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Anticipation: An AAC of repentance, healing, renewed life & reinvigorated missi

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  • Nina Tkachuk Dimas
    http://www.oca.org/Docs.asp?ID=187&SID=12 Anticipation: An All-American Council of repentance, healing, renewed life, and reinvigorated mission The Very Rev.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 7, 2008
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      http://www.oca.org/Docs.asp?ID=187&SID=12

      Anticipation: An All-American Council of repentance, healing, renewed
      life, and reinvigorated mission
      The Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky


      The convening of the 15th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church
      in America has been announced, and preparatory work has begun. In
      November 2008, the bishops and clergy and lay delegates will assemble
      in Pittsburgh. The last two years have been painful and difficult in
      our Church. Amid charges of financial impropriety in the Church
      administration, resulting in considerable disarray and confusion,
      loss of morale and trust, no one can predict what the Council in
      November will be like. Will it be yet another descent into painful
      trial and tribulation? Or will it be a turn towards healing?

      It is surely the right time to begin prayerful reflection on the
      meaning of the All-American Councils in the life of our Church since
      the convening in 1907 of the assembly in Mayfield, Pennsylvania,
      which we have called the First All- American Sobor. Archbishop Tikhon
      was our ruling bishop at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1907,
      he returned to Russia. In 1917, became the first Patriarch of Moscow
      in more than two hundred years. He died in 1925, after much suffering
      resulting from the persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church by the
      communist regime, and was canonized as a saint after the fall of
      communism in the early 1990s.

      During his years in North America, Archbishop Tikhon showed
      remarkable wisdom and vision in every aspect of his ministry. At a
      time when the Church of Russia was in a kind of captivity as a
      department of the imperial state, Archbishop Tikhon regarded priests
      and laity in his diocese as co-workers with their bishop. It was this
      vision of the collaboration of the hierarchy with the clergy and
      laity which led Archbishop Tikhon to strive towards convening an
      assembly for discussion and deliberation on the life and mission of
      the Church in America. Ten years later, after his election as
      Patriarch, he presided over deliberations which led to reforms in
      Church governance. The councils of the Church of Russia were defined
      as assemblies regularly convened for review of Church life. Between
      councils, the administrative and financial affairs of the Church were
      to be governed by a mixed body composed of clergy and laity under the
      chairmanship of the Patriarch, while canonical, spiritual, moral, and
      liturgical matters were to be decided by the Holy Synod of Bishops,
      also under the chairmanship of the Patriarch. In this structure, the
      Holy Synod of Bishops retained final authority, yet the philosophy
      and practice of the collaboration of the hierarchy with the clergy
      and laity were a central feature. Many thought that this
      collaboration or "synergy" among bishops, clergy, and laity was a
      manifestation of conciliarity in Orthodoxy.

      Due to the violent persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church by the
      communist regime, this structure of collaboration or conciliarity did
      not survive. The only ecclesial body with its roots in the Russian
      Orthodox Church before the communist persecution which continued the
      practice of the full participation of clergy and laity in church
      governance was the Russian Orthodox Church of North America -
      the "Metropolia" - from 1970 the Orthodox Church in America.

      For some twenty years, the inheritance we received from Saint Tikhon
      was eroded and diminished in the Orthodox Church in America. There
      was a view that the model of Church governance in which all matters
      are decided by the Holy Synod of Bishop is authentically Orthodox,
      while the model of collaboration and conciliarity is in some way
      deficient and not authentically Orthodox.

      As we move towards the 15th All-American Council, it is surely
      necessary to learn again the wisdom of Saint Tikhon. Only in this way
      can the council to be convened in Pittsburgh be a council of
      repentance, a council of healing, a council of renewed life and
      reinvigorated mission for the Orthodox Church in America.

      --- End forwarded message ---




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