Orthodox Christian Laity Urges Faithful to Pray for Unity at Historic Episcopal Assembly

March 22, 2010

In an expression of strong support for the first ever Episcopal Assembly of all canonical Orthodox Bishops in North and Central America, Orthodox Christian Laity has called upon the faithful to pray that the spirit of conciliarity and unity inspire this historic meeting. OCL has also sent letters of support and prayer to all participating bishops as they prepare for this unprecedented gathering.

These actions were taken after an OCL Board meeting in Houston, Texas last month where discussion focused on how to promote interest and dialogue among Orthodox hierarchs, clergy and laity in anticipation of the Episcopal Assembly which will be chaired by His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios and held on May 21-23 in New York City following the Feast of Pentecost.

“It is most fitting that the Orthodox hierarchs of North and Central America should gather immediately after Pentecost when Christ’s Church came into the world, because they represent the unbroken chain of Apostolic continuity which emerged at that moment,” said William Souvall, OCL president. “The church was unified then, and we have every hope that our prayers and support will assist our leaders to set out a path for our own unity now.”

Mr. Souvall pointed out that the Episcopal Assembly is a direct result of a proposal initiated by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in October 2008 and consequently agreed to by the heads of all independent Orthodox Churches in the world. “We are on the verge of a watershed moment in the life of our Orthodox Church here in the Americas with the convening of this Episcopal Assembly.” Mr. Souvall continued, “It is an event which OCL has advocated for years. Now we are asking our brother and sister Orthodox to join in praying and working for its success.”

OCL board members also had the opportunity while in Houston to meet with Father Mark Arey, Ecumenical Officer for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, who is helping to prepare and plan for the upcoming Episcopal Assembly.

To stay informed about the Episcopal Assembly, check OCL websites www.ocl.org and www.orthodoxnews.com. The latest OCL publication Orthodox Christianity at the Crossroad: A Great Council of the Church-When and Why, available at Amazon.com will provide some background information on the Episcopal Assembly.

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