Chicago, IL - On Thursday, June 18, 2009 a meeting of the Episcopal Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church for America and Canada was held at the Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, under the chairmanship of His Eminence Metropolitan Christopher of Libertyville and Chicago and with the participation of Bishop Georgije of Canada, Bishop Longin of New Gracanica and Midwestern America, Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America and Bishop Maxim of Western America. The meeting dealt with the current issues from the life of the Church, the upcoming 20th Trienniel Assembly-Sabor in Canton as well as the decision of the Holy Hierarchical Assembly regarding the restructuring of the dioceses in America and Canada.
Particular attention was given to the application of the Constitution, or the further steps to be taken by the Episcopal Counci. An official Act has been sent to ALL parishes and clergy that the Constitution is in full force, along with all pertinent information. In the course of this session a meeting with members of the legislative committtee was also held. The text of the Episcopal Council's statement follows:
June 18, 2009
to all Clergy, Parishes and Church School Congregations
of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America
Having its goal love and unity of all in Christ within the one organism of God's Church, the Episcopal Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church of North and South America informs you that the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church at its meeting of May 21, 2009 – by AC No. 49/min 147 of May 22/9, 2009 rendered the Decision of the administrative unification and restructuring of the existing dioceses of our Church in North and South America, with certain renaming of their titles and changes of their Sees (see attached Act from the Holy Hierarchical Assembly).
By Grace and gift of the Holy and Life-creating Spirit, assuring “that all things be done devoutly and in order” (I Cor. 14:40) in Chris's Church, the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church by it's Act (AC No. 8/min. 91 of the 22/9 day of May, 2007) ratified the Constitution of the Serbian Orthodox Church of North and South America.
In the spirit of the Directive of the Holy Synod of Bishops (No. 849/min. 513 of June 12, 2007), the Episcopal Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church of North and South America as the competent body on this territory has taken the necessary measures for the implementation of the regulations of this Constitution and decisions of the Holy Assembly of Bishops:
- Send the final text of the said Constitution, with changes and corrections, to the the God-given Church fullness of Orthodox people on this territory.
- All clergy are required to commemorate the bishops of their respective region/diocese at the divine services.
- In the future, parishes and church-school congregations are to fullfil their assessments and obligations through the competent diocesan offices.
- All parishes and church school congregations are to substitute their local by-laws with the Uniform Rules and Regulations for Parishes and Church School Congregations and submit their Local Addendum to their competent bishop for approval.
- The Episcopal Council calls upon you when you receive this Announcement to begin implementation of the mentioned decisions which have been sent to you for your information and appropriate action. With the final restructuring and redistricting of parishes of the Church in the US and Canada, upon ecclesial-liturgical and ancient canonical foundations the grace of our profoundly sought unity and pastoral community has been achieved. In this is manifested the unified and cooperative love towards the Church by which we prove our sincere love towards God and our people.
With Archpastoral blessings,
Metropolitan of Libertyville-Chicago
See of the Serbian Orthodox Church of North and South America
Bishop of Canada
Bishop of Gracanica-Midwest America
Bishop of Eastern America
Bishop of Western America