Orthodox Christian Laity - January 22, 1999
For immediate release...
OCL CALLS FOR NEXT STEPS TOWARD SELF GOVERNANCE
● ASKS SCOBA TO TAKE THE LEAD
● DECRIES PATRIARCH'S FAILURE TO REMOVE SPYRIDON
● URGES PARISHES TO WITHHOLD FUNDS
● CALLS FOR RENEWED SUPPORT OF HOLY CROSS SEMINARY TO EDUCATE AMERICAN PRIESTS
The Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL) has called for the next steps to be taken toward the establishment of a self governing (autocephalous) Orthodox Church in the United States.
As a follow-up to action taken at its annual meeting last October and approved by a referendum of its membership, OCL called on the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in America (SCOBA) to take a leadership role, together with the hierarchs, clergy and laity of all Orthodox jurisdictions "to establish a united, self- governing American Orthodox Church."
This latest action was taken at OCL's quarterly board meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, January 15-16, 1999. It follows on the heels of new reports from the Ecumenical Patriarchate that Archbishop Spyridon would continue in office. Over the past few months, the five American Greek Orthodox Metropolitans (Bishops) and more than 150 priests have issued statements of serious concern about the Archbishop's administration of the church. Such criticism from concerned clergy and hierarchs was unprecedented and it was expected that the Patriarch would "finally respond in some positive manner" said George D. Coupounas, president of OCL.
In a resolution adopted by the board, OCL stated that this failure to respond to the "anguish" expressed by the Metropolitans, the clergy and the faithful, is "eloquent proof that the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America cannot be governed from abroad, and that the OCL's call for a united, self-governing (autocephalous) Church is well-founded and imperative." (Click here to see the resolutions adopted by the board at this meeting.)
In other actions, the OCL Board urged all parishes of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese to withhold financial support until the crisis in the Archdiocese is resolved. It commended the parishes of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Lewiston, Maine; St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Rutland, Vermont and the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Ascension in Oakland, California for their leadership role in this effort
In an expression of continued concern about the Holy Cross School of Theology, OCL urged that the school be maintained and improved and not "sacrificed." The resolution was reacting to recent news items calling for the re-opening of the Orthodox Theological School in Halki, Turkey. In view of the arbitrary dismissal of key faculty members at Holy Cross by the Archbishop and the probationary status of the School's re-accreditation, it was felt by OCL that strong re-affirmation of support for Holy Cross is called for. The OCL resolution stated that "the education and preparation of clergy in Turkey, as opposed to America, will not serve the needs of the Orthodox faithful in America."
[ Orthodox Christian Laity - January 22, 1999 ]