As you know, the Orthodox Church in America is preparing for the 15th All-American Council, to be held at the Hilton Pittsburgh Hotel on November 10 – 13, 2008. In preparation for this, the Preconciliar Commission, chaired by His Grace, Bishop NIKON, has been engaged in addressing the many different aspects that go into making for a successful Council. The 15th All-American Council comes at a time when serious questions and issues face the clergy and faithful of the Orthodox Church in America. With prayer, hope and good-will, the Council will address and begin to resolve many of those issues. Preparatory materials and study papers will be forthcoming. At this time the Registration Forms for the Council are available in PDF format online:
Regarding registration please make note of the following:
- The Statute of the Orthodox Church in America outlines the composition of the Council as well as the requirements for clergy and lay delegates.
- Delegates can be:
- Assigned parish priests and an equal amount of lay delegates
- Lay delegates where there is no parish priest.
- Members of the Metropolitan Council.
- Two delegates from each theological seminary.
- Members of the Preconciliar Commission.
- Military chaplains
- Lay delegates are members in good standing in a given parish, elected by a parish meeting, are approved by the parish priest and diocesan hierarch.
- Observers must also be members in good standing, approved by their parish priest and diocesan hierarch.
- Retired clergy are treated as special observers who can sit and participate with Council delegates but do not have voting privileges.
- The Registration Forms can be duplicated if necessary.
Registration at the 15th All American Council will take place on Monday, November 10, from 10 AM until 10 PM. At 9:00 PM on Monday evening, there will be a special liturgical service and the Akathist to the North American Saints, followed by Confessions. The First Plenary Session will follow the Divine Liturgy on Tuesday morning, November 11. A Formal Dinner will be held on Tuesday evening. Plenary sessions and workshops will continue on Wednesday. The Divine Liturgy will precede the final Plenary Session, which will conclude by mid-afternoon, Thursday, November 13.
The Hilton Pittsburgh Hotel has set aside rooms for Council participants, which are available on a first-come first-serve basis. The special rate of $129.00 will be honored on the days of the Council (Mon. through Wed.). A limited number of rooms are also available on Sunday and Thursday. If you have not yet made your hotel reservations, please do so soon. Information is available on the OCA website.
We would like to remind you that, while there are still four months until the Council, the time will go by quickly. Please note that if you are planning to make significant resolutions at the All-American Council the deadline for doing so is September 15. The information about making resolutions can be found at our website.
The 15th All-American Council is an important gathering of the Church; it is our joyful reunion in the sacramental bond of the Holy Eucharist, it is the holy responsibility to come together and to “speak the truth with love,” it is also the opportunity to look to the past, give thanks for the present and plan for the future. It is, above all, an opportunity for all bishops, priests, deacons, monastics and lay people to mutually acknowledge the grace of the Holy Spirit working in our midst. At the 1917 All-Russian Council held in Moscow, the former Bishop of America, Tikhon was selected to be the new Patriarch of the Russian Church. His former assistant in American, the priest St. Alexander Hotovitsky was then the sacristan at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior where he greeted the newly enthroned Patriarch. St. Tikhon then responded: “You remember that when we were in America, I said that, if our work there in establishing Orthodoxy achieves any success, it is not because of our own accomplishments, but is due to Our Lord God alone. We are now facing greater difficulties and I again find confidence in faith that Our Lord will not abandon us at this time.” St. Tikhon’s difficulties were much more complicated than those that we face. However, his firm spiritual conviction that Our Lord Jesus Christ can accomplish wondrous things is exactly the quality of faith that we must have.
In the near future we will be posting additional information and study papers. Should you need more information about the All-American Council, feel free to contact the Chancery.
Sincerely yours in Jesus Christ our Lord,
Archpriest Alexander Garklavs
Chancellor, Orthodox Church in America