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The following introduction and corresponding questions were submitted by George Karcazes, Executive Committee Member of the Orthodox Christian Laity, in anticipation of the Assembly of Bishops scheduled to convene in Dallas, TX on September 15.

The Chambessy documents of the Meeting of the Autocephalous Churches in 2008 authorizes the Bishops in the territories outside of the territories of those Churches to meet as “Assemblies of Bishops” and challenges those Assemblies of Bishops to meet and develop blueprints “to bring the Church in their respective territories into Canonical Order.” What does this mean in the context of the United States of America, where we have overlapping “jurisdictions” based on Old World ethnic ties and multiple bishops in the same “cities” or territories? Chambessy declared: “Come up with a plan…or else we (the existing “Old World” autocephalous Churches) will come up with our own plan for you.”

1. Has the Assembly agreed on the meaning of the charge given to it by the Chambessy documents that it should submit a plan to bring the Church in its territory into “Canonical Order?”
2. Has the Assembly drafted a plan to submit to the Mother Churches, which will bring the Church in the territory of the United States into “Canonical Order” as ordered by Chambessy?
3. Has the Assembly agreed on plan that will create a single Synod of Canonical Bishops in the territory of the United States divided into a number of Dioceses with a single Bishop assigned to each Diocese?
4. Has the Assembly agreed on a plan that will provide for the Synod of Canonical Bishops to elect its own “head” so that the Church in the United States will take its place as a ”sister” Church with the other autocephalous Churches?
5. Have the Bishops participating in the Assembly agreed on whom they “serve”? (a) Do they serve the faithful they have been entrusted to minister to in the “vineyards that have been planted by God’s hand”; or (b) Do they serve the Hierarchs and Synods in the Old World who appointed them to their positions? [St. Matthew, Chapter 6, and Verse 24: “No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other.”]
6. Having received not only the permission, but the charge to meet in order to develop and submit a plan to bring the Church into “Canonical Order” are the Bishops engaged fully in this task, or are they waiting for further instructions from their “Mother” Churches as to what they can, or cannot include in their plan?
7. What role will the U.S. Bishops have in the present preparations for the Great and Holy Council and at the Great and Holy Council?
8. Are the Bishops participating in the Assembly of Bishops willing to abdicate their responsibilities to the faithful who have been entrusted to them by failing to agree on a plan to bring the Church in the U.S. into “Canonical Order?”
9. Will the Assembly of Bishops submit preliminary and periodic drafts of the Plan it intends to submit to the “Old World” autocephalous Churches for ratification at the Great and Holy Council in 2016 to the faithful in the United States [Clergy Brotherhoods; Theological School Faculties; Associations of Orthodox Theologians; Clergy-Laity Congresses, Councils, etc.] for input and comment?
10. Does the Assembly of Bishops have a “Plan B” for bringing the Church in the United States into “Canonical Order” in the event that (a) the Great and Holy Council does not meet in 2016 as announced; or (b) the Old World Churches propose to impose a Plan for the Church in the United States which does not recognize the Church as a local Church, with a single Synod of Canonical Bishops, electing its own head [i.e., an autocephalous sister Church, rather than one or more “daughter” Churches occupying the same territory]?

PHOTO CAPTION:

The first Episcopal Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in North and Central America was convened on May 26, 2010 by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America at the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel in New York City.

The post OCL Submits Questions to Bishops on Future of Orthodoxy in America appeared first on The National Herald.

Source: The National Herald
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