The Orthodox Church - April 1998

SCOBA hierarchs hold pre-lenten meeting
to discuss interfaith dialogues, social issues

NEW YORK, NY — The Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas held its pre-lenten meeting at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese headquarters here February 25, 1998.

His Eminence, Archbishop Spyridon of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, SCOBA Chairman, opened the meeting with prayer and a scriptural reflection. The hierarchs discussed and agreed upon numerous issues concerning SCOBA's future. There was keen interest shown in the issue of interfaith marriage and ecumenical dialogues with Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and Anglicans.

The hierarchs agreed that the dialogues, under the auspices of SCOBA, should be reviewed and evaluated in light of current ecumenical trends. It was also decided that SCOBA will offer comprehensive direction and purpose to the various commissions, organizations and committees created and endorsed by SCOBA.

The need to establish a SCOBA committee to deal with contemporary social issues and the issuing of archpastoral letters and guidelines from member hierarchs was discussed. It was also agreed that the Millennium should be observed in a pan-Orthodox manner.

Before adjourning, the hierarchs asked Archbishop Spyridon to convey their greetings and spirit of fellowship and cooperation to His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

Shortly after their meeting, SCOBA hierarchs issued a message to all Orthodox faithful on the occasion of Orthodoxy Sunday.

"As our ancestors in the faith gloriously and boldly carried the icons and their truth into the face of the insidious heresies of their day, so must we boldly take a stand against the death producing ideology of secularism and its accompanying ethic of moral relativism," the hierarchs stated. "We call upon you, our beloved children in the Lord, to dedicate yourselves to a renewal of Orthodox spirituality and its discipline. Walk the martyr's path, endure the hardships, preserve and defend the truth of our holy faith against those who could dilute it, compromise it, or deny it altogether. We are sent, as Jesus said, as 'lambs into the midst of wolves,' but by the offering of all Divine Services, by the discipline of full fasting, by daily prayer and penance and through the wisdom of the Fathers, we can and will prevail — bishops, priests, monastics and laity — together."

Representing the Orthodox Church in America at the meeting were His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius and His Eminence, Archbishop Peter of New York. Other hierarchs attending the meeting included His Eminence, Metropolitan Nicholas of Amissos, American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese; His Eminence, Metropolitan Christopher, Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada; His Eminence, Archbishop Antony, Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA; His Eminence, Archbishop Victorin, Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and Canada; and Protopresbyter Ilia Katre, Vicar General of the Albanian Orthodox Diocese in America. His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, was unable to attend the meeting. 

[ The Orthodox Church - April 1998 - p. 7 ]