EWS AND EVENTS - Monday, December 4, 2017
MEETING OF THE EPISCOPAL AND CENTRAL COUNCIL
On the day when we celebrate the newly revealed Saint of our Church, the Venerable Sebastian of Jackson, all the hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church on the American continent, met in Libertyville, a suburb of Chicago, Their Graces: Bishop Longin of New Gracanica-Midwest America, Bishop Mitrophan of Canada, Bishop Maxim of Western America, Bishop Irinej of Eastern America and Bishop Kirilo of Diocletia, vicar to Metropolitan Amphilohije and administrator of the Diocese of South and Central America. Following Vespers, an Akathist and prayers offered at the relics of the newly revealed Saint of our Church Mardarije of Libertyville, the bishops began their regular meeting of the Episcopal Council for North and Sout America.
At around 6:00 in the evening a prayer and greets opened the meeting, offered by the chairman Bishop Longin. After which discussion on the agenda items lasted until after midnight.
Bishop Longin informed the council of the preliminary work done at the building and monastery complex in Libertyville for which a large amount of funds will be needed for its completion. Bishop Irinej also spoke of the ongoing progress in the renovation of the St. Sava Cathedral which recently burned as the church public is already aware of. It was moving to hear Bishop Irinej talk how, by a miracle of God, under the ruins a reliquary was found with relics which were under the Holy Table in the cathedral church.
Bishop Mitrophan, as dean of the St. Sava School of Theology in Libertyville, informed the council of the work of the school and the budget of this institution of higher education was accepted.
There was also talk of a number of significant church anniversaries, as well as the 800th anniversary of the autocephay of our Church and Bishop Maxim suggested that preparations begin for that celebration which was accepted by the council. Also, he invited all to help to the work of the newly established Institute of St. Sebastian and Mardarije which has become very important in educating our clergy and faithful in America. Bishop Maxim initiated a discussion on the topic of the reorganization of the Serbian Orthodox Church in America and pointed to the need of the council to be become active with their suggestions in adopting a resolution which would be included in the new Constitution of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which is already being prepared. The motion as passed to consider the reorganization of our Dioceses in North America with eventually preparing the groundwork for the establishment of two new dioceses. Bishop Maxim also spoke of the need of publishing a monongraph of the history of our Church in North and South America.
The mootions made by Bishop Irinej were accepted to organize a 100th anniversary of the end of WWI and also to become more active in the work of the Helsinki Commission within the US government.
Bishop Kirilo thanked the council on behalf of Metropolitan Amphilohije for their financial and other help in establishing our Church in South and Central America and he asked the council to increase their aid. The council adopted this initiative bearing in mind that the Church in its mission already has a visible progress compared to the state it was in in 2011 when the new Diocese of Beunos Aires and South and Central America was founded.
The meeting concluded after discussion on other issues.
December 1 and 2 the council continued its work at the Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Chicago, where they continued to discuss a many crucial issue in connection to church life on the American continent.
The meeting of the Central Church Council consists of the participation of the hiearchs and clergy and leading members for various Dioceses of our Church, as well as experts in the field of law and the economy. The main task of the Central Counil is to discuss the economic issues and adopt a budget for our Church in America. The chairman is Bishop Longin and the meeting was led by Bishop Irinej. At the beginning of the meeting Bishop Longin, as chairman, pointed some of the vital issue of our church today, during the great spiritual and existential challenges, on the one hand, and the possiblities for the mission of our Church and spiritual renewal of the people on the other hand.
Issues of significance in the life of our Church were discussed such as the life and health insurance as well as the clergy pension fund. The council accepted the report from the various committees and thanked them for their work.
Diocese of New Gracanica and Midwestern America