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Metropolitan Calls for Special Archdiocese Convention for Implementation of Self-Rule

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    TO BE READ FROM THE PULPIT AND PUBLISHED IN THE CHURCH BULLETIN December 31, 2003 Beloved Hierarchs, Clergy, Trustees, and All Faithful of this God-Protected
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 30, 2004

      December 31, 2003

      Beloved Hierarchs, Clergy, Trustees, and All Faithful of this God-Protected and

      Self-Ruled Archdiocese:

      Greetings and Blessings to all of you in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ
      on this Eve of the New Year !

      Since our return from Damascus on October 18th, 2003 we have been very busy
      with the detailed planning of the first steps that must be taken in order
      that we properly implement the self-rule status that was granted to this
      Archdiocese by the resolution of the Holy Synod of Antioch. The official
      English translation of this resolution was previously sent to you to be
      read from the pulpit. We have also received many questions from our clergy
      and faithful who are rightfully interested in understanding the next steps,
      and the time frame for those steps. This letter addresses some, but not
      all of those questions. We must all be patient, and understand that events
      must happen in a certain order, to insure that the best interests of the
      Church are being served. As St. Paul teaches "Let all things be done
      decently and in order" (1 Corinthians 14:40).

      Now that our self-rule status is final, the first step will be for us to
      integrate the Synodal resolution into the Archdiocese Constitution. We
      will accomplish this integration by the amendment process that is specified
      in our current constitution. As such, we will call a special convention
      consistent with Article V, Section 2 of our current constitution. This
      special convention will be held from Friday July 16th through Sunday July
      18th, 2004 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Delegates are expected to arrive
      in Pittsburgh on Thursday July 15th. The date and location has been chosen
      so that the clergy of the Archdiocese can proceed directly from the special
      convention to the biennial Clergy Symposium that is scheduled from July
      19th through July 23rd at the Antiochian Village. All clergy, parishes,
      and missions must be represented either in person or by legal proxy, as is
      the case at our regular conventions. The parish will grant their priest
      time off from his pastoral duties, as well as travel and living expenses
      for his attendance at this Special Convention. Specific information
      regarding the hotel and agenda for this special convention will follow in
      the near future.

      Our intention is to have two major items on the agenda for this special
      convention; The approval of the amendments which integrate the Synodal
      resolution on self-rule into the Archdiocese constitution, and the
      nomination, by our General Assembly, of candidates who will stand for
      election as Diocesan Bishops. The nominations will occur according to
      Article I Section 6 of our current constitution. The election will occur
      at a later time by the Local Synod of the North American Archdiocese, with
      the participation of "two or three Metropolitans" designated by the
      Patriarch of Antioch and invited to participate in the election.

      As stated above, our clergy and faithful have asked many additional
      questions regarding the implementation of self-rule. Some information can
      be given now, as follows:

      1. We will be drawing Diocesan boundaries that will become
      the jurisdictions of the Diocesan bishops. Although these dioceses may
      resemble the current regions, there will likely be changes, as well as the
      creation of new dioceses that do not correspond exactly to any of the
      existing regions. This is necessary to insure that our Diocesan bishops
      have the maximum opportunity to visit their flocks, and make personal
      contact with them. The specification of Diocesan boundaries is likely to
      be done before the special convention is convened.

      2. The enthronement of our current bishops into specific
      dioceses will occur some time after the special convention. The
      consecration and enthronement of newly elected bishops will occur sometime
      after their election.

      3. There is no plan to establish Diocesan Assemblies in
      the foreseeable future since we have Diocesan Parish Life Conferences.

      4. The Diocesan bishops will have additional duties and
      responsibilities as appropriate. We will however, preserve the strong
      unity of this Archdiocese under the leadership of the Metropolitan.

      5. Commemorations - The Metropolitan will commemorate the
      Patriarch of Antioch, the Holy Synod of Antioch, and the Local Holy Synod
      of the Archdiocese. The Diocesan Bishop will commemorate the Metropolitan
      and the Local Holy Synod of the Archdiocese. The clergy will commemorate
      the Metropolitan followed by the Diocesan Bishop. The commemoration of the
      Diocesan Bishops will begin after the Special Convention in July.

      Together we have much difficult work ahead of us. Let us pray fervently
      that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide us, so that our work may be
      pleasing to our Lord Jesus Christ, for the Glory of His Holy Name, and the
      Glory of His Church.

      Your Father in Christ,

      Metropolitan PHILIP


      Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
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