(AOI) - At an October 1970 meeting of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the Americas (SCOBA), which was called to discuss the burning question of an independent American Church, the presiding conference chair Archbishop Iakovos got fed up and quit. Official letters raising the subject of independence had been sent to the “mother Churches” in Constantinople, Bucharest, Belgrade, Athens and other Orthodox “centers” pointing for the need to do something about the chaotic “situation of Orthodoxy in America.” Only three replies came back. To the Greek Orthodox Iakovos, this was proof that no one took SCOBA seriously and, for that matter, the American Orthodox.Complete article here.
The archbishop resigned from SCOBA in disgust, saying that he had no desire to be the head of a “dead body.” According to a contemporary account, the official minutes of the meeting were forged to cover up what would turn out to be a temporary resignation.
It would take another 40 years for SCOBA to be officially dismantled and replaced with the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, also known as the Assembly of Bishops. Its founding articles constitute the body for “the promotion and accomplishment of Church unity in North and Central America.” It is also charged with providing a “common witness by the Church to all those outside her.” But given its sterling record of non-accomplishment on that “common witness” so far, is there good reason to expect that the Assembly won’t become the sort of “dead body” that Abp. Iakovos feared SCOBA had become?
Nothing could reveal this more clearly than the Assembly’s non-reaction to the Jan. 20 mandate by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that orders most employers and insurers to provide contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs (the “morning after pill”) free of charge. In sharp contrast to the somnolent Assembly, the response from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) was swift and unequivocal...