(UOC-USA) - I begin writing this letter with a deep sense of sadness and loss, never expecting to be obliged to do so at such an unexpected time, following the repose of our beloved Metropolitan Constantine, Primate of our Church since 1993, a hierarch since 1972 and priest since 1967. We have mourned his departure from us deeply, along with the members of his family and still find it difficult that it happened so suddenly, less than 48 hours after the joyful celebration of his 40th anniversary of episcopal service to our Church.
We are most grateful to all the hierarchs from many Orthodox and Catholic jurisdictions and from other faith groups, to the large numbers of clergy and faithful from our Church and other Orthodox jurisdictions who took part in the funeral services for Metropolitan Constantine and in the 40th day of repose commemorations, which took place on 30 June at the Metropolia Center here in South Bound Brook – Somerset, NJ and in Pittsburgh. We also express our gratitude to the clergy of the Pittsburgh Deanery and the faithful of St. Vladimir Parish, Southside, Pittsburgh and their parish priest, V. Rev. Fr. John Haluszczak and all others who worked so diligently without any possible notification to prepare for the Metropolitan’s funeral services. We pray that His Beatitude, Metropolitan Constantine rests in eternal happiness and that his soul will be eternally remembered in God’s Heavenly Kingdom. Vichna Yomu Pamyat.
According to our Church Constitution, I am obliged to call a Special Sobor of the Church to take place within six months of the repose of our Primate. After consultation with Bishop Daniel and our Council of the Metropolia, I have set Saturday, 6 October 2012, as the date for this Sobor to take place at the Metropolia Center. A Special Sobor of our Church may consider only the items for which it is called. Of course, the main purpose of the Sobor will be to elect a new Primate for our Church. The complete agenda is published in this edition of the Ukrainian Orthodox World.
Your participation in this Sobor is of utmost importance to the continuation of our Church life and ministry to a secularized world that, under evil influences, never ceases challenge our Faith and our faith – seemingly to make both irrelevant to an “enlightened” mankind. We must respond with a profound statement of our unity and our renewed commitment and devotion to our God in the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
In addition to our Sobor and with the hope of lessening the financial burden for our parishes, we have scheduled our annual clergy conference, normally a three day event, which will be condensed into a single day. It will take place on Friday, 5 October 2012, also at the Metropolia Center. The conference agenda and registration materials will be sent to the clergy in a few weeks. We ask all clergy to arrive on Thursday evening so that we can begin the conference early in the morning on Friday.
The annual session of the Council of the Metropolia will take place on Thursday, 4 October 2012, at the Metropolia Center. This also is normally a three day event, which will be condensed into one day. We ask all Council members to arrive on Wednesday evening so that we can begin our meeting early on Thursday morning. It will be a long day, but we should be able to accomplish all our normal business by having all reports prepared and distributed prior to the meeting.
May the Holy Spirit guide all our deliberations and efforts during this Sobor, uniting us in “one mind and one heart” so that all we attempt to accomplish will be for the Glory of God and the salvation of souls.
In our Lord’s All-encompassing Love,
By the Grace of God, Archbishop and Locum Tenens of the Metropolia and President of the Consistory