Metropolitan Tikhon celebrates Service of Prayer at opening of the Metropolitan Council Spring Session.
The Spring Session of the Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America closed on Thursday, February 23, 2017.
As reported earlier, the semi-annual gathering opened on Tuesday, February 21, as His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon presided at the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in the Chancery’s Saint Sergius of Radonezh Chapel. Also in attendance were His Eminence, Archbishop Michael and His Grace, Bishop Paul, both of whom are members of the Standing Synod of Bishops.
Metropolitan Tikhon opened the first session, which was held at Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington, NY, following Tuesday’s Liturgy. According to Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary, Metropolitan Tikhon reflected on his years as Primate of the OCA in his opening address, noting that it constituted a “time of transition” as he grew into the position. He went on to speak of the relative peace in the Church, which now allows for a more proactive and forward-looking vision. He also spoke about the spiritual dimensions of serving the Church on all levels, which should always be the focus of our work as the Church. He added that he is looking forward to the planning of the 19th All-American Council [AAC], slated to convene in Saint Louis, MO in 2018, and reflected on the direction of and possible themes for the Council. Finally, he thanked those who serve the Church and recognized the outgoing and incoming members of the Metropolitan Council.
Archpriest John Jillions, Chancellor, presented his report, in which he outlined the major areas for which he is responsible. He focused attention on the work of the Department of Pastoral Life, specifically with regard to clergy compensation guidelines, clergy guidelines, and a number of areas related to clergy and pastoral issues. He reported on the work of both SMPAC and ORSMA and updated Council members on current and ongoing issues.
Father Eric Tosi reported on work being done within his areas of responsibility. He presented a gift acceptance policy and a corporate signing policy, both of which were passed by Council members. He also presented a series of necessary Chancery building improvements, which Council members voted to fund, and updated the Council on the work of the Archives Committee and impending web site redesign. Finally, he presented an update on progress made with regard to plans for the 19th AAC, which included a theme presentation, a logo and a proposed agenda. These will be presented to the Holy Synod of Bishops for approval at their Spring Session.
On Wednesday, February 22, Judge. E. R. Lanier, General Counsel, offered the report of the Legal Committee, which included a review of current and ongoing legal matters. Representatives of the Metropolitan Council’s various committees also presented reports on ongoing work within their respective areas. In her report, Melanie Ringa, Treasurer, presented an overview of the Church’s current financials, noting the success of the transition to proportional giving. She also discussed several budgetary issues for the 2018 budget and spoke on some restricted funds, sharing the work she is doing to finalize them, together with some recent bequests.
Archdeacon Joseph Matusiak reported on the work of the Stewards of the Orthodox Church in America [SOCA], highlighting the success of the recent fundraising campaign as well as various initiatives slated to be undertaken in the future. Protopresbyter Leonid Kishkovsky, presented an overview of recent external affairs matters and interchurch relations.
An extended discussion on refugee issues resulted in a number of possible recommendations that will be presented to the Holy Synod. Also discussed were ways to increase effectiveness in the planning and operation of the Metropolitan Council. Other matters on the agenda included a resolution for releasing funds from a restricted Archives Fund for the purpose of improving the current space housing the OCA Archives, which Council members passed unanimously.
The minutes and reports from the Spring Session will be posted after they are approved by the Holy Synod of Bishops.
Archbishop Michael with attendees at 2015 Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black Conference.
His Eminence, Archbishop Michael of New York and New Jersey will head the lineup of speakers at the 24th annual conference of the Brotherhood of Saint Moses the Black October 6-8, 2017.
The conference, titled “Closer to Christ, Closer to Each Other”, will be held at the Mother of God Joy of All Who Sorrow Church, Princeton, NJ.
Other speakers include Archpriest Moses Berry, Hieromonk Alexi [Altschul], Priest Jerome Sanderson, and the Nun Catherine [Weston].
A pan-Orthodox organization, the Brotherhood embraces individuals committed to multi-racial, Orthodox Christian fellowship and study of the Church’s ancient roots and to bringing Orthodoxy to the African American community as a means of “expanding the Mission.”
In a letter dated February 15, 2017, the Board of Commissioners of the Association of Theological Schools [ATS] informed Saint Tikhon’s Seminary that the school has been reaccredited for seven years, with no notations. The news came as a result of the seminary’s periodic reaccredition review that occurred November 20-23, 2016.
“This is great news for the seminary, following several years of consistent and intensive preparation,” said Archpriest Steven Voytovich, STOTS Dean. “We wish to express gratitude to all who assisted in this effort!”
Father Steven chaired the Self-Study Leadership Team directed by Dr. Paul Witek, Assistant to the Dean for Academic Affairs, and Dr. David Ford, Professor of Church History, who also served as Self-Study Editor. His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, STOTS Rector, chaired the Self-Study Steering Committee, while Prof. Sergei Arhipov served as committee Secretary and respondent on behalf of the school’s library. Michael Skor was one of several seminarians engaged in the self-study process—including those who had served as Student Government chairs in recent years—who continued to be integrally involved in developing the study’s final draft well after his graduation.
“Our goal for this review was for all dimensions of the seminary community to be engaged in and able to speak to the self-study process with the site visit team,” Father Steven added. “Thanks be to God, it is wonderful to see such a strong outcome following our collaborative effort.”
The seminary also expressed gratitude to its new Accreditation Liaison, Dr. Barbara Mutch, and the site visit team that conducted the review.
On the feast of the Saint and Great Martyr Theodore of Tyre, 17 February 2016, the day on which His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa celebrates his name day, a festive Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Holy Church of St Nicholas, within the Missionary Centre of Kolwezi.
Together with the Alexandrian Primate concelebrated Their Eminences Nicephorus, Metropolitan of Kinshasa, Innocent, Metropolitan of Burundi and Rwanda, and the local Metropolitan Meletios of Katanga, accompanied by the Clergy of the Hy Metropolis.
As the official site of the Patriarchate reports, His Beatitude the Patriarch spoke during his homily about the Great Martyr St Theodoros, emphasising the confession of martyrdom before the persecutors of faith and his love for Jesus Christ.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy the Primate of the Alexandrian Throne consecrated the Catechist elder Theano, one of the first members of the Missionary staff in Kolwezi, to “Deaconess of the Missions” of the Holy Metropolis of Katanga and read the prayer for one entering the “ecclesiastic ministry” for three Nuns and two Catechists, in order for them to assist the missionary effort of the Holy Metropolis, particularly in the Sacraments of Baptisms of adults and marriages, as well as in the Catechetical department of the local Church.
Note that it is the first time in the history of Missions in Africa that these consecrations have been done.
The Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria restored the deaconess ministry during its working session held in November 2016.
Several holy women who fulfiled the deaconess ministry are enlisted in the Orthodox Calendar, among whom the most well known are St Tatiana (January 12), St Olympias (July 25), and St Foebe (September 3).
Lidia Stăniloae, 83, daughter of the renowned Romanian Theologian Rev. Dumitru Stăniloae, reposed in the Lord on Friday morning, 17 February 2017. The funeral service will take place Wednesday at noon, at Cernica Monastery.
Lidia Stăniloae was born in Sibiu on 8 October 1933. She was the daughter of the late Father Dumitru Stăniloae and his wife Maria. Lidia Stăniloae studied atomic physics in Bucharest. She got married and had a son, Dumitru Horia Ionescu.
The daughter of the great Romanian theologian began her literary career in 1970 when she published two volumes of poetry. She translated into Romanian The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke, and poems by Hilde Domin.
She immigrated to Germany in 1984, working at Freiburg University.
In 1991, she published her novel The Paradise of the innocents and in 2000, the volume The Light of Deed from the Light of the Word was published.
In 2013, a year declared by the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church as Commemorative Year of Father Dumitru Stăniloae, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel awarded Mrs Lidia Stăniloae the Dumitru Stăniloae Diploma and Medal.
In 2014, His Beatitude awarded Mrs Lidia Stăniloae the Cross of Maria Brâncoveanu Order of the Romanian Patriarchate.
Family as the foundation of human society is ever at the centre of the Church’s pastoral and social mission.
Patriarch Daniel of Romania has supported consistently and vocally those traditional families struggling to cope with the multiple challenges and crises of modern society.
The family is in a fragile and difficult situation, the Patriarch stresses, because some consider the traditional family model as obsolete or outdated.
His Beatitude is concerned about the individualistic and secular mindset, by which people are not seeking to sanctify their lives by prayer, by giving birth to children and bringing them up in the Christian faith.
He warns about a growing number of people who view marriage simply as a contract or a partnership, whether between persons of different or the same sex.
Social partnerships or cohabitation between persons cannot be treated as a traditional family, and any attempt to identify them as such is an artificial innovation, the Primate of the Romanian Orthodox Church has said.
Let us support the Church’s effort to defend the traditional family!
Given this context, the Church expresses her concern, her responsibility, her appreciation and support for the family as an important institution of society. His Beatitude notes that family has been the most stable human institution despite passing through many trials and dangers.
Highlighting that families are in fact a gift from God, the patriarch has called on all to support the efforts of the Church to defend the traditional, natural family, and to resist other new family “models”.
Any artificial model cannot substitute the natural family since it is a foundation for the existence, stability and continuity of European society. The natural family is a foundation for a growing paternal love, for bringing up children properly, for spiritual health and material prosperity.
Family is a sacred reality
The Patriarch calls family a blessing and the icon of God’s love for humankind. He explains that family cannot be reduced to biological, legal, psychological, sociological or economic factors.
The family is a sacred reality for Christian faith and even for all monotheistic religions. It is the perfection attained by the human being in a state of communion in generous love.
The parent-children relationship is modelled on and finds its fulfilment in the relationship of the faithful with God. Thus the patriarch has urged parents to spend more time with their children and to attend to their bodily and spiritual needs.
The Patriarch addresses children urging them to love their parents and pray for them.
Let us have a permanent concern for the future of Christian family
The Holy Synod encourages with love and responsibility all the spiritual sons and daughters of the Romanian Orthodox Church to overcome the moral and material crisis that we are experiencing.
Each of us needs to have a permanent concern for our families and for the future of the Christian family and of the Romanian nation, by rediscovering and living out Christian values in our homes, in the parishes to which we belong, and in the great family of the Church, reads a statement from the hierarchy of the Romanian Church.
In this vein, the Romanian Orthodox Church condemns the horror of abortion, which is not only murder but the murder of an innocent and defenceless child. The Church calls on all to give birth to their child and raise him or her in a loving Christian home.
Let us always rejoice in the divine gift of conceiving children, considering it a blessing for the family and the nation. Let us counsel and support newlyweds to beget children, to bring them up and educate them. Let us rediscover dialogue, appreciation and mutual support in the family and among families.
His Beatitude Sawa, Metropolitan of Warsaw and all Poland, consecrated Sunday the renovated church of St John the Theologian in Supraśl Lavra, orthodox.pl reports. In accordance with Church Tradition, a particle of the relics of the local Saint Gabriel of Białystok, martyred at the age of six in 1690 in Poland, was embedded in the altar.
The church dedicated to Saint John the Theologian went through renovation for a long period beginning with 1993.
After the consecration, the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy followed, over which the Primate of Poland presided. The following hierarchs concelebrated: Archbishop James of Białostok and Gdańsk, Bishop Gregory of Supraśl, and Bishop Jerzy of Siemiatycze.
After the Divine Liturgy, a festive Moleben was also served to the Holy Hierarchs celebrated on February 12 according to the unrevised Julian calendar.
In his speech, His Beatitude Sawa referred to the constant efforts made in difficult times to reconstruct Supraśl Monastery. He expressed his wish and hope to consecrate the major church (katholikon) of the Annunciation, where frescoes are currently being restored.
Metropolitan Sawa thanked all involved in the repairs of St John the Theologian church and the day’s festivities. The Primate of the Polish Church went on reflecting on the day’s Prodigal Son Gospel reading, calling all who have left the Church to return to their Mother, because “the Orthodox Church is the path to life and salvation.” He recalled that the Orthodox Church survived in Poland only through the faith and sacrifice of their fathers, and thus the faithful are responsible for that which they received from their ancestors.
The same day, His Grace Bishop Gregory of Supraśl celebrated his name day.
According to the right-wing party’s spokesperson, Martin Henriksen, making new arrivals go to church would put them “on the right track.”
Henriksen added that celebrating Christian festivals would help new arrivals “become Danes.”
“To do that, you need to understand Christianity and its meaning for the Danish people,” he said. “You have to participate in that part of our cultural package to experience the things that bind the majority of our population together through common rituals and traditions.”
@Independent Majority of danes are angry with this one person. He is being ridiculed. His Party supports government + bleeds voters ❤️
Opposition party spokesperson Laura Lindahl, from the Liberal Alliance, described the DPP’s idea as being “un-Danish,” while the Social Democrats said the notion went against Danish norms.
“It is very dangerous to make Danishness a matter of religion,” Social Democrats’ immigration spokesman Dan Jørgensen said. “In fact, I think that one of the most Danish things there is is not interfering in what others are thinking and believe in.”
Last week, the DPP introduced a statement in parliament expressing its concern over the number of “immigrants from non-Western countries and their descendants” living in Copenhagen’s Brøndby Strand, sparking debate about what “Danishness” encapsulates.
@TheLocalDenmark Since when is religion imposed in #Denmark? I think this party’s members may be “living” in another country.