Thursday, 24 June 2010

The Future of Orthodoxy in England: a Report from Bishop John

Eleven Orthodox Bishops take historic step towards the future of Orthodoxy in England
Under the chairmanship of Archbishop Gregorios, eleven Orthodox Bishops serving parishes in the British Isles met in London on 21st June.
They set up the first Pan-Orthodox Episcopal Assembly for this region.
Our own Metropolitan John (Youhanna) was present as one of the founding fathers in this first step towards the creation of one united jurisdiction......... “The Orthodox Church of Great Britain and Ireland.”

Communiqué of the Pan-Orthodox Assembly of Bishops.
The Inaugural Meeting of the Pan-Orthodox Assembly of Bishops with Churches in the British Isles was held on 21st June 2010 at Thyateira House, the centre of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain. The Assembly operates in accordance with the Decision reached at the 4th Pre-conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference Meeting at Chambésy (Switzerland) on 13th June 2009.

The following bishops were present:

His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira & Great Britain (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople)
The Most Revd Metropolitan Youhanna of Western & Central Europe (Patriarchate of Antioch)
His Eminence Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh (Patriarchate of Moscow)
The Rt Revd Bishop Dositej of Great Britain & Scandinavia (Patriarchate of Serbia)
The Most Revd Archbishop Iossif of Western & Southern Europe (Patriarchate of Romania)
The Rt Revd Bishop Zenon of Dmanisi & Great Britain (Patriarchate of Georgia)
The Most Revd Archbishop Mark of Berlin, Germany & Great Britain (Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia)
The Most Revd Archbishop Anatoly of Kerch (Diocese of Sourozh)
The Most Revd Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia (Archdiocese of Thyateira)
The Rt Revd Bishop Chrysostomos of Kyanea (Archdiocese of Thyateira)
The Rt Revd Bishop Athanasios of Tropaeou (Archdiocese of Thyateira)

The Most Revd Metropolitan Simeon of Central and Western Europe (Patriarchate of Bulgaria) and the Rt Revd Ioan of Parnassos (Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Ukrainian Orthodox Diocese in Great Britain) were unable to attend.

All those present noted the importance of this Meeting: until now in the British Isles there has been no kind of Inter-Orthodox Episcopal Committee. The bishops discussed the future organisation of their work.

An Executive Committee was set up, with Archbishop Gregorios as President, Metropolitan Youhanna and Archbishop Elisey as Vice-presidents, Bishop Dositej as Treasurer, and Archbishop Iossif as General Secretary.
Bishop Zenon, Archbishop Mark and Metropolitan Kallistos were also appointed Members of the Executive Committee.
The Secretariat of the Committee is made up of Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou and Protopresbyter Samir Gholam.

Three Committees were set up:
1) Theological Committee,
Chairman: Metropolitan Kallistos

(For the time-being, this will also deal with liturgical, canonical and ecumenical questions, and with the preparation of an agreed list of Saints of the British Isles)

2) Pastoral Committee,
Chairman: Archbishop Elisey

(This will also deal with inter-Orthodox relations and with the organisation of Pan-Orthodox events)

3) Educational Committee,
Chairman: Archbishop Gregorios

(This will be concerned, among other things, with chaplains to universities, catechetical work and publications)
In the case of each committee, each Orthodox diocese will appoint a representative from either the clergy or the laity.

Our Archbishop, Metropolitan John; Vice-President of the Assembly

It was decided that a further Meeting would be held in December 2010.