OCA Synod to Discuss Chambésy, Meet with Congressional Reps, in US Capital

January 20, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC [OCA] — Members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America will meet at Saint Nicholas Cathedral here on Wednesday, January 20, 2010. The purpose of the special session will be to review the deliberations and decisions of the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference in Chambésy-Geneva, Switzerland, June 6-12, 2009 and the forthcoming North American Episcopal Assembly, slated to convene in mid-2010.

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, will chair the special, day-long session.

The Pan-Orthodox Conference was held in response to the Synaxis of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches convened by His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in October 2008. During that meeting, the Primates expressed their “desire for the swift healing of every canonical anomaly that has arisen from historical circumstances and pastoral requirements, such as the so-called Orthodox diaspora, with a view to overcoming every possible influence that is foreign to Orthodox ecclesiology.”

In observations shared at the annual Conference on Missions and Evangelism held at Antiochian Village in the fall of 2009, Metropolitan Jonah commented that the processes outlined in the statement issued at the conclusion of the Chambésy meeting were “a way to spur us to unity…. If we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ, it will come together in a way that will honor God and be in accordance with His will.” [A detailed report on Metropolitan Jonah’s presentations on unity and mission is posted at www.oca.org.]

In order to share the Orthodox Church in America’s positions on a variety of human rights and related issues, the hierarchs will meet with Congressman Christopher “Chris” Smith [R-NJ] and other members of Congress on Thursday, January 21. Among the topics to be discussed are the situation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey in light of Patriarch Bartholomew’s widely acclaimed recent interview on “60 Minutes”; the plight of Orthodox Christians in Kosovo; growing concerns for Egypt’s Coptic Christians; pro-life concerns; and related issues, including human trafficking, that affect traditionally Orthodox Christian and other lands.

Congressman Smith, widely known for his pro-life and pro-human rights positions, chairs the House International Relations Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations Subcommittee and serves as vice-chair of the Committee on International Relations and as co-chair of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (also known as the US Helsinki Commission), which works to promote and foster democracy, human rights, and stability in Eastern and Central Europe.

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