Archive | May, 2015

AAC hotel reservation deadline fast approaching

Hilton, Atlanta, GADelegates to and participants in the 18th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America are urged to make reservations at the Hilton Atlanta as soon as possible.

The AAC will convene on July 20, 2015 and end on July 24.

“Room reservations for the AAC and the 89th annual national convention of the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America are filling up quickly, and may be sold out before the June 26 deadline,” according to Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary. “The Preconciliar Commission is exploring overflow hotel options, which will be announced on the OCA web site and Facebook should the need arise.”

On-line hotel reservations may be made here. The discounted nightly rate of $124.00 plus tax is guaranteed from July 18-24.

June 15 deadline announced for placing ads in FOCA, 18th AAC commemorative book

foca-logoAs announced earlier on the web sites of the Orthodox Church in America and the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America [FOCA] a commemorative book will be published for the 18th All-American Council [AAC] and the 89th annual FOCA Convention. Both events are slated to be held in Atlanta, GA in mid-July 2015.

The book will feature addresses from His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon and other Church dignitaries, as well as a number of articles related to the history, mission, and expansion of Orthodox Christianity in North America focusing on the AAC theme, “How To Expand The Mission.”

The final section of the book will feature commemorative ads and greetings. Individuals, parishes and Institutions, and businesses are invited and encouraged to place ads or listings in this historic publication.

To encourage participation in this project, the deadline for the submission of ads and listings has been extended to June 15, 2015. Please consider supporting the work of the Church by purchasing an ad or listing.

Questions regarding the book may be directed to John Schultz at jpswv@comcast.net. A form for ordering ads may be downloaded here.

18th AAC Delegate Handbook now available

18thAACThe Delegate Handbook for the 18th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America has been released in accordance with Article III, Section 5 A of the current OCA Statute which mandates the Preconciliar Commission “to publish and distribute the agenda, notices, and arrangements for the All-American Council at least 60 days prior to the established date.”

The complete Handbook may be downloaded here.

“The Handbook contains instructions for delegates, AAC procedures, the proposed agenda, and other pertinent information,” said Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary. “Also included are two proposed resolutions, vetted and approved by the Resolution Committee and the Holy Synod of Bishops that will be considered in plenary session.

“The first resolution, to be presented by the Metropolitan Council after review by the Chancellors and Treasurers of the OCA’s dioceses and with the blessing of the Holy Synod of Bishops, was prepared by the Finance Committee of the Metropolitan Council,” added Father Eric. “The second resolution, which deals with matters of pastoral abuse, was presented by Holy Trinity Church, State College, PA with the approval of His Eminence, Archbishop Melchisedek.”

The Handbook also includes a copy of the proposed revised Statute of the Orthodox Church in America, which was posted on May 7, 2015 and distributed by e-mail on May 14, in accordance with Article XIII of the current Statute.

Additional reports will be posted on the OCA web site by June 20, in accordance with Article III, Section 5 of the Statute.

“Delegates are reminded to print copies of the reports, as well as the Handbook, prior to the AAC. Printed copies will not be available at the Council, although each delegate will receive a three-ring binder and tote bag when registering,” said Father Eric. “The bag also will include a map, a variety of helpful instructions and flyers of interest to delegates and observers.”

Delegates, observers and youth participants who have not already done so are urged to register on-line at their earliest convenience, and to make hotel reservations. Attendees are responsible for their own transportation to and from the hotel.

It’s not too late to help Alaskan, Mexican delegates attend the 18th AAC

2015-0212-alaskaCrucial to the success of the 18th All-American Council, slated to convene in Atlanta, GA July 20-24, 2015, is a full complement of delegates representing parishes of every diocese of the Orthodox Church in America.

In an effort to assist delegates from the Dioceses of Alaska and Mexico, for whom travel costs can be beyond reach, a special appeal was issued in October 2014 with the blessing of the Holy Synod of Bishops and the concurrence of the Metropolitan Council to help offset their expenses.

“As we prepare to come together for the All-American Council in Atlanta this July, our thoughts turn to the idea of mission for the Orthodox Church in America,” said His Grace, Bishop David of Anchorage and Alaska. “What is more important to the idea of mission than the presence of delegates from our first missionary diocese in Alaska—and our newest missionary diocese in Mexico—on the North American continent?

“However, this is unlikely to happen without help,” Bishop David continued. “Clergy and faithful in Alaska still live very much as they have lived for the last 200 years, a subsistence lifestyle that involves very little cash and a great deal of hard work to provide food and fuel for their existence. For Alaskan residents, a ticket from the Anchorage hub to Atlanta can be well over $1,000.00, if not substantially more. And Mexico is in a similar position, especially with the peso-to-dollar exchange rate.”

Clergy, faithful and parishes who wish to assist their “northernmost” and “southernmost” brothers and sisters to participate in the 18th All-American Council may send donations to the Orthodox Church in America, PO Box 675, Syosset, NY 11791. Please make checks payable to the “Orthodox Church in America” and include “18th AAC Travel Fund” in the memo line. All donations will be used exclusively for their intended purpose, and accounted for accordingly. Specific questions or suggestions may be directed to Melanie Ringa, OCA Treasurer, at mringa@oca.org.

“We hope that there will be many faithful willing to take the responsibility of helping to fund delegates from our oldest and youngest dioceses,” Bishop David concluded. “Please think of this opportunity as a way to help the Orthodox Church in America fulfill its mission to be a light to all peoples as we move forward for the glory of God!”

Five reasons youth should attend the 18th AAC in July

It’s not too late to register for the youth program that will be held during the 18th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America in Atlanta, GA July 20-24, 2015.

Andrew Boyd, who chairs the OCA Department of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry, cites five good reasons why the Church’s “younger generation” should attend.

1. Fellowship. You’ll meet youth from all over North America — participants already have registered from as far away as Alaska — and form lasting friendships while worshiping, learning, and simply being together. There’s space for all ages!

2. Experience the Church at Council. Join the Church at Council in prayer before miraculous icons, in supplication before the relics of our saints, and most importantly, in the Divine Liturgy, which will be concelebrated by the members of our Holy Synod of Bishops. You’ll also have the opportunity to address the assembled delegates as group and share your vision for the Church. Don’t miss our informal breakfast with the Holy Synod as well!

3. Learn how the saints “expanded the Church,” and how you can do the same. Each morning, there will be short educational sessions for different age groups, each of which will focus on missionary saints from near and far. You’ll learn how saints like Herman of Alaska, Maria of Paris, Nicholas of Japan, and Mitrophan of China expanded the mission of the Church. By learning from the saints, you’ll be able to help expand the mission of the Church and preach the Gospel in your local communities!

4. Remember that you’re part of something bigger! Sometimes it’s hard to be the only Orthodox Christian kid in your school, in your town, or even in your parish. Come to Atlanta to see the larger Church at work, while taking a short retreat from the world. You’ll return home filled with missionary zeal and ready to use your new knowledge, experiences, and relationships to build up the Church. You’ll also have an opportunity to enjoy fellowship with local Orthodox Christian youth from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese to share our traditions and common faith.

5. Have some fun! Still not convinced? You’ll also enjoy some great outings to places like the Georgia Aquarium, the Coca-Cola Headquarters, Zoo Atlanta, and the Water Park at Six Flags Over Georgia.

Register now, where you’ll find additional information. Finances a problem? Limited financial assistance may be available through the Peter the Aleut Grant Program.

Final draft of revised OCA Statute released

2015-0507-statuterevThe final draft of the revised Statute of the Orthodox Church in America, slated to be presented for adoption at the upcoming 18th All-American Council (AAC) in Atlanta, GA July 20-24, 2015, is now available on-line.

The release of the revised Statute is in accordance with Article XIII of the current Statute, which stipulates that all proposed amendments must be released at least 60 days prior to the All-American Council. A detailed introduction to the document will be posted as soon as it is available.

The proposed text of the revised Statute was finalized at a meeting of an expanded Commission on Canons and Statute held at Holy Dormition Monastery in Rives Junction, MI April 28-30, 2015. In an effort to make the revision process as open, transparent and inclusive as possible, the preliminary text of the revised Statute had been released for public comment in February 2015.

Under the chairmanship of His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate, the expanded Commission on Canons and Statute undertook a systematic review of the preliminary draft, which had been prepared by the Statute Revision Task Force over the course of a year and a half. All comments and suggestions for revision which had been received by e-mail, as well as during several diocesan, deanery and other gatherings conducted by Archpriest Alexander Rentel, Commission Secretary, were carefully considered and incorporated into the text where appropriate. The Commission wishes to express its gratitude to those who submitted comments and suggestions, including the hierarchs of the Holy Synod of Bishops, who provided input during their spring session in March 2015.

“The revised Statute is an extension of a historical trajectory in the life of our Church — that is, our evolution from a diocese of the Russian Church to a freestanding, autonomous, independent, comprehensive and autocephalous national Church, a goal which all of us share,” said Judge E. R. Lanier, a Task Force member in summarizing the meeting and the content of the revised Statute. He added that the revised Statute is “faithful to the admonition in Thessalonians, holding fast to that which is good in the old Statute, preserving intact all of its features which have proven themselves positive and useful: the changes which appear in the revision are more in the nature of a realignment of emphasis than any sort of radical reworking of the old, tried and true provisions under which we have lived since 1971…. The revised text recognizes, supports, and implements our movement toward a more proactive stance for the dioceses and parishes of the Church.”

At their 2015 Spring Session, members of the Holy Synod blessed the Commission, which is mandated by Statute to consider proposed amendments, to invite other participants to its April meeting. Hence, also present were members of the Statute Revision Task Force and consultants. Besides Archbishop Nathaniel, who chairs both the Commission on Canons and Statute and the Statute Revision Task Force, and Father Rentel, Secretary of both bodies, other members participating in the meeting included His Grace, Bishop Daniel of Santa Rosa and Priest Ioan Cozma. Statute Revision Task Force members who participated, in addition to Judge Lanier, included Archpriest Dimitri Cozby and Alexis Liberovsky. Participating consultants were attorneys Michael Cuccaro and Angela Parks. Archpriest John Erickson, a member of both the Commission and the Task Force, was unable to attend due to a previous commitment.

According to provisions governing amendments in the current Statute, the deadline for further revisions has passed. However, questions may be directed to the Commission on Canons and Statute at statute.18aac@oca.org.

Further information on the work of the Statute revision process over the last 18 months may be found at the following links.

Preconciliar Commission announces speaker, agenda for 18th All-American Council

Metropolitan Onufry of Kyiv

Metropolitan Onufry of Kyiv

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Onufry of Kyiv and All Ukraine, will be the main speaker at the formal dinner to be held during the 18th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America slated to be held in Atlanta, GA July 20-24, 2015.

Metropolitan Onufry was elected to succeed His Beatitude, the late Metropolitan Volodymyr, on August 13, 2014.

In related news, the Preconciliar Commission, charged with planning the AAC, announced that the proposed agenda, as blessed by the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops at their Spring 2015 session, is now available here. Note that rooms are subject to change and any changes will be announced.

Other updates include the following.

  • Two wonderworking icons — the Sitka Icon of the Mother of God, enshrined in the historic Archangel Michael Cathedral, Sitka, AK, and the Icon of Saint Anne from Saint Tikhon’s Monastery, South Canaan, PA — will be present and available for veneration throughout the gathering. A special exhibit of rare historical artifacts and items from the Museum of Saint Tikhon’s Monastery Museum also will be on display.
  • Registration for the AAC will open on Sunday, July 19 at 4:00 p.m. AAC registration may be completed on-line.
  • FOCA events also will begin on Saturday and continue throughout the weekend. [See related FOCA story.
  • A Pan-Orthodox Vesper service, hosted by His Eminence, Metropolitan Alexios of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Atlanta, will be celebrated at 6:30 p.m. the same day. All AAC and FOCA Convention attendees are warmly invited to participate. Transportation from the hotel will be provided at 6:00 p.m.
  • At 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, July 19, a Synodal Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at the hotel. The choir of Saint Symeon Church, Birmingham, AL, will render the liturgical responses. Throughout the remainder of the day, various FOCA events, including a dinner-dance, will be held at the hotel.
  • Youth events will begin on Sunday and continue throughout the week. Numerous outings and trips for the youth have been planned. Youth registration is available, while a flyer that includes the daily youth schedule of activities and outings also is available.
  • Symposiums and Diocesan Assemblies will be held on Monday morning, with the first AAC plenary session slated to convene at 7:30 p.m.
  • Ten workshops related to the AAC theme — “How To Expand The Mission” — will be held on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. See the registration web site for options as they all relate to the theme of the Council “How to Expand the Mission.”
  • At 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 23, a Synodal Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at the hotel. Throughout the week Akathistos Hymns, Vespers and monastic services will be celebrated.
  • The final plenary session will convene on Friday morning, July 24. Among the highlights of this session will be a special youth presentation, during which participants will share their experience on the AAC theme. Delegates should plan to leave late Friday afternoon.
  • Hotel space is still available and registration is still open.
  • The deadline for submitting resolutions has passed. Submitted resolutions are currently being reviewed by the Resolution Committee.
  • Likewise, the deadline for submitting suggested edits to the Proposed Revised Statute also has passed. The Commission on Canons and Statute is currently reviewing those changes.
  • The Delegate Handbook, which contains the agenda, notices, arrangements, procedures, the text of the final Revised Statute and approved resolutions will be available during the third week of May — 60 days before the AAC opens.