(OCA) - At the request of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, members of the Orthodox Church in America’s Office of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations gathered for a consultation at the Chancery here on Thursday, January 21, 2016.
In addition to Metropolitan Tikhon, members of the Standing Synod of Bishops—His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin; His Eminence, Archbishop Michael; and His Grace, Bishop Paul—were present, as was His Grace, Bishop Alexander, who chairs the Office. Protopresbyter Leonid Kishkovsky, Director of External Affairs, and Dr. Paul Meyendorff also attended, while Archpriests John Erickson and Alexander Rentel participated by phone. Others present included Archpriests John Jillions and Eric G. Tosi, Chancellor and Secretary respectively; Melanie Ringa, Treasurer; Archdeacon Joseph Matusiak, Secretary to Metropolitan Tikhon, and Alexis Liberovsky, OCA Archivist.
Two major areas of concern were addressed during the consultation.
The need to plan for the future with regard to strengthening the positive impact made by the OCA in many areas was discussed. The current list of Office consultants was reviewed, while the need to identify and train qualified individuals to assist or volunteer in External Relations matters was emphasized.
Also discussed were broader issues related to world Orthodoxy, specifically with regard to the contributions made by the OCA to the pan-Orthodox discussions on ecclesiology and the status of relations with the Church world-wide. The OCA’s role within the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA was discussed. Priorities for primatial and synodal international travel were also reviewed.
The Office of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations maintains and coordinates relations with Orthodox Churches in North America and with the sister Orthodox Churches throughout the world. It also coordinates its work with the Assembly of Bishops for cooperative Orthodox ministries and projects. The Office maintains official dialogues with other religious and ecumenical communities and agencies and establishes and maintains regular communications with various government and non-government organizations and agencies. Office members provide the Holy Synod of Bishops with updates on developments in the Orthodox world and on matters of interchurch, ecumenical, and interfaith importance; coordinate official delegations, visits, and meetings with leaders of the sister Orthodox Churches; and coordinate appointments to boards, commissions, and initiatives of the World Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, and bilateral dialogues.