ERA-5 - October 14, 1998

A Constructive SCOBA Meeting

By Justine Frangouli

The biannual meeting of SCOBA (Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas) convened on Tuesday at the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, was held in a warm and constructive atmosphere. The meeting of SCOBA, an episcopal body that seeks to promote co-operation among all Orthodox on matters of practical and pastoral interest, was chaired by Archbishop Spyridon of America.

The Orthodox leaders (Orthodox Church in America, Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and Canada, Serbian Orthodox Church in the United States and Canada, Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America and Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America) present at the meeting resolved to resume theological dialogue with Episcopalians and at the same time engage in systematic contacts with the pre-Chalcedonians of America.

More specifically, at Archbishops Spyridon’s suggestion, SCOBA determined to resume dialogue with America's Episcopalians after a ten-year interruption. The thinking behind this was that it is self-contradictory for the Orthodox not to maintain a theological dialogue with Episcopalians (due to the ordination of women to the priesthood by the latter) while at the same time they engage in theological exchanges with Baptists and Methodists, considered less traditional in all aspects. It was resolved that the first exploratory contacts be made by meeting with the appropriate representatives of the Episcopalian Church, so as to draw up a plan for dialogue, to be carefully examined at the next SCOBA meeting in spring.

In addition, SCOBA decided to engage in systematic contacts with the pre-Chalcedonians of America (Copts, Armenians, etc.). The ultimate aim of these contacts would be to initiate a theological dialogue between the two Christian families on matters of pastoral nature.

It should be noted that the leaders of the canonical Orthodox Churches of America are seeking to bridge the gap between Christian Churches in the US through theological dialogue, a practice based on a tradition long followed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

[ Translated from Greek ]

[ ERA 5 - - October 14, 1998 ]