GOARCH - June 24, 1998

34th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress to Convene in Orlando

New York, NY - Plans are near completion for the 34th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America which will convene in Orlando, FL from July 4-9th at the Marriott Orlando World Center.

His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, spiritual leader of more than 1.5 million Greek Orthodox in America, will preside at the Congress which is expected to attract some 3,000 delegates, observers and guests from over 500 parishes of the Archdiocese. Meeting in conjunction with the Clergy-Laity Congress will be the Ladies Philoptochos Society, Young Adult League (YAL), Archdiocesan Council, Leadership 100, Presbyters Council, Sisterhood of Presvyteres, National Forum of Church Musicians, DOXA, Retired Clergy Association and St. Basil's Academy Teachers' College Alumnae.

"One Faith, One Family, One Future: Together to the New Millennium" is the theme for this year's Congress and the charge of Archbishop Spyridon in his keynote address on Monday, July 6th at the official opening of the Congress. The theme forms the centerpiece of the Congress Educational Program designed to provide delegates with the valuable opportunity to further understand the theological, ecclesiastical and societal underpinnings of various priorities and areas of growth for the Greek Orthodox Church in America. These will be implemented through a series of forums examining these components of Parish Life, Orthodox Marriage, Orthodox Spirituality and Orthodox Communications.

The Clergy-Laity Congress is the highest legislative body of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and the delegates will include priests and lay leaders representing parishes in the United States. During Forums, workshops, committee meetings and plenary sessions the delegates will deliberate on the issues facing the Church and approve programs and budgets affecting the various Church ministries over the next two years.


His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon will preside at the 4th of July Doxology in observance of the 222nd Anniversary of US Independence Day on Saturday afternoon from 2:30 - 4:00 p.m.. Registration will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday and there will be meetings of the Archdiocesan Council and National Philoptochos Board.

The Archierartical Liturgy will be celebrated on Sunday, July 5th from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon in the hotel. The official opening of the National Philoptochos Convention will be at 3:00 p.m. and the official exhibit opening will take place at 3:30 p.m. The YAL Banquet and dance will be held Sunday evening, as well as receptions for DOXA (religious education leaders), National Forum of Church Musicians and the Archons of the Order of St. Andrew.

The Official Congress Opening will take place on Monday, July 6th, from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m., followed by the Philoptochos General Assembly, the first religious education Forum from 12 noon-6:00 p.m. and various committee meetings.

The Philoptochos Luncheon will take place on Tuesday, July 7th and the featured speaker will be Alana Shepherd, founding Board member of the Shepherd Center, the largest private, specialty hospital in the United States. A workshop on "Philoptochos in the 3rd Millennium" and the Second Biennial Philoptochos Awards Program will follow the luncheon. Philoptochos has scheduled workshops and forums on Domestic Violence, UNICEF and Missions, Family and Society, AIDS, Child Abuse and Family Crisis Counseling.

A panel discussion on "The Clergy Family: Personal Reflections of Their Children" will take place Tuesday morning and the Clergy Family Dinner will be held that evening. Also, on Tuesday, committee meetings will continue and the second Family Forum begins at 9:00 a.m.

Events of Wednesday, July 8th include a Philoptochos breakfast, Orthodox Chaplains meeting, Youth Rally, workshops, the third Education Forum and the first Congress Plenary Session.

The second Plenary Session of the Congress begins on Thursday, July 9th and the Grand Banquet is scheduled for that evening beginning at 6:45 p.m. Thursday's events also include the Archdiocesan Presbyters Board meeting, diocese clergy meetings, retired clergy breakfast and the concluding Philoptochos General Assembly.

His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon will meet with the clergy on Friday morning, July 10th and the National Sisterhood of Presvyteres will also convene.

  June 24, 1998 ]