludes on Friday, July 26. A welcoming reception for Council participants was held on Sunday evening in the hotel’s spacious atrium.
At Monday’s plenary sessions, Metropolitan Theodosius will deliver his “State of the Church” address, after which he will formally retire as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, a position he has held for 25 years. Last Spring, he informed the members of the Holy Synod of his desire to retire in light of a series of strokes he had suffered over a two-year period. On Monday afternoon, the election of his successor will take place.
Members of the Holy Synod, together with clergy and lay delegates from parishes, missions, and institutions across North America will participate in the election.