UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America Convenes in Chicago, IL - September 10-12, 2012
The 2012 Annual Meeting of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America convened on Monday morning, September 10, 2012 and will continue through Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 at the O’Hare Airport Hilton Hotel, Chicago, IL.
This is the third Annual Meeting of the Assembly, which consists of the 66 active hierarchs serving the Church in this geographic region: eleven residing in Canada, five in Mexico, and 50 in the USA. The first annual meeting was convened in New York City in 2010, and the second in Chicago in 2011.
The plenary sessions of the Assembly were opened by the His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, who serves as a chairperson of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. Following the opening remarks of the Archbishop, the working sessions opened, addressing vital social, moral and pastoral issues of the society.
His Eminence Archbishop Antony, the Locum Tenens of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and the Ruling Hierarch of the Eastern Eparchy of the UOC of the USA serves as a Treasurer of the Assembly and during the first plenary sessions presented his report. His Grace Bishop Daniel, the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the UOC of the USA, who serves as a Episcopal Liaison to the Legal Affairs Committee of the Assembly, as well as the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting and a member of the Military Chaplaincy Committee of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, presented his reports at the plenary sessions as well.
On September 11, 2012, the hierarchs of the Assembly attended a Divine Liturgy at Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL for the observance of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. His Grace Bishop Longin, the Eparchial bishop of the cathedral and the Diocese of New Gracanica and Midwestern America of the Serbian Orthodox Church stated in his welcome remarks: "We have the joy to welcome our brother hierarchs from throughout this country to our Diocese and Cathedral for this liturgical celebration which is a testimony of our Eucharistic unity as we deliberate, guided by the Holy Spirit, on our ministry and stewardship of the Lord's Vineyard which has been planted and which grows in America".
Following the conclusion of the Divine Litrgy, the hierarchs participated in a memorial prayer service for the victims of the tragic events of September 11, 2001 and a prayer for the health and well being of their families and the survivors. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America presided at the services.
By way of background, delegates from the 14 Autocephalous Orthodox Churches participated in a historic Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference, which met at the Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy-Geneva, Switzerland on June 6-12, 2009. The Conference was a direct result of the Synaxis of the Heads of all the Orthodox Churches, convened by His All Holiness Bartholomew I at the Ecumenical Patriarchate October 10-12, 2008. At that time, the Heads of the Churches expressed their “desire for the swift healing of every canonical anomaly that has arisen from historical circumstances and pastoral requirements, such as in the so-called Orthodox Diaspora, with a view to overcoming every possible influence that is foreign to Orthodox ecclesiology.”
Acting as formal representatives of the Autocephalous Churches, the members of the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Conference in Chambésy in 2009 affirmed “that is the common will of all of the most holy Orthodox Churches that the problem of the Orthodox Diaspora be resolved as quickly as possible, and that it be organized in accordance with Orthodox ecclesiology, and the canonical tradition and practice of the Orthodox Church.” The Conference decided to establish an “Episcopal Assembly” (aka “Assembly of Bishops”) in specific geographic regions which are beyond the boundaries of the Autocephalous Churches. The Conference identified 12 such regions throughout the world, of which that of North and Central America is one.
For more information on the establishment of these 12 Assemblies of Bishops and, in particular, the work of our own Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, please refer to the new Timeline of the Assembly.