Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Annual meeting of Canadian Conference of Orthodox Bishops

(Orthodox Canada) - On April 11, 2013, the annual meeting of the Canadian Conference (Synaxis) of Orthodox Bishops of Canada took place at the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Constantinople Patriarchy in Toronto (Canada), with 12 bishops participating.

The Synaxis started from the opening prayers and the reading from the Epistle of Apostle Paul to the Jews (13:14-17), offered as a teaching for the Spiritual contemplation to the participants of the Conference by its Chairman- His Eminence Metropolitan Sotirios. Then the Minutes of the previous meeting were heard, approved as written and unanimously accepted by all Hierarchs as the agenda for the present Conference.

The Conference discussed many issues, among which there were the aspects of Inter-Christian dialogue, the activity of the Assembly of the clergy of Canada, the questions on liturgical and canonical rights, as well as the topic on further social protection of the clergy (medical insurance, in particular). The Orthodox Hierarchs expressed their negative and uncompromising position concerning the ill issues of the contemporary society that include the life organs trading and abortion… The Conference agreed to proclaim the first Sunday of October “The Day of Protection of the unborn child.”

The Orthodox Hierarchs of Canada also agreed that they cannot stand aside and leave without reaction the constant persecutions and ill-threatening of the Christians in Egypt and the countries of the Near East. It was decided that a special nota of protest and disapproval should be written by the Conference to the governments of those countries.

Another question that was raised in the Conference was the question about possibility of participation of the Orthodox Churches in the Multi-Confessional Council, recently formed in Canada, and also the question about establishing in Canada new Orthodox Organizations – the Canadian Orthodox Youth and Charity Organizations. Here were also discussed the actions and steps that the administrations of the Churches should undertake in case of the rising complaints about improper behaviour of certain clergymen that might disgrace the Dignity of the Holy Church, if such cases are being identified (such as sexual abuse and similar)…

A general interest attracted the project of creating a new pan Canadian Orthodox TV channel that would translate the Divine Liturgies and special educational programs for the multiple Orthodox population of the country.

The debates about the possibility of Orthodox Funeral Services over the cremated remnants again took place and, again, it was uncompromisingly sentenced as not complying with the Spirit of Orthodoxy, in spite of the example of the Orthodox Church of Japan that overlooks this regulation, forced to do so by the state government that demands cremation of the bodies due to the tiny area of the country. This is, obviously, not the case of Canada, however.

The Hierarchs of different Orthodox Churches in Canada agreed that they should continue the politics of brotherly cooperation and mutual support, which would be fulfilled in the future, as it was in the past, through official and semi-official reciprocal visits, through serving together the Devine Liturgies by the representatives of different Orthodox Churches, as well as through carrying out in collaboration different social and charitable projects, organizing Orthodox conferences that might unite people of different ranks and duty: for instance, the conference of the accountants of all Orthodox Churches in Canada is supposed to take place and is expected to discuss multiple common financial issues …

These and all other questions were discussed in details, and the necessary decisions were taken in order to enhance the continued cooperation of the Orthodox Churches in Canada and to promote their spiritual endeavours…

In the afternoon the luncheon followed, where the Orthodox hierarchs of Canada met with the six Consuls Generals of such Orthodox countries as Greece, Cyprus, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine. The diplomats greeted the Conference and expressed their appreciation for being invited to it; they commented with admiration on the exemplary collaboration amongst the hierarchs of the Orthodox Churches in Canada.

The Synaxis of Canadian Conference of Orthodox Bishops began in the year 2000. It has been annually taking place since then for already 13 years, under the Chairmanship of Metropolitan Sotirios.

The next meeting of the Conference was appointed on the 10 of April, 2014. His Eminence Metropolitan Sotirios expressed hope that by that time the present Conference of the Orthodox Bishops of Canada will be already transformed into the Assembly of the Orthodox Bishops of Canada, in accordance with the regulations passed by the IV Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference held at the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chamb├ęsy, Switzerland.

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