Second Meeting of the Orthodox Canonical Bishops on the Western Coast
Други Сусрет Православних Канонских Епископа на Западној Обали
San Francisco, July 19, 2007
"Behod how good and pleasant it is, when brothers dwell in unity!" (Psalm 113:1)
At the invitation of His Eminence, Metropolitan Gerasimos, the Canonical Orthodox Bishops on the West Coast held their second meeting at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in San Francisco, California on Thursday, July 19, 2007. The hierarchs met to build upon the work which they began at their first meeting held in Los Angeles and hosted by His Grace, Bishop Joseph and the Antiochian Diocese. Meeting with their Cathedral Deans, the hierarchs discussed a variety of matters, including the need to visit one another more frequently in various parishes throughout their dioceses, and to develop common educational and other Pan-Orthodox gatherings. They expressed their joyful greetings to one another and their wholehearted enthusiasm about the importance of expressing the riches of our Holy Orthodox Faith with one voice. The next meeting will take place in the Autumn, hosted by His Grace, Bishop Maxim and the Serbian Orthodox Western American Diocese, in conjunction with the Pan-Orthodox Commemoration of the 1,600th Anniversary of the repose of Saint John Chrysostom. The meeting concluded with the signing of this joint statement (see Communique in PDF) of their intentions and purpose:
We greet you in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
We gathered together at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in San Francisco, California, for our second meeting with our Cathedral deans and clergy, conscious of our need to give a living witness to the unity of the Faith we share. As shepherds of the holy flock entrusted to our care, we are building on the work of our first meeting hosted by the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Diocese in Los Angeles on Bright Tuesday, April 10, 2007
We express our joy and affirm the oneness of our voice as we offer a witness of the truth of the Gospel to those around us. We share a vision that is faithful to our Orthodox Christian Tradition and dynamic in its desire to engage in our common work. Our prayer and purpose is to put that vision into action and effect, to the glory of God who offers us this opportunity to witness to Him together.
On several occasions we have concelebrated the Divine Liturgy, partaking of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, as the perfect sign of our unity. It is the Holy Eucharist which renews us and reminds us that if is God who upholds and breaths life into everything. For this reason, we have agreed to institute the tradition of joining together with our clergy and faithful for a Pan-Orthodox celebration of the Divine Liturgy on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the first Sunday of Great Lent each year, beginning in 2008.
We have also agreed to work together in the continuing education of our Clergy and laity by establishing the seminars and organizing conferences on topics when effect every diocese and parish. In that spirit we have decided to jointly commemorate the 1.600th anniversary of the repose of Saint John Chrysostom with a Divine Liturgy and accompanying events planned for November 10, 2007
As we look ahead, building on the work we have begun, we give thanks to a good and loving Lord for his gift of this time together, strengthened by our common prayer and vision. We call upon all of you to pray that our efforts may bear good fruit, for the good of all and unto the salvation of our souls.
With Archpastoral Blessings,
Metropolitan Gerasimos, Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of San Francisco
Bishop Joseph, Antiochian Orthodox Bishop of Los Angeles and the West
Bishop Maxim, Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Western America
Bishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West, Orthodox Church in America